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What has become of that brilliant world which lay, like a landscape, spread out before her eyes only a few months ago? It is gone forever, and as yet no light from heaven has broken on her soul. The past is a morning cloud which has vanished away, and the future is nothing but darkness. All that she now hopes for is “to live till the snowdrops come again.” But although her soul has found no rest, the cords of earthly affection still tighten round her heart. She tries to believe that between this world and the grave to which she is going, there is no gulf fixed, across which she can never come back to visit those she loves. “If I can, I'll come again, mother, from out my resting-place ; Though you'll not see me, mother, I shall look upon your face; Though I can not speak a word, I shall hearken what you say, And be often, often with you, when you think I'm far away.” But in Part III, the “CoNCLUsion,” we find that which we are now especially seeking. It is here that our author, for the first time, presents us with some clue to his religious opinions. Spring has come round once more, and the dying Alice yet lingers on the earth. She says,
“I thought to pass away before, and yet alive
am : And in the fields all round l hear the bleating of the lamb. How sadly, I remember, rose the morning of the year, To die before the snowdrop came and now the violet's here.” But a light from above has risen on her darkness. She has found forgiveness of sin, and looks forward with cheerful and undoubting faith, to life everlasting. The first rays of heaven have already entered her soul, and she longs to spring upward, and bathe herself forever in its central light. “It seemed so hard at first, mother, to leave the blessed sun,
And now it seems as hard to stay, and yet His will be done !"
She has been brought to this happy state of feeling by the faithful
instructions and prayers of “that good man, the clergyman,” upon whose “whole life long” she invokes the fervent blessings of one who, even in dying, has found a new and everlasting life. “He showed me all the mercy, for he taught me all the sin, Now, though my lamp was lighted late, there's One will let me in : Nor would I now be well, mother, again, if that could be, For my desire is but to pass to Him that died for me.” It seems to us that we have in this one stanza, a distinct recognition of the two principal facts in the great system of evangelical Christian truth; viz. human sinfulness and divine forgiveness through the death of Christ. And hear again how the new-born soul discourses of its heavenly inheritance. “O sweet and strange it seems to me that ere this day is done, The voice that now is speaking, may be beyond the sun, Forever and forever with those just souls and true,
And what is life that we should moan 7 why make we such ado?
“Forever and forever, all in a blessed home, And there to wait a little while till you and Effie come : To lie within the light of God, as I lie upon your breast, Where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.” Beautiful poetry is this, and most beautiful, as it makes itself the framework of a picture, in which the brightness and purity of heaven itself are vividly presented. Our conclusion then is, that if we ask after moral and religious effect, the poems of Tennyson are without stain. There is nothing whatever of positive evil, and when he touches eternity, it is to trace, however dimly, the truths of pure religionLet the poet have this praise at least. that he has not, like so many others. with blasphemous ingratitude, turned the talent he possesses against the Being from whom it came. Thus far in our remarks upora Tennyson, it has been our aim ratiner to develope the sentiments of the
man, than to speak of his merely poetic merit. In drawing our hasty criticisms to a close, it is proper to glance more directly at the individual characteristics of the various poems. Of these, “Locksley Hall,” ranks highest in our estimation. There is a reach of thought in it, an energy of expression, and a vividness of poetic imagery, which no other poem in the two volumes possesses, in equal measure. Indeed in our judgment, there is scarcely a poem in the language, of no greater length than this, which contains so much of genuine poetry. We have read it time after time, and always with new interest and admiration. There are single lines in it which, like a flash of lightning at midnight, lay open whole worlds of thought. “The May Queen,” as we have already said, is a model of manful beauty, and moreover a faithful picture of human life. “The Talking Oak,” “The Day Dream,” and “The Miller's Daughter,” are exouisite specimens of affectionate feeling, gracefully expressed, half in mirth and half in tenderness. “Morte d'Arthur,” “Godiva,” “The Lord of Burleigh,” and “The Beggar Maid,” bear witness to the art of the poet in dressing up anew the legends which have come down to us from former generations, while “St. Agnes” and “Sir Galahad,” seem to breathe all the purity (ideal, in most cases, we grieve to say,) of conventual and knightly life. The temptation is strong upon us to present a few “elegant extracts,” from some of the poems named above, but we are not emulous of imitating the example of the classic simpleton who carried about a brick as a specimen of the house he wished to sell. If a poem is built as every poem should be, it is impossible to give any just idea of the whole, by taking out a few thoughts here and there, and holding them forth to the public gaze. For the sake however of exhibiting the somewhat peVol. III. 9
signed to him by the lords of criticism in the “old country,” we do not know, but we must frankly acknowledge nevertheless, nostro periculo, that he is a poet after our own heart. We admire the freshness and vigor of his verses. We commend him for the manliness of
his sentiments; for the absence of every mark of a servile spirit, and the hopefulness with which he looks upon the world. But most of all do we praise him, because, in respect to moral influence, he has left no line which, living or dying, he could wish to blot.
TRUTH IN O U R IN TER COURSE WITH T H E S I C K.”
ON the question, whether strict veracity should be adhered to, in every case and under all circumstances, in our intercourse with the sick, there is very great difference of opinion, as well among medical men, as in the community at large. Some are most scrupulously strict in their regard to truth; others, while they are generally so, make some few occasional exceptions in cases of great emergency and necessity; while others still (and we regret to say that they are very numerous) give themselves great latitude in their practice, if they do not in their avowed opinions. In examining this subject, it is not so much our intention to discuss the abstract question, as to present the many practical considerations that present themselves, illustrating them, so far as is necessary, by facts and cases. In order to introduce the subject, we will here quote a passage from Percival's Medical Ethics, which presents the views of those who are in favor of an occasional departure from truth, where the necessity of the case seems to demand it. “Every practitioner must find himself occasionally in circumstances of very delicate embarrassment, with respect to the contending obligations of veracity and professional duty: and when such trials occur,
* Our readers will perceive that the author of this article is a Physician.
it will behoove him to act on fixed principles of rectitude, derived from previous information and serious reflection. Perhaps the following brief considerations, by which I have conscientiously endeavored to govern my own conduct, may afford some aid to his decision. Moral truth, in a professional view, has two references; one to the party to whom it is delivered, and another to the individual by whom it is uttered. In the first it is a relative duty, constituting a branch of justice, and may properly be regulated by the divine rule of equity prescribed by our Savior, to do unto others as we would, all circumstances duly weighed, they should do unto us. In the second it is a relative duty, regarding solely the sincerity, the purity, and the probity of the physician himself. To a patient, therefore, perhaps the father of a numerous family, or one whose life is of the highest importance to the community, who makes inquiries, which, if faithfully answered, might prove fatal to him, it would be a gross and unfeeling wrong to reveal the truth. His right to it is suspended, and even annihilated; because its beneficial nature being reversed, it would be deeply injurious to himself, to his family, and to the public. And he has the strongest claim, from the trust reposed in his physician, as well as from the common principle of humanity, to be guarded against whatever would be detrimental to him. In such a situation, therefore, the only point at issue is, whether the practitioner shall sacrifice that delicate sense of veracity, which is so ornamental to, and indeed forms a characteristic excellence of the virtuous man, to this claim of professional justice and social duty. Under such a painful conflict of obligations, a wise and good man must be governed by those which are the most imperious, and will, therefore, generously relinquish any consideration referable only to himself. Let him be careful, however, not to do this but in cases of real emergency, which, happily, seldom occur, and to guard his mind sedulously against the injury it may sustain by such violations of the native love of truth. I shall conclude this long note with the two following very interesting biographical facts. The husband of the celebrated Arria, Caecinna Pactus, was very dangerously ill. Her son was also sick at the same time, and died. He was a youth of uncommon accomplishments, and fondly beloved by his parents. Arria prepared and conducted his funeral in such a manner, that her husband remained entirely ignorant of the mournful event which occasioned that solemnity. Pactus often inquired with anxiety about his son, to whom she cheerfully replied, that he had slept well, and was better. But if her tears, too long restrained, were bursting forth, she instantly retired, to give vent to her grief, and when again composed, returned to Pactus with dry eyes and a placid countenance, quitting, as it were, all the tender feelings of the mother at the threshold of her husband's chamber. Lady Russell's only son, Wriothesley, Duke of Bedford, died of the small-pox, in May, 1711, in the 31st year of his age. To this affliction succeeded, in November, 1711, the loss of her daughter, the Duchess of Rutland, who died in childbed. Lady Russell, after seeing her in the coffin, went to her other
daughter, married to the Duke of Devonshire, from whom it was necessary to conceal her grief, she being at that time in childbed likewise; therefore she assumed a cheerful air, and, with astonishing resolution, agreeable to truth, answered her anxious daughter's inquiries with these words, “I have seen your sister out of bed to-day.’” The falsehood in the two cases related by the author, is of the most egregious character, and yet they are fair representations of that kind of deception which many feel authorized to use -in the sick room. The equivocation which is practiced, it is true, is not always as gross and as labored, but it is as real. And whatever be the degree or kind of deception, the same principles will apply to every case. The question that presents itself is not, let it be understood, whether the truth shall in any case be withheld, but whether, in doing this, real falsehood is justifiable, in any form, whether direct or indirect, whether palpable or in the shape of equivocation. And we may also remark, that the question is not, whether those who practice deception upon the sick are guilty of a very criminal act. This depends altogether on the motive which prompts it, and it is certainly often done from the best and kindest motives. The question is stripped of all considerations of this nature, and comes before us as a simple practical question, whether there are any cases in which, for the sake of benefiting our fellow men, perhaps even to the saving of life, it is proper to make no exceptions to the great general law of truth. The considerations which will bring us to a clear and undoubted decision of this question, are not all to be drawn from the preciousness of the principle of truth, as an unbroken, invariable, and ever-present principle, the very soul of all order, and confidence, and happiness, in the wide universe. But the principle of expediency also furnishes us with some considerations that are valuable in confirming our decision, if not in leading us to it. In truth, expediency and right always correspond, and would be seen to do so, if we could always see the end from the beginning. We will remark upon each of the considerations as we present them. First. It is erroneously assumed by those who advocate deception, that the knowledge to be concealed from the patient would, if communicated, be essentially injurious to him. Paffendorf remarks in relation to this point, that “when a man is desirous, and it is his duty, to do a piece of service, he is not bound to take measures that will certainly render his attempts unsuccessful.” The certainty of the result, thus taken for granted, is far from being warranted by facts. Even in some cases where there was a strong probability (and this is all we can have in any case) that the effect would be hurtful, it has been found not to be so. I might here narrate some cases to prove the truth of this assertion, but it is not necessary. Suffice it to say, that it is confirmed by the experience of every physician that has pursued a frank and candid course in his intercourse with the sick. Secondly. It is also erroneously assumed, that concealment can always or generally be effectually carried out. There are so many ways by which the truth can be betrayed, even where concerted plans are laid, guarded at every point, that failure is much more common than success, so far as my experience has extended. Some unguarded expression or act, even on the part of those who are practicing the concealment, or some information communicated by those who are not in the secret, perhaps by children, or some evidence casually seen, very often either reveals the truth, or
awakens suspicion and prompts enquiry which the most skillful equivocation may not be able to elude: The very air that is assumed in carrying on the deception often defeats the object. In one instance where this was the case, the suspecting patient said very significantly, “How strangely you all seem —you act as if something dreadful had happened that you mean to keep from me.” Even the little child often exhibits a most correct discrimination in detecting deception in the manner, the modes of expression, and even the very tone of the voice. And sometimes, nay very often, people so far undervalue the good sense and shrewdness of children, that their deception is even ridiculously bungling, and justly excites an honest indignation in the bosom of the deceived child. We give the following scene as an illustration of the above remark. ‘Come, take this,” said a mother to her child, “it’s something good.’ The child was evidently a little suspicious that he was not dealt with candidly; but after a great many assurances from her on whom a child ought to be able to rely, if upon any body in the wide world, he was at length persuaded to take the spoon into his mouth. The medicine, which was really very bitter, was at once spit out, and the little fellow burst forth in reproaches upon his mother for telling him such a lie. ‘No, my dear,’ said she, “I have told you no lie. The medicine is good—it is good to cure you. That is what I meant.” * Good to cure me!’ cried he, with a look and an air of the most perfect contempt. “You cheated me. You know you did.” The contempt which this child manifested towards such barefaced equivocation was most justly merited, and yet this is a fair example of the deceptions which physicians are almost every day obliged to witness, and which, (may we not