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husband leaves her there, and need visit her only once or twice a year. The result of this system, notwithstanding the severity of ancient laws, is seen in an utter dissoluteness of morals in the higher, as well as in the lower castes. It is usual for a rich householder to keep his children to the second generation under his own roof; so that families of one household have sometimes one hundred members, each contributing to the common stock. Household matters and cooking, are done by the married women; for a Brahmin must not eat food from the hands of a slave. In their division of the day, the Brahmins are superstitiously regular. Thrice they bathe and cleanse themselves, worshipping the lingam, a little idol which they make upon the instant, out of clay taken from the bank of the river, and, for the greater merit, endeavor to shape it with one hand. Before this idol they kneel at the noon bathing, and tell their beads, a prayer for each. The manner of bathing and worship is minutely prescribed in the Shastras. A bit of clay must be placed upon the head of the lingam, Jest the spirits and demons of the air may worship it, and thus steal its efficacy; and after bathing, it must be thrown as an offering into the river. By an act of contemplation, stopping the breath and fixing attention, the worshipper conjures a god into the lingam, and worships it as a real presence. After each ablution, the devout bather must mark his forehead and other parts, with mud, in the sign of his patron deity; and various sects, in this spirit, brand themselves with the mark of their god.” Every motion in the process of bathing and cleansing, even to the use of a green stick for the teeth, and the snapping and contorting of the fingers and limbs in several difficult ways, is laid down in the Shastras; but the worshipper performs them easily, because habitually. A portion of each day is given to business, and the remainder to the sacred duties of hospitality (reckoned among sacraments,) and to reading, smoking and chewing the betel-nut. A large quantity of rice is eaten at each meal, and a portion of meat after sacrifices. The householder scatters a handful of rice before each meal to the winds and waves, and pours a libation of water, as of old. Reading in the Vedas is highly meritorious, even when the an
cient dialect of those holy books is unintelligible to the reader. By reading and committing them to memory, all sin may be expiated. But, at this day, the ancient piety declines, and with it the old respect for ceremonies and sacred books. A modern Brahmin hurries irreverently through his devotions, forgetting to make expiation for daily and hourly violations of the law. A few only remain entangled in so close a net of superstition, every motion entangles them in a penance, and their days are wholly consumed in prayers and ablutions. But the escape from ancient superstition, leaves the Hindoo fitter for the disregard of all morality. It is asserted in their histories, that originally all Brahmins were of one order, and were equally pure; but that by loss of caste, the greater part have sunk in honor, until the lowest are on a level with Soudras. The Priests of India, unlike those of Egypt, have no philosophical mysteries, or grades of initiation, ending in a knowledge of the one God, and of the one state. If such a system was at any time established in India, it was probably done away with, or lost, at the epoch of Buddha; after whom the kings of Delhi were Buddhists for many generations. Brahminical theology declined from its ancient purity, under that form of materialism, nor did it seem to profit by the many philosophical sects which originated during the Buddhist controversy; but these, like their probable offspring, the philosophy of Greece, rather weakened the religion they were invented to defend. Since that period, and perhaps for centuries previous, the Brahminical order has been divided into a number of sects and opinions, according to the Idea they worship, or the philosophy they avow. These have often persecuted each other with wars of extermination, and to this day discover a perfect hatred for each others’ gods. Siva's worshippers, a murderous and bloody sect, delight in blood and self-torture; and in their rites and orgies, resemble the ancient Bacchanals. The votaries of Vishnu compensate in indecency for what they want in cruelty; they are the prevailing sect, and their immoralities defile the nation. Their temples are described as brothels, and their priests as capable of any wickedness. These priests are not of the higher caste, and there is a marked distinction between them and the more learned and respectable Brahmins. The wiser among them, it is said, confess and deplore the ruin of their nation; but their peculiar subtlety and learning renders them almost inaccessible to arguments against the ancient system. That honesty and purity are esteemed among them, may be guessed by the qualifications of a Kooleena Brahmin, established by king Ballasana, the founder of their order; these were, dutiful observance, meekness, learning in the law and scripture, character, the disposition to holy pilgrimages, aversion from the gifts of the impure, honesty, austerity and liberality. Funeral ceremonies in India are those of burning and interment, practiced by different sects; or the bodies of men, and of sacred animals, are cast into rivers. The Hindoos associate the idea of death with the passage of a river, and worship water and rivers, as a peculiar presence of divinity. The holiest places are those included by a bend of the Ganges, or by its junctions with other streams. Myriads of persons resort to these places to die; and the waters become putrid with the multitude of floating human corpses. A Hindoo at the point of death, is hurried by his relatives to the river side, and immersed to his waist, that his soul may enjoy the sacred influence of the stream. The death of old and wealthy persons is often hastened in this manner by their heirs, under pretext of piety. In some districts widows are burned, and in others buried, with their husbands; but this is rare, and was never universal. Burials are attended with songs and music, in honor of Crishna, and the name of that god is written upon the forehead of the corpse. Burning is a very solemn ceremony in honor of the soul, and is connected with a belief that fire brings about a speedier union of the soul with its creator. The superstition of this people is in nothing more evident, than in the sacredness which they attribute to cows, monkeys, serpents and other animals. The Thibetans, who are Buddhists, and probably received their civilization from India, declare their origin from the marriage of a monkey with a demon, as though man were midway in nature between demon and brute; and the Hindoos, though they trace their ancestry to Brahma, believe the soul of man to be of a brutish nature, and subject to inhabit plants and animals
* “The mark of the Beast,” mentioned in Revelations 2
before it animates a human body. The apes that cling about the banyan trees, and on the roofs of temples in Benares, are peculiarly sacred; and serpents, with a singular propriety, are classed for sanctity among Brahmins. To destroy any animal, except for sacrifice, is a sin, and requires expiation. Prayers and offerings are appointed in the Vedas for the inadvertent destruction of insects and small animals. The lives of cattle are reckoned as sacred as those of Brahmins, and to slay them, except for sacrifice, or to mutilate them in the least, or even to dress and prepare leather of their skins, is a defilement that requires extreme penance, and is punished by loss of caste, or by a penance worse than death. Every part of a cow is sacred, and the housewives of India are not ashamed, for the sake of purification, to smear their thresholds with the sacred dung. The statue of a sacred bull may be seen in the grotto temple of Ellora; and one of the incarnations of Siva was in the body of a bull. That a superstition of this character should have originated among pastoral tribes, seems impossible, nor is it entertained by other nations of Asia; and the probability is, that the Egyptians brought it with them into India; for the worship of animals prevailed in Egypt, before the building of the Pyramids. The manners of this people are described as bland and social in the extreme. Notwithstanding caste, leagues of amity are made between superior and inferior, with a view to mutual benefit; a compact greatly needed in a society so broken and limited. Friendships between equals seem less interested, and the friends call each other by endearing diminutives. In this, as in other traits, the Hindoos resemble a nation of children, for simplicity and naughtiness. Friends testify, regard by trifling gifts. To remove a doubt of his sincerity, an aggrieved friend will lay a burning coal upon his hand, and suffer it there until the other begs him to take it off. They are quarrelsome, and excessively litigious. If blows are given, the injured party touches the feet of the bystanders, saying, “You are my witness”; and their common courts are crowded with plaintiffs in petty suits. They are as dexterous in trade as in theft, and he is a shrewd customer who escapes them with a fair bargain. Their markets are great fairs, about the shrine of an idol, where myriads congregate for traffic and for worship: the uproar of their trafficing may be heard ar off. At certain times they go in crowds to the famous idol sites, making the long pilgrimage an occasion of gain. Here are sold animals for the monthly sacrifice ; and products of the soil are given in exchange for trinkets and foreign merchandize. Coins were very anciently used in India; and by a shell called cowrie, Hindoo dealers divide the value of a mite into copper intoseveral parts. At these fairs, the Indian Jugglers exhibit their astonishing feats, and in thaumaturgy, as in subtlety of doctrine, the Hindoos excel all nations. In all things they discover cunning, and the finest perceptions; qualities that do not jar with sensuality or faithlessness. The women of India, “ until their thirtieth year, are stout and vigorous; but after that period decline faster than the women of Europe. Early marriage, labor, and diseases, exhaust their constitutions. They are lively, active and tractable; acute, and fond of conversation; using florid expressions, and a #. abundant in images. They eliberate much, and are inquisitive, but modest, in discourse: but their disposition is fickle and inconstant, and though full of promises, they easily break them.” “They are importunate, but ungrateful,
cringing to superiors and insolent to dependents; and assuming an air of calm. ness and composure under injury, wait a time for a more thorough revenge.” Family quarrels are very frequent, es. o between the wives of one hus. and, and the children of different wives; and the first wife is commonly hated by the others when, according to custom, she takes precedence of them, in the management of the household. These quarrels engender suits at law concerning the division of estates, by which great numbers are impoverished. Hindoo notions of beauty are agreeable to the constitution of the race. The face of a handsome man is compared in Hindoo poetry to a full moon : the forehead broad and prominent, the eyes mild and lively, with a nose slightly aquiline, and a sensually moulded mouth ; a very dark complexion, straight black hair, glossy skin, and soft, rounded, and slender limbs, are the marks of the Bengalee; but . of the Rohillas and Afghans have a noble and powerful form. The women of Bengal are admired for a rolling gait, and a body glittering with ornaments. Their poets describé them with a waist as slender as a lion's, taper limbs, and a face radiant with smiles, that discover teeth as ruddy as the seeds of the pomegranate.
SHALL we create or criticise Shall we be the biters, or the bitten ? Shall we carp, or be carped at The latter, certainly . The death of a martyr is more honorable than the life of a tyrant. We are determined not to be a dog by the wayside, barking at authors, or authorlings, to scare them back in their road to the 'Shining Pinnacles. We have already become quite expert in the business of ‘conveyancing, and need no farther lessons in that furbishing and disguising art, which, in the hands of industrious workmen,
“Gars auld clothes look amaist as weel as new.”
So long as we have a good supply of work, we shall make no remarks on the quality of the materials, or the style of workmanship, visible in the productions of our brethren-in-trade—the literary tailors. So long as our honesty remains unimpeached, we shall never, unless compelled by the necessity of idleness, peep into their gardens, or inquire whether they raise their own cabbage. But if any of the thievish fraternity indict us for light-fingering, it shall go hard; but we will turn state's-evidence. At all events, “Greek will meet Greek, and like the Kilkenny cats—we forbear to be original in comparisons. We confess we are a little afraid to criticise. Our reason is, that we never know when we are right. We have a thousand and one conflicting tastes of our own; how, then, can we lay down a uniform law to regulate the tastes of others? In reference to very many subjects, most men, and we preeminently, are as Young said, and Byron after him,
“A pendulum betwixt a smile and tear.”
We could never tell for our lives whether we preferred tragedy or comedy, solitude or society, *. or celibacy, industry or indolence, books or oratory, eating or sleeping, hope, memory, or fruition. On all these matters we either hang in quiescent indifference, or swing from side to side in frequent and fitful oscillations. We are glad we were never placed under
the embarrassing responsibilities of a juror; we never could have made up our mind, and should have proposed to draw lots for our verdict. As regards literature, we find something to please and something to displease us in every work, from the Iliad down to the Farmer's Almanac for 1845. We find it impossible to decide the respective merits of the various worthies of the pen. The exact opposite of what we admire in one author, excites our admiration in another. We praise the simplicity, the brevity, the strength of Demosthenes or Webster: we praise the embellishment, the amplification, the richness of Cicero or Chalmers. We commend the easy style of Addison, and the chaste severity of Hume: we commend, also, the balanced, folding-door sentences of Johnson, and the elaborately-melodious periods of Gibbon. We admit the validity of the rhetorical statute that language should always be definite and perspicuous: yet we zealously admire the dark expressions of Shakspeare:
“To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot, This sensible, warm motion to become A kneaded clod,” etc.
language, which can be analysed and interpreted only by the feelings. We fully agree with the critics, that ideas ought to be expressed briefly, rapidly, and simply; yet, after reading some pages in the writings of John §. Adams, and still more of Chalmers and Burke, we find that force of thought does not always consist in brevity of style, and that ideas, presented under all their various phases with comprehensive amplitude, may sometimes leave a clear, and powerful, and permanent impression. But if we find it difficult to digest our own opinions into a code of critical doctrine at once catholic and true, still harder is it to frame one corresponding to the myriad sentiments of others. The tastes of men are as different as their natures, or rather, they are none other than the active developments of their original constitution, modified by education, accident and habit. It were, therefore, absurd to wonder that all do not, or to expect that all should similarly and equally appreciate the beautiful and the ugly, the seemly and the unseemly, whether in the material or the moral world, whether in life or in books. Were our minds, like our eyes and ears, all constituted on the same fixed principles, we should all, in like circumstances, think and feel, and act alike. The construction of the healthy eye is always the same ; the rays of light fall similarly refracted on its faithful mirror; and, by consequence, the impressions received in respect to color, form, and dimension, are alike in all. But the moment those organs become the media of any moral or intellectual impression, how different are their office and operation— how unlike the tale they tell In the sweet face of Nature the hopeful boy sees mirrored the heaven of the future—the regretful man the heaven of his boyhood. Two individuals look forth on the sunrise of a calm June morning—the one, innocent and happy, from his own window; the other, a blood-stained wretch, selfruined, from the bars of a felon's cell. The one greets the birth of a new day, i. in the ebullient gladness of his eart—
“Hail, holy Light ! offspring of Heaven first-born "
The other gazes on the splendid pageant, that shines for others, and cries with the gnashing teeth of rage, and the staring eyeballs of despair—
- “To thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
Oh, Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams."
To the quiet farmer how delightful is the aspect of a country smiling beneath a cloudless sky! To the fiery son of Mars this is all insipid; his eyes long for the smoke of cannon and the din of battle— the shock, the tumult, the terror, the despair : To the delicate nursling of luxury, a life amid the wild fastnesses of nature o a scene of horror, while to the
ardy mountaineer it is a perennial wellspring of health, and peace, and selfrenewing joy. . To him, whose spirit has always been absorbed in money, refinement and feeling are a non-existence. To the bare mathematician poetry is a dead letter. It proves nothing. His numbers are of a different nature, and his Jigures of a more literal complexion. The only tangent to his feelings is the tangent of a circle, and all the ‘signs of the times’
are nothing compared with the sine of an angle. An ancient castle has no charms for him except trigonometrically. It is, perhaps, ... and he finds by calculation that the old tower is ninety feet and five inches in height! The botanist would not give anew species of thistle for the Alexandrian library; and the entomolo would scarce exchange a new variety of moscheto for all the roses of “biferous Paestum.” For the grammarian, Homer and Virgil are heretics, save in so far as they give him to talk of middle and deponent verbs, digammas, heteroclite, expletives, ellipses, and enclitics. For the metaphysician, Shakspeare is a withing; Moore is excommunicate; and thus it goes just according to nature, education, and habit. All are, in some sense, right in their tastes; for there is pleasure in everything. It is delightful to attach the affections to any object. It is grand to dine with Locke —it is grand to soar with Milton. It is pleasing to study the laws of language, and of the mind which made and employs it. It is charming to investigate the principles of nature, and the history of man. It is delightful to behold, still more delightful to possess, the beautiful—and everything is beautiful for him whose habits have led him to observe and love it. It is beautiful to make money—it is more so to expend it. Women and wit, wine and war, storms and stars, land and ocean, midnight and midday, are all beautiful. Opposites are beautiful in the eyes even of one and the same person, aye, at one and the same time. Thus the whole round of life, and the entire furniture of the world become “all things to all men.” How, then, can criticism be erected into a science, when its very foundations are laid in the fickle and conflicting judgments of men? We certainly shall not attempt it—unless we change our mind. It is better to be a poor author than a had critic. The former makes humble pretensions. He writes and publishes in the simplicity of his heart. Mistaking, perhaps, a desire for an ability to write, and thinking the thoughts, which shine so brightly for him, will also dazzle the eyes ; others, he prints, and if he fail, he had not measured his strength—he has erred, not sinned. But the false critic is chargeable not only with vanity in overrating his powers, but with im|...". in meddling with what he new nothing of, and with petty malice in attempting to detract from his superiors. How contemptible a figure is an