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And plausible than social life requires;
But, once enslaved, farewell! I could endure
In a more humble and domestic
Liquisse campos, et videre te in tuto.
Hoc est quod unum est pro laboribus
Salve, O venusta Sirmio, atque hero gaude;
66 Sirmio, thou bright and beauteous little
Of all the isles, and almost-işles that lie
In shelter'd bay, or on the swelling main!
And here, in safety, look on thee once
A separation from the soil of our nativity, and the scene of long-remembered happiness, will easily be supposed still more strongly to excite the imagination than occasions like that which Catullus has here represented: for grief is, in general, a more powerful agent than even joy. Who does not understand and feel the poetical, and even the human, truth of Eve's farewell to the inanimate objects of her solicitude in Eden ?
"Oh, unexpected stroke-worse than of death!
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise? thus leave
Thee, native soil-these happy walks and shades
Fit haunt of gods!-where I had hoped to
Quiet, though sad, the respite of that day
That never will in other climate grow;
At e'en, which I bred up with tender hand,
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Thee, lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorn'd
Nor is it only our home and our country, or the objects with which they are filled, that become thus personified when our love for them is excited. Every inanimate thing which may connect us with them, will, by the same feeling, be exalted at once into importance, and into the rank of animated life. Remove us to a distanee, and the winds that seem to blow from our native land, or the clouds that travel towards her mountains, may become to our quickened feelings as partakers in the interest that excites us, or as mutual
With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown,
messengers to maintain our intercourse of love. Something of an analogous effect is indicated, in a less degree, by the well-known lines of Gray, though the personification is chiefly directed to the scenes themselves which are the source of the emotion:
"Ah, happy hills, ah, pleasing shades,
Ah, fields beloved in vain!
I feel the gales that from ye blow
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
To breathe a second spring."
But the influence we now allude to is more fully developed in some of the lines in which Cowper has described the feelings of Selkirk in his solitary island:
"Ye winds, that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore
Of a land I shall visit no more.
Though a friend I am never to see.”
If we thus regard our home and our familiar haunts as living objects of love, we shall readily imagine that we are to them an object of regard and desire, when there is room for supposing such sentiments. Not Amaryllis only lamented the absent Tityrus :—
66 Ipsæ te, Tityre, pinus, Ipsi te fontes, ipsa hæc arbusta vocabant." "For thee the bubbling springs appear'd
And whisp'ring pines made vows for thy return."
The loss of Lycidas was not bewailed alone by the comrades of his pastoral pursuits:
And all their echoes mourn:
Shall now no more be seen
The influence of Love, peculiarly so called, will in certain circumstances excite the imagination to the same energy as is produced by other passions. The lover, indeed, who enjoys the presence and favour of his mistress, will be too much engrossed with her living charms to think of conferring imagiginary life upon senseless things. But, in absence or disappointment, the case will be different. There is a latent principle of personification in most of the common-place amatory aspirations.
"O, that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might kiss that cheek!" "O gin my love were yon red rose That grows upon the castle wa'; And I mysel a drap o' dew,
Into her bonnie breast to fa'!" "Change me, some god, into that breathing rose !'
The love-sick stripling fancifully sighs, The envied flower beholding, as it lies 'On Laura's breast in exquisite repose.'
Throughout all these ideas there is this much of personification in the object into which he would be translover's wish, that he conceives the formed as in some degree sensible of the raptures which its situation would inspire in himself.
The feeling may be expected more powerfully to break forth under the pressure of an agonizing loss, whenever at least the first stunning weight of the blow has been relaxed. A be. reaved lover thus beautifully entreats the objects once associated with his love, to change those forms which so
"Thee, shepherd, thee the woods and bitterly awaken the recollections with which they are entwined :—
"Oh, move, thou cottage, from behind that oak!
Or let the aged tree uprooted lie,
That in some other way yon smoke
May mount into the sky!
The enthusiasm kindled by any ardent pursuit, will animate not only its objects but its instruments with a living power and sympathy. The warrior regards the weapons that he wields, as rejoicing equally with himself in the strife of death. Thus, to borrow two of the boldest examples that Aristotle takes from Homer:
τα δε δουρα θρασείαων απο χειρων,
Αλλα μεν εν σακεί μεγάλῳ παγεν ὁρμενα προσσω,
"In his broad buckler many a weapon stood,
Αιχμη δε στέρνοιο Προσσω ἱεμενη·
"The lance with eager joy transfix'd his breast,
Speeding its onward course."
In accordance with such imaginations, the warrior-lyre has, in the Feast of Brougham Castle, been struck to the full compass to which perhaps it was possible to swell this note without a jarring in its harmony.
"Armour rusting in his halls,
And here, once for all, it may be repeated, that the animating influence of every strong emotion is exerted not only on its direct objects, but on all things that have a collateral relation to it."As the moon brightens round her the clouds of the night," the heart, when kindled to a glow, diffuses its radiance even on the darkest and dullest surface that falls within its sphere.
The last of the passions to which we shall allude as awakening the personifying faculty is that of fear, of which the power is still more conspicuous where it is combined with guilt. It is probable that the horrors of remorse operate partially in this way, by seem ing to enlist even inanimate nature among the accusers of the criminal and the avengers of his crime. Already, while the act is unaccomplished, he regards with preternatural sensitiveness every strange sound and sight, as a living witness testifying against its perpetration. The vulgar man of midnight violence bestows an imprecation upon a jarring hinge, a creaking plank, or a glancing moonbeam, as if conspiring to interrupt his
The very stones prate of my whereabouts." And the instigatress of murder gives utterance to thoughts of a similar spirit.
66 O Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes."
We have not reserved room to dwell on that mixed condition of the intellectual and moral faculties, which leads to the personification of mere mental abstractions. We shall afterwards, however, have an opportunity of illustrating this part of the subject, when we come to notice some of the ideas that have been thus kindled into life. In the mean time we may observe, that nothing but an earnest and intense contemplation of such conceptions can recommend a serious attempt to personify them. The use of such figures as mere matters of rhetorical ornament, unsupported by any poetical vision of the images employed, is distasteful to the judicious, and seldom successful with the most unthinking. It produces, among other mischiefs, this bad result, that, by diminishing the relief that simplicity always affords, it weakens the power of any genuine personification which may come to be introduced.
Neither can we here dwell upon that other operation of the personifying principle which is performed at the
bidding of fancy, without passion having much share in it. Fancy has learned from the workings of passion that such transmutations are practicable, and she has pressed the power thus discovered into her own service. When her fictions are clothed with moral beauty, and finished with suitable and congruous details, the mind receives them as pleasing possibilities, and derives a new delight from admiring the ingenuity and skill which they display. Hence, among other fruits, has sprung the voluminous code of Esop and his followers, of which the elegant imaginations and intrinsic truths find so ready credence in infant minds, and which many of the ripest understanding have found pleasure in studying as well as in imitating.
In concluding this branch of our observations, let us glance for an instant at some of the feelings which seem most inconsistent with the natural exertion of the personifying power. Any mean or degrading impulses-any worldly or merely practical views-any anxiety about minute accuracy or mathematical truth, must impede or destroy this imaginative power. If the mind is fastened to the ground by sordid ties, it cannot aspire to an ethereal and creative energy. If it is bent on ascertaining matter of
literal fact, or is dissatisfied with grand generalities, it cannot feel the due influence of that spirit which operates by fallacies, but by fallacies more veracious than many physical demonstrations. We can believe Atlas in dimness and in distance to be a king or a hero, that bears the weight of heaven on his shoulders; but if we proceed, as somebody proposed to do with Mount Athos, and carve him into the distinct features of a man, the charm is gone. Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic, incredulus odi. The old extravagances of the metaphysical school of poets, illustrate the failure of any attempt to please by such analogies as run for miles together, not merely upon all fours, but like centipedes upon fifty feet a side.
Upon the same principle, a hot and cold project, such as Darwin's in his Botanical Garden, for making personification a vehicle of systematic science, is in its very conception hopeless and contradictory; though we are all the better for the accomplished railery of the Loves of the Triangles, to show us its full absurdity. Such efforts may be permitted for a very short period to glitter as the frostwork of fancy; but, having neither warmth nor durability, they are unfit either for long or for lofty compositions.
TEN THOUSAND A-YEAR.
"FORTUNA Sævo læta negotio, et Ludum insolentem ludere pertinax, Transmutat incertos honores,
Nunc mihi, nunc alii benigna. Laudo manentem: SI CELERES QUATIT PENNAS, RESIGNO QUÆ DEDIT, ET MEA VIRTUTE ME INVOLVO, PROBAMQUE PAUPERIEM SINE DOTE QUÆRO."
THE chief corner-stone suddenly found wanting in the glittering fabric of Mr Titmouse's fortune, so that to the eyes of its startled architects, Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, it seemed momentarily threatening to tumble about their ears, was a certain piece of evidence which, being a matter-of-fact man, I should like to explain to the reader before we get on any farther. In order, however, to do this effectually, I must go back to an earlier period in the history than has been yet called to his attention. If it shall have been unfortunate enough to attract the hasty eye of the superficial and impatient novel-reader, I make no doubt that by such a one certain portions of what has gone be. fore, and which could not fail of attracting the attention of long-headed people, as being not thrown in for nothing, (and therefore to be borne in mind with a view to subsequent explanation,) have been entirely overlooked or forgotten. Now, I can fancy that the sort of reader whom I have in my eye, as one whose curiosity it is worth some pains to excite, and sustain, has more than once asked himself the fol lowing question, viz.—
How did Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, first come to be acquainted with the precarious tenure by which Mr Aubrey held the Yatton property? Why, it chanced in this wise.
Mr Parkinson of Grilston, who has been already introduced to the reader, succeeded to his late father, in one of the most respectable practices, as a country attorney and solicitor in Yorkshire. He was a highly honourable, painstaking man, and deservedly enjoyed the entire confidence of all his numerous and influential clients. Some twelve years before the period at which this history commences, Mr Parkinson, who was a very kindhearted man, had taken into his service
Hor. Carm. Lib. iii. 49.
an orphan boy of the name of Steggars, at first merely as a sort of errand-boy, and to look after the office. He soon, however, displayed so much sharpness, and acquitted himself so creditably in any thing that he happened to be concerned in, a little above the run of his ordinary duties, that in the course of a year or two he became a sort of clerk, and sat and wrote at the desk it had formerly been his sole province to dust. Higher and higher did he rise, in process of time, in his master's estimation; and at length became quite a factotum-as such, acquainted with the whole course of business that passed through the office. Many interesting matters connected with the circumstances and connexions of the neighbouring nobility and gentry were thus constantly brought under his notice, and now and then set him thinking whether the knowledge thus acquired could not, in some way, and at some time or another, be turned to his own advantage; for I am sorry to say that he was utterly unworthy of the kindness and confidence of Mr Parkinson, who little thought that in Steggars he had to deal with a rogue in grain. Such being his character, and such his opportunities, this worthy made a practice of minuting down, from time to time, any thing of interest or importance in the affairs which thus came under his notice-even laboriously copying long documents, when he thought them of importance enough for his purpose, and had the opportunity of doing so without attracting the attention of Mr Parkinson. He thus silently acquired a mass of information which might have enabled him to occasion great annoyance, and even inflict serious injury; and the precise object he had in view, was either to force himself, hereafter, into partnership with his employer, (provided he