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He had something so indescribably high about him, that I should have hesitated to offer him any favour, and yet at i! , same time, his frankness was so manly, that I should not have been surprised at any request which he might have made.' pp. 11, 12.
The Author is the Majolo's guest. While Benedetta is setting out the table, his host proposes to play a few of the provincial airs of Oliastro.
'/\fter a rich and chromatic symphony, as if to contrast the intricacies of refinement with the charms of natural simplicity, he played in succession, a number of tender and sprightly airs. This performance seemed to partake of the nature of his own character. It had in it a degree of precision, often unpleasing, but now and then it rounder itself into an expression so full, so generous, and so noble, that perhaps, few professional musicians could have excelled it. I began indeed to imagine that he might have been himself a public performer, but just as the thought arose in my mind, a little blemish in his playing, some defect of the time, and harshness of the cadence, convinced me that he was only an amateur.' pp. 16, 17.
His remarks upon national music would suggest an interesting topic of speculation, had we an opportunity of verifying the assertion on which they are founded; that the Scottish music bears a striking resemblance to that ef Sardinia. 'There is no part 'of the world,' observes the Majolo, ' where the country is 'mountainous, in which the music is not wild, abrupt, and 'mournful.'
'Mnsic is the medium by which the universal feelings of mankind are expressed, and man in similar circumstances is always the same sort of creature. He is affected by the mountainous circumstances of Epirus, of Sardinia, and of Scotland, with similar emotions, and the only difference in the universal language of these countries, is a difference of accent, a provincial peculiarity.'
The Majolo now proceeds to satisfy the curiosity of his guest with respect to his history, informing him before-hand that his tale,will consist rather of observations than adventures. Accordingly, he is perpetually digressing from his desultory narrative •into reflections of a philosophizing cast; which display, for the most part, correct observation, and amiable feeling, but exhibit a singular deficiency of religious knowledge, not excusable even in a Sardinian peasant. The notions of the Majolo confcernin^ Destiny, as 'a kind of moral chemistry,' as a chain 'formed by links of physical causes,' and other sceptical hints of this kind, are so vague as to appear connected with no very determinate opinions in the Author's mind, and they may, therefore, be passed over as harmless instances of the cloudiness of idea into which an ambitious fondness for philosophical conjecture is likely to lead a person, in the absence of correct moral guidance. There is some truth, however, mixed with much absurdity of expression, in the following specimen.
"' I have noticed,' said the Majolo, 'that character is seldom understood by estimating the qualities of the mind. Do you not generally 6nd some occult impulse so modifying the nature of man in active life, that he scarcely seems the same sort of being whom you had contemplated unemployed? Compare the moral and intellectual features of any individual among your acquaintance, with the effect of his character on yourself, or in the circle of society in which he is placed, and you will be convinced that it is not by them, but by the way in which he Is actuated, that you ought to make choice of him as a friend, or shun him as an enemy. There is nothing more deceitful than to trust a man on account of his qualities; in every case where you do so, and leave out of consideration what appears to be his destiny, you will never cease to repent the connection. There is very little inherent difference between the qualities of the good and the bad; the effects which their course of action produces in society make the former criminals and the latter judges; and, therefore, the laws of all nations wisely regard guilt, as characterised by circumstances, dependent as much on the life and conduct of the person who commits it, as on the actual amount of the injury which it inflicts on the sufferer.
"' Don Lopez was one of that class of persons who, without the smallest particle of generous sentiment in their composition, are constrained, by the impulse of destiny, to act in all affairs with unvaried frankness, and the appearance of possessing a liberal and munificent heart. In every thing the selfishness of his nature was constantly manift.-ted. He studied the enjoyments of his palate with the solicitude of devotion; but as he delighted as much in cheerful company as in luxurious dishes and delicate wines, he drew around his table a circle of pleasant companions, and had the reputation of being a good hospitable fellow. He was proud and vain to an excessive degree, and yet such was his happy fortune, that neither of these disagreeable qualities were allowed to show themselves in their true colours His sensuality being social, acted as a medium to his arrogance and presumption, and so changed their natural complexion in every manifestation, that they took the colour of virtues, as the crimson blood in the veins appears blue when seen through the soft smooth skin of voluptuous beauty Not one of his associates were was) ignorant of his disposition, and yet they constantly treated him as one of the best of men, and sp ke of his faults with indulgence. Not one of them had the slightest faith in his friendship, and yet he was the most intimate friend with which each of them respectively associated. He had, however, the good fortune to possess not only that instinctive discernment of the tendency of affairs, which enables a man to know when to speculate upon contingencies, but also that disregard of the consequences of failure, which emboldens the adventurous to risk more than their all upon the probability of great ultimate profit. He was, therefore, considered not only as the most liberal, but one of the most fortunate merchants in all Sassari, and this opinion procured him more Vol. V.—N. S. G
credit than, perhaps, was ever before enjoyed by any trader in Sardinia; for in this island mercantile probity is rarer than among you in England; and that wonderful confidence between man and man, which enables your countrymen to work miracles both in political and mercantile finance, is here almost entirely unknown."' pp. 85—88.
Many of the Majolo's general observations, which appear at first paradoxical, or which startle by their boldness or novelty, will be found, on examination, to contain a portion of truth, but to be erroneous from the partial and defective views on which they are founded. Were he to commence the career of life afresh, he is made to say, there is no profession he would prefer to that of a merchant; and the following is the reason he assigns.
'" The vital principle of commerce is founded on faith in the general probity of human nature.—The lawyer thrives by the vices of mankind, and his hopes of fortune can only be realized by the prevalence of dishonesty. The utility of the priest is founded on the necessity of curbing the dispositions of the heart: men, in his eyes, are savage animals that must be chained to prevent them from doing mischief. The soldier, the hero! builds his monument with the ruins of nations. The statesman is the adversary of the natural freedom of man, and the artificer of crimes that are offensive only to his usurpations; and the author, or if you think fit, the philosopher is die disseminator of notions, for the effects of which he does not hold himself responsible, but regards the punishment for promulgating the most pernicious as attempts to shackle the human mind. The merchant, however, lives by cultivating amity between nation and nation; his profit is obtained by promoting the benefit of others; hig barb explore the remotest regions, and carry with them knowledge on their prow, and the seeds of industry in their cargoes.""
'I could, with difficulty, keep from smiling, as he proceeded ia flu's manner. He suddenly frowned, and looking at me with a steadiness of eye that was almost stern, said, "are you an Englishman, sir, and do not think this true ?" * pp. 103—105.
The following description given by the Majolo, of his first efforts to obtain literary eminence, may indirectly serve to illustrate some of our preceding remarks. Many an ardent young adventurer, prompted by the restlessness of imagination, has, probably, experienced a similar perplexity amid the distracting variety of intellectual pursuits, in no one of which, imagination could promise to supply the deficiency of more solid qualifications, or to shorten the laborious process of acquirement.
*" From that moment, 1 saw the necessity of applying my mind to attain some degree of pre-eminence in a particular study. The difficulty was, to find one in which the merits of my own efforts might appear, and that what I might produce should be acknowledged as my own. Before fixing, my mind rambled over almost every oranch of science and literature. I applied to mathematics with the enthusiasm of a poet, but I found that the laws of demonstrations were too despotic for my imagination. I turned to metaphysics, and the science seemed but a system of plausibilities, continually subject to be dissolved. Chymistry, under the direction of Vincellos, next drew my attention; but although he admitted that I showed some ability in conjecturing what might be the result of experiments, he ?oon toM me of what, indeed, I was so soon conscious, that I wanted the steadiness of application necessary to the delicacies of analizing.'" But my ardour was not to be subdued. I felt and confessed my natural unfitness for prosecuting science; but the wide region of general literature lay open before me, and a thousand paths, all leading to the glittering domes and pinnacles of the same edifice in
which the consequential deemed a niche was prepared for him,
invited me to advance. With an intensity of application, that was either natural or had become habitual, I entered upon that of history; but soon found that I could not set down my foot without placing it on the print of some predecessor The world, 1 perceived, had long before discovered the w iy of preserving every thing of the past that deserves to be transmitted to posterity; and I wearied myself among the broken arches and fallen pillars of antiquarian curiosity, in the hope of meeting with some suitable topic that might ensure to me free access to the temple. The search was vain; the lights of my learning were but tapers, and only made the darkness visible which broods in the labyrinths of antiquity. I abandoned my attempt to explore their ruinous recesses, less, however, satisfied that they contained no hidden t> easures, than convinced of the inadequacy of my means to discover them.
'" During the time that I was thus casting about for a proper object of regular study, I had amused myself in writing occasional little songs and ballads in the provincial dialect of Oliastro. And a copy of one of these, partly ludicrous and partly pathetic, happened to fall into the hands of a Benedictine monk, who was so much pleased with it, that he took the trouble of requesting Vincellos to make us acquainted. This incident was a great triumph over . Hitherto nobody knew the extent of his proficiency, and although he has since fully verified the solidity of his just pretensions to superiority, it seemed then to every body more assumed than legitimate. But in the request of the monk there was a decisive homage paid to something peculiarly my own. From that moment it appeared to me, that, were I to cultivate my talent for poetry I might be enabled to inspire the public with sentiments respecting me similar to those of the monk." * pp. 120—123.
There is a great deal of picturesque description in this little volume, and in the delineations of character, are some very successful displays of ability. Some of the portraits, we apprehend, are from life. The character of Count Waltzerstein is finely developed; and the Majolo's physiognomical discoveries, though they may appear fanciful, are certainly justified b'j abundant indications of a real correspondence ' between 'the physical form, and the intellectual character.'
With respect to the ' other elementary principle' which the Majolo speaks of, as serving to guide him in the study of mankind, ' the sympathetic and antipathetic nature of the 'mind', it is not sufficiently ' definable', for us to trust ourselves with the subject: but we will so far concede to our Author, as to admit the justness of his motto, that
* There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,'Than are dreamed of in your philosophy.'
We have given more copious extracts from this small volume, than its size or its pretensions might seem to warrant; but it appeared to us to be the only method of doing justice to the Author. The present work, we are informed, constitutes only a part of a considerable design, of an epic character. We have, therefore, thought it deserving of a proportionate degree of attention. 'You have heard my story,' says the Majolo, in concluding the conversation, ' and read my book; do you 'think me a fool, or a man of genius?' The Author seems to anticipate the perplexity which the reader would feel on a similar question being put to him. 'It was not easy,' he replies,' to find a proper answer to such a question.' In the usual acceptation of the word, there would be no propriety whatever in the application of the former term to the Author of such a production. The latter designation in its highest sense, would scarcely be due to him. We may safely allow him the full benefit of the opinion he expresses of the Majolo, that he is 'unquestionably possessed of an uncommon mind:' but perhaps this uncommonness may relate more to kind than degree of ability. There is a modification of the two properties, folly and genius, existing in combination with each other, which will often be found to entitle a man to a certain degree of literary fame, and to constitute him a character highly interesting, but which, at the same time, disqualify him for the higher efforts and sustained exertions of intellect. On the whole, we feel some curiosity to hear the conclusion of the Majolo's history.
'. . . !; :r" ~ '' ''' '' I. I \m ■
Art. X. A Serious Address to the Clergy of the United Kingdom on the Duties of the Pastoral Office, in a Visitation Sermon, preached at the Parish Church of St. Paul's, Covent-garden, on the 18th of May, 1815, before the Archdeacon of Middlesex and his Clergy. By the Rev. W. Gurney, A. M. Rector of St. Clement Danes, Strand; Minister of the Free Chapel, Westminster, Ac 8vo. pp. 25. Price Is. W.Walker. 1815.
THIS is a plain, but very earnest and sensible Sermon, from 1 Pet. v. 2. and 3. "Feed the flock of God," &c. It has no great pretensions to originality, to depth of thought, or to eloquence, but the preacher's modest expectation that his' language,