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16.-WEALTH versus ENJOYMENT.
JEREMY TAYLOR. [Jeremy Taylor was a learned and pious divine, born in 1613, at Cambridge. He attracted the notice of Archbishop Laud, who made him his chaplain, and presented him with the rectorship of Uppingham. In 1642 he was created D.D., having already become chaplain in ordinary to Charles I. During the Commonwealth he retired into Wales, where he was kindly received by the Earl of Carbery, under whose protection he continued to exercise his ministry, and keep a school. In this retirement he wrote those fervent and thoughtful discourses which have rendered him one of the first writers in the English language. He was twice imprisoned by the Republican Government; but at the
Restoration he was made Bishop of Down and Connor, and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin. He died in 1667.] SUPPOSE a man gets all the world, what is it that he gets ? It is a bubble and a phantasm, and hath no reality beyond a present transient use; a thing that is impossible to be enjoyed, because its fruits and usages are transmitted to us by parts and by succession. He that hath all the world (if we can suppose such a man) cannot have a dish of fresh summer fruits in the midst of winter, not so much as a green fig; and very much of its possessions is so hid, so fugacious, and of so uncertain purchase, that it is like the riches of the sea to the lord of the shore; all the fish and wealth within all its hollownesses are his, but he is never the better for what he cannot get; all the shell-fishes that produce pearls, produce them not for him; and the bowels of the earth hide their treasures in undiscovered retirements; so that it will signify as much to this great proprietor, to be entitled to an inheritance in the upper region of the air: he is so far from possessing all its riches, that he does not so much as know of them, nor understand the philosophy of its minerals.
I consider that he who is the greatest possessor in the world, enjoys its best and most noble parts, and those which are of most excellent perfection, but in common with the inferior persons, and the most despicable of his kingdom. Can the greatest prince enclose the sun, and set one little star in his cabinet for his own use, or secure to himself the gentle and benign influence of any one constellation ? Are not his subjects' fields bedewed with the same showers that water his gardens of pleasure ?
Nay, those things which he esteems his ornament and the singularity of his possessions, are they not of more use to others than to himself ? For suppose his garments splendid and shining, like the robe of a cherub, or the clothing of the fields-all that he that wears them enjoys, is that they keep him warm, and clean, and modest: and all this is done by clean and less pompous vestments; and the beauty of them, which distinguishes him from others, is made to please the eyes of the beholders : the fairest face or the sparkling eye cannot perceive or enjoy its own beauties, but by reflection. It is I that am pleased with beholding his gaiety; and the gay man, in his greatest bravery, is only pleased because I am
pleased with the sight: so borrowing his little and imaginary complacency from the delight that I have, not from any inherency in his own possession.
The poorest artisan of Rome, walking in Cæsar's gardens, had the same pleasures which they ministered to their lord; and although, it may be, he was put to gather fruits to eat from another place, yet his other senses were delighted equally with Cæsar's : the birds made him as good music, the flowers gave him as sweet smells; he there sucked as good air, and delighted in the beauty and order of the place, for the same reason and upon the same perception as the prince himself; save only that Cæsar paid, for all that pleasure, vast sums of money, the blood and treasure of a province, which the poor man had for nothing.
And so it is if the whole world should be given to any man. He knows not what to do with it; he can use no more but according to the capacities of a man; he can use nothing but meat, and drink, and clothes. He to whom the world can be given to any purpose greater than a private estate can minister must have new capacities created in him; he needs the understanding of an angel to take the accounts of his estate; he had need have a stomach like fire or the grave, for else he can eat no more than one of his healthful subjects; and unless he hath an eye like the sun, and a motion like that of a thought, and a bulk as big as one of the orbs of heaven,—the pleasures of his eye can be no greater than to behold the beauty of a little prospect from a hill, or to look upon a heap of gold packed up in a little room, or to dote upon a cabinet of jewels, better than which, there is no man that sees at all, but sees every day. For, not to name the beauties and sparkling diamonds of heaven, a man's, or a woman's, or a hawk's eye, is more beauteous and excellent than all the jewels of his crown. Understanding and knowledge are the greatest instruments of pleasure ; and he that is most knowing hath a capacity to become happy, which a less knowing prince, or a rich person, hath not; and in this only a man's capacity is capable of enlargement. But then, although they only have power to relish any pleasure rightly who rightly understand the nature, and degrees, and essences, and ends of things: yet they that do so, understand also the vanity and unsatisfyingness of the things of this world: so that the relish, which could not be great but in a great understanding, appears contemptible, because its vanity appears at the same time: the understanding sees all, and sees through it.
17.-ON THE FATE OF ROBERT BURNS.
[See page 38.] CONTEMPLATING the sad end of Burns-how he sank unaided by any real help, uncheered by any wise sympathy,-generous minds have sometimes figured to themselves, with a reproachful sorrow, that On the Fate of Robert Burns.
much might have been done for him; that, by counsel, true affection, and friendly ministrations, he might have been saved to himself and the world. But it seems dubious whether the richest, wisest, most benevolent individual could have lent Burns any effectual help.
Counsel, which seldom profits any one,-he did not need. In his understanding, he knew the right from the wrong, as well perhaps as any man ever did; but the persuasion which would have availed him, lies not so much in the head as in the heart, where no argument or expostulation could have assisted much to implant it.
As to money, we do not believe that this was his essential want; or well see that any private man could have bestowed on him an independent fortune, with much prospect of decisive advantage. It is a mortifying truth, that two men, in any rank of society, can hardly be found virtuous enough to give money, and to take it as a necessary gift, without an injury to the moral entireness of one or both. But so stands the fact: Friendship, in the old heroic sense of the term, no longer exists ; it is in reality no longer expected, or recognised as a virtue among men. A close observer of manners has pronounced “patronage, -that is, pecuniary or economic furtherance,-to be "twice cursed;" cursing him that gives, and him that takes! And thus, in regard to outward matters, it has become the rule, as, in regard to inward, it always was and must be the rule, that no one shall look for effectual help to another; but that each shall rest contented with what help he can afford himself. Such is the principle of modern Honour; naturally enough growing out of the sentiment of Pride, which we inculcate and encourage as the basis of our whole social morality.
We have already stated our doubts whether direct pecuniary help, had it been offered, would have been accepted, or could have proved very effectual. We shall readily admit, however, that much was to be done for Burns; that many a poisoned arrow might have been warded from his bosom; many an entanglement in his path cut asunder by the hand of the powerful; light and heat, shed on him from high places, would have made his humble atmosphere more genial; and the softest heart then breathing, might have lived and died with fewer pangs. Still we do not think that the blame of Burns's failure lies chiefly with the world. The world, it seems to us, treated him with more, rather than with less kindness than it usually shows to such men. It has ever, we fear, shown but small favour to its teachers : hunger and nakedness, perils and reviling, the prison, the poison-chalice, the Cross, have, in most times and countries, been the market-price it has offered for wisdom—the welcome with which it has treated those who have come to enlighten and purify it. Homer and Socrates, and the Christian Apostles, belong to old days; but the world's martyrology was not completed with these. Roger Bacon and Galileo languish in priestly dungeons ; Tasso pines in the cell of a mad-house ; Camoens dies begging on the streets of Lisbon. So neglected, so “persecuted they the Prophets,” not in Judea only, but in all places where men have
been. We reckon that every poet of Burns's order is, or should be a Prophet and Teacher to his age; that he has no right to expect kindness, but rather is bound to do it; that Burns, in particular, experienced fully the usual proportion of goodness; and that the blame of his failure, as we have said, lies not chiefly with the world.
Where then does it lie? We are forced to answer, WITH HIMSELF: it is his inward, not his outward misfortunes, that bring him to the dust. Seldom, indeed, is it otherwise; seldom is a life morally wrecked, but the grand cause lies in some internal mal-arrangement, -some want less of good fortune than of good guidance. Nature fashions no creature without implanting in it the strength needful for its action and duration ; least of all does she neglect her masterpiece and darling, the poetic soul! Neither can we believe that it is in the power of any external circumstances, utterly to ruin the mind of a man; nay-if proper wisdom be given him,-even so much as to affect its essential health and beauty. The sternest sum-total of all worldly misfortunes is Death ; nothing more can can lie in the cup of human woe: yet many men, in all ages, have triumphed over death and led it captive; converting its physical victory into a moral victory for themselves-into a seal and immortal consecration for all that their past life had achieved. What has been done may be done again; nay, it is but the degree, and not the kind, of such heroism, that differs in different seasons : for, without some portion of this spirit, not of boisterous daring, but of silent fearlessnessof SELF-DENIAL in all its forms, no great man, in any scene or time, has ever attained to be good.
DR. CHANNING. [The Rev. William Ellery Channing, D.D., was born at Newport, Rhode Islan, U.S., in 1780. His grandfather was one of those who signed the Declaration of Independence. He was educated at Harvard College and intended for the medical profession, but he abandoned the idea to prepare himself for the Unitarian ministry. His great eloquence soun rendered him one of the most conspicuous men in America ; even those who were most opposed to his doctrine admitted the force of his genius and the finished elegance of his oratory. To his great honour, during a long period when to denounce slavery in America was to court unpopularity, Channing was persistent in his opposition to the .pernicious system. He died Oct. 2nd, 1842.] POETRY! we believe that poetry, far from injuring society, is one of the great instruments of its refinement and exaltation. It lifts the mind above ordinary life, gives it a respite from depressing cares, and awakens the consciousness of its affinity with what is pure and noble. In its legitimate and highest efforts, it has the same tendency and aim with Christianity; that is, to spiritualize our nature. True, poetry has been made the instrument of vice, the pander of bad passions; but when genius thus stoops, it dims its fires, and parts with much of its power; and even when poetry is enslaved to
licentiousness or misanthropy, she cannot wholly forget her true vocation. Strains of pure feeling, touches of tenderness, images of innocent happiness, sympathies with suffering virtue, bursts of scorn or indignation at the hollowness of the world, passages true to our moral nature, often escape in an immoral work, and show us how hard it is for a gifted spirit to divorce itself wholly from what is good. Poetry has a natural alliance with our best affections. It delights in the beauty and sublimity of the outward creation and of the soul. It indeed portrays, with terrible energy, the excesses of the passions; but they are passions which show a mighty nature, which are full of power, which command awe, and excite a deep though shuddering sympathy. Its great tendency and purpose is, to carry the mind above and beyond the beaten, dusty, weary walks of ordinary life; to lift it into a purer element; and to breathe into it more profound and generous emotion. It reveals to us the loveliness of nature; brings back the freshness of early feeling; revives the relish of simple pleasures; keeps unquenched the enthusiasm which warmed the spring-time of our being; refines youthful love; strengthens our interest in human nature by vivid delineations of its tenderest and loftiest feelings; spreads our sympathies over all classes of society; knits us by new ties with universal being; and through the brightness of its prophetic visions, helps faith to lay hold on the future life. We are aware that it is objected to poetry, that it gives wrong views and excites false expectations of life, peoples the mind with shadows and illusions, and builds up imagination on the ruins of wisdom. That there is a wisdom, against which poetry wars, the wisdom of the senses, which makes physical comfort and gratification the supreme good, and wealth the chief interest of life, we do not deny; nor do we deem it the least service which poetry renders to mankind, that it redeems them from the thraldom of this earth-born prudence. But passing over this topic, we would observe, that the complaint against poetry, as abounding in illusion and deception, is in the main groundless. In many poems there is more of truth than in many histories and philosophic theories. The fictions of genius are often the vehicles of the sublimest verities, and its flashes often open new regions of thought, and throw new light on the mysteries of our being. In poetry when the letter is falsehood, the spirit is often profoundest wisdom. And if truth thus dwells in the boldest fictions of the poet, much more may it be expected in his delineations of life; for the present life, which is the first stage of the immortal mind, abounds in the materials of poetry, and it is the high office of the bard to detect this divine element among
and pleasures of our earthly being. The present life is not only prosaic, precise, tame, and finite. To the gifted eye it abounds in the poetic. The affections which spread beyondourselves and stretch far into futurity; the workings of mighty passions, which seem to arm the soul with an almost superhuman energy; the innocence and irrepressible joy of infancy; the bloom, and buoyancy, and dazzling hopes of youth; the throbbings of the heart, when it first wakes to love, and dreams of a
th grosser labou