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Fell from his arms abhorred; his passions died,
Proof this, beyond all lingering of doubt,
In 1827 appeared a religious poem, in blank verse, entitled the “ Course of Time," by Robert Pollok. The author was a young licentiate of the Scottish Secession Church. Many, who never looked at a modern poem, were tempted to peruse a work which imbodied their favorite theological tenets, set off with the graces of poetical fancy and description; while to the ordinary readers of imaginative literature, the poem had force and ori
ginality enough to challenge an attentive perusal. The “Course of Time' is written in a style that sometimes imitates the lofty march of Milton, and at other times resembles that of Blair or Young. The object of the poet is to describe the spiritual life and destiny of man. There are many splendid passages and images that are scattered throughout the work, and occasionally passages of great beauty and tenderness.
Cyclopedia of English Literature.
37. The Human Frame.
We cannot consider, but with gratitude, how happy it is that our vital motions are involuntary. We should have enough to do, if we had to keep our hearts beating and our stomachs at work. Did these things depend, — we will not say upon our effort, — but upon our bidding, our care, or our attention, they would leave us leisure for nothing else.
We must have been continually upon the watch, and continually in fear; nor would this constitution have allowed of sleep.
The skin and covering of animals is that upon which their appearance chiefly depends, and is that part which, perhaps, in all animals, is most decorated and most free from impurities. But were beauty or agreeableness of aspect entirely out of the question, there is another purpose, answered by this integument, and by the collocation of the parts of the body beneath it, which is of still greater importance; that purpose is concealment. .
Were it possible to view, through the skin, the mechanism of our bodies, the sight would frighten us out of our wits. “Durst we make a single movement," asks a lively French writer, “or stir a step from the place we were in, if we saw our blood circulating, the tendons pulling, the lungs blowing, the humors filtrating, and all the incomprehensible assemblage of fibres, tubes, pumps, valves, currents, pivots, which sustain an existence at once so frail and so presumptuous ?”
It has been said that a man cannot lift his hand to his head without finding enough to convince him of the existe ence of a God. And it is well said; for he has only to reflect — familiar as this action is, and simple as it seems to be — how many things are requisite for the performing of it; how many things which we understand, — to say nothing of many more, probably, which we do not, — namely, first, a long, hard, strong cylinder, in order to give the arm its firmness and tension, but which, being rigid, and in its substance inflexible, can only turn upon joints; secondly, therefore, joints for this purpose, one, at the shoulder to raise the arin, another at the elbow to bend it; these joints, continually fed with a soft mucilage, to make the parts slip easily upon one another; and holden together by strong braces, to keep them in their position; then, thirdly, strings and wires, – that is, muscles, and tendons, - artificially in serted, for the purpose of drawing the bones in the direc tions in which the joints allow them to move.
Hitherto, we seem to understand the mechanism pretty well; and, understanding this, we possess enough for our conclusion; nevertheless, we have hitherto only a machine standing still, - a dead organization, - an apparatus. To put the system in a state of activity, to set it at work, a further provision is necessary; namely, a communication with the brain, by means of nerves. We know the existence of this communication, because we can see the communicating threads, and can trace them to the brain : its necessity we also know; because, if the thread be cut, if the communication be intercepted, the muscle becomes paralytic; but, beyond this we know little, the organization, being too minute and subtile for our inspection.
To what has been enumerated, as officiating in the single act of a man's raising his hand to his head, must be added, likewise, all that is necessary, and all that contributes to the growth, nourishment, and sustentation of the limb; the repair of its waste, the preservation of its health ; such as the circulation of the blood through every part of it; its lymphatics, exhalants, absorbents; its excretions and integumenis, All these share in the result — join in the effect; and how all these, or any of them, come together, without a designing, disposing Intelligence, it is impossible to conceive.
38. Description of Auburn. — The Village Preacher
- Alehouse Reflections.
Sweet Auburn ! loveliest village of the plain,
How often have I blessed the coming day,
The dancing pair that simply sought renown,
Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close,
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled, And still where many a garden flower grows wild, There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest mansion rose. A man he was to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year ; Remote from towns he ran his godly race, Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his place Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power, By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour; Far other aims his heart had learned to prize, More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train; He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain. The long-remembered beggar was his guest, Whose beard descending swept his aged breast