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the medium instrument and expression of life, then this perplexity is at an end, and every thing becomes clear. We have no difficulty in conceiving, that between two living and mutually operating spiritual natures, there may exist a third nature apparently inanimate, to serve as the bond of connexion and mutual operation, to be their word and language, or to serve as the separation and wall of partition between them. We are familiar with such an idea, from our own experience, because we cannot have any intercourse of thought with our brother men, or even analyse our thoughts, except through the operation of exactly similar means. The simple conviction, however, that the sensible world is merely the habitation of the intellectual, and a medium of separation as well as connexion between intellectual natures, had been lost along with the knowledge and idea of the world of intellect, and the animating impression of its existence. The philosophy of the censes stumbled, in this way, at the very threshold, and proceeded to become more and more perplexed in every step of its progress. Berkeley believed that the external world has no real existence, and that our notions and impressions of it are directly communicated to us by the Deity. From the same doubts Hume fell into a totally different system, the sceptical,—* philosophy which humbles itself before its doubts, and denies the possibility of attaining knowledge. This man, by the penetrating and convulsive influence of his scepticism, determined the future condition of English philosophy. Since his time nothing more has been attempted than to erect all sorts of bulwarks against the practical influence of this destructive scepticism: and to maintain, by various substitutes and aids, the pile of moral principle uncorrupted and entire. Not only with Adam Smith, but with all their later philosophers, national welfare is the ruling and central principle of thought,—a principle excellent and praiseworthy in its due situation, but quite unfitted for being the centre and oracle of all knowledge and science. The two great substitutes to which I allude are neither scientifically nor practically of a durable and effective nature. Common sense is poor when compared with certain knowledge,—and moral feeling is a very inadequate foundation for a proper system of ethics. Were the common sense of man even as sound and universal as these English reasoners maintain, if we should take its conclusions for the last, and subject them to no higher view, we should find it more likely to cut than to unloose the knot of the great questions in philosophy. The innate curiosity of man is not to be so satisfied, but, however frequently we may put it off', returns to the charge with undiminished pertinacity. Moral feeling and sympathy are things too frail and uncertain for • rule of moral action. We must have, in
addition to these, an eternal law of rectitude, derived not from experience and feeling, but from reason or from God. A firm and unshaken faith is indispensible for our welfare. But the faith which the English philosophers have established upon the dictates of common sense and moral feeling, is like the props upon which it leans, uncertain and unworthy of our confidence. It is not worthy of the name of faith; the name applied to the impression made upon us by reason and external experience, and, with equal propriety, to the impressions we receive in a totally different way from the internal voice of conscience and the revelations of a superior nature. That which is called faith among these men, is nothing more than the weak and self-doubting faith of necessity,—a tiling as incapable of standing the test of time, as the frail faith of custom is to resist the arguments of unprincipled sophistry. This nation is powerful and free in its whole being and life. Even in poetry, it regards the profound and internal rather than the outward and ornamental,— but by means of its own errors it is cramped and confined in its philosophy. In regard to this mighty department of human intellect and exertion, the English of later times are neither original nor great; they even appear to be fundamentally inferior to some of the best writers among the French. If a few authors in England have pursued an intellectual path of their own, quite different from the common one, they have exerted no powerful, or at least no extensive, influence over their fellow-countrymen. The attempts with which I myself am acquainted do not indeed display genius such as might entitle them to much consideration.
"We may compare the mode of philosophical thought in England to a man who bears every external mark of health and rigour, but who is by nature prone to a dangerous distemper. He has repressed the first eruptions of the disease by means of palliatives, but the evil has on that very account had the more leisure to entwine itself with the roots of his constitution. The disease of philosophical error and unbelief can never be got the better of, unless by a thorough and radical cure, I think, for this reason, that it is extremely probable, ndy, that it is almost certain, England has yet to undergo a mighty crisis in her philosophy, and, of necessity, in her morality and her religion.
"If we regard not so much the immediate practical consequences, but rather the internal progress of intellect itself, we shall be almost compelled to think error is less dangerous when open and complete, than when half-formed and disguised. In the midst of moderate errors our self-love keeps us ignorant of our danger. But when error has reached its height, it is the nature of the human mind to promote a re-action, and to rise with new strength and power out of the abyss into which at last it perceives itself to have fallen."
Upon the whole, we consider this work as by far the most rational and profound view of the history of literature which has yet been presented to Europe; and when we compare it with the ideas concerning the same subject which are commonly circulated in this country, it is easy to perceive that another nation has got the start of us in point of reflection, and is also much wiser in point of feeling' The considerations in which it abounds are of a kind which have been too much overlooked in this country. Our philosophy, if we be not greatly mistaken, has much need of such a supplement as the present.
However noble and elevating the great scope of Schlegel's lucubrations may be, yet, when we compare them with the present state of literature in this country, the feeling with which we close the volumes is very far from being a happy one. It is a melancholy fact, that a single generation of abstract reasoners is enough to vitiate the pedigree of national sentiment and association; and although the ancient literature and history remain, they cannot resume their influence so extensively as before. Perhaps, in England, nothing has contributed so much as the host of periodical publications to obliterate sentiment, and substitute metaphysical restlessness in its place. Our journals, with their eternal disquisitions, have been operating with slow but sure effect in mouldering down all large aggregates of association, which could form centres of gravity of sufficient power to control and regulate the orbits of our feelings. For a long while not many ideas have reached the people except through their medium. But these journals are like sieves, that require every substance to be granulated before it can pass through them.
SAMUEL JOHNSON AND DAVID HUME.
These two remarkable individuals, although contemporaries, never came personally in contact. Dr Johnson was looked upon by his friends as the colloquial champion of England; and probably the exultation which they felt in seeing him thrash every oppoVol. III.
nent, could have received little addition, except from betting. If they had met, David Hume would probably have declined the contest. There is something extremely ludicrous in this headlong pugnacity, when manifested by an individual who is supposed to make reflection his business; and Dr Johnson seems to have been the only modern philosopher whose propensities were likely to have revived those scenes described by Lucian, in his Banquet and other pieces. This was not altogether owing to bigotry. His character seems to have been originally endowed with an overplus of the noble spirit of resistance; so that even had his temperament been less morbidly irritable, and his prejudices less inveterate, he would still have betrayed on inclination to push against the movements of other minds. Upon the whole, it is probable that the cultivation of his conversational powers was not favourable to his powers of composition, because it habituated him to seek less after truth in its substantive form than truth corrective of error, and to throw his thoughts into such a form as could be most conveniently used in argument. Although gifted with great powers, both of observation and reflection, he passed his life in too great a ferment ever to make any regular philosophical use of them. He was full of those stormy and untoward energies peculiar to the English character, and would have required something to wreak himself upon, before he sat down to reflect.
This English restiveness and untowardncss, with which the Doctor was somewhat too much impregnated, makes a ridiculous figure in literature, but constitutes a very important element when introduced into active life. It is in a great measure a blind element; but in the political dissensions of a free country, it is a far safer one than the scheming and mischievous propensities of personal vanity and ambition. It is a quality which rather inclines sturdily to keep its own place, than to join in a scramble.
David Hume's temperament was well calculated for a philosopher of the Aristotelian class; that is to say, one who founds his reasonings upon experience, and upon the knowledge gathered by the senses. His whole constitution seems to have been uncommonly sedate and tranquil, and no 3T
part of it much alive or awake, but his understanding. Most of the errors of his philosophy, perhaps, arose from his overlooking elements of human nature which were torpid within himself, and which could not be learnt by the mere external observer of mankind. He knew more of the virtues in their practical results, than he knew of them as sentiments; and his theory of utility resembles that explanation of musical concords which modern physics have enabled us to draw from the vibrations of the atmosphere, but which is merely an external supplement to the musical faculty within us, which judges of the harmony of sounds by totally different means.
The coldness of David Hume's character enabled him to shake off all vulgar peculiarities of thought and feeling, and to ascend into the regions of pure and classical intellect. No English writer delivers his remarks with so much grace. The taste which he followed in his compositions was founded upon the most generalized principles, and the most extended considerations of propriety; and the consequence is, that they possess a beauty which, whatever may be the fluctuations of human opinion, will never decay. He was utterly beyond the contagion of contemporary notions, and seems to have habituated himself to write as addressing a remote posterity, in whose eyes the notions which during his time had stirred and impelled the world, would perhaps be considered as the mere infatuations of ignorance and barbarism. The worthy David is entitled to less credit for those passages where he seems impressed with a belief that his own writings might continue to be perused at some future era, when Christianity would only be remembered as an exploded superstition. However, there was perhaps more scepticism than vanity in this. His writings are elaborately perspicuous. He thought he saw the foundations of all human opinions sliding so fast, that he was determined to give his own works as fair a chance as possible of being understood, if they survived the wreck.
David Hume had too little personal character about him, to bear the marks of any particular nation. The sedate self-possession for which he was remarkable, has sometimes, however, been ascribed to Scotsmen in general,
and his countrymen have always been notorious for dialectical propensities. It is remarkable, that no particular intellectual faculty has ever been set down as predominating in the English composition. Her great men have excelled in every different way, both ia isolated faculties and in the aggregation of them. Englishmen have long been the first, both in delighting and instructing the nations; but owing to constitutional causes, they have also, like Dr Johnson, been the most miserable of mankind. Dr Johnson thought that all foreigners were comparatively fools.
If we compare the lives of Hume and Johnson, we find Hume spending his years in a manner well enough suited for the cultivation of his metaphysical powers, but too secluded, and too much at ease, to make him practically acquainted with human passions. In all his writings, Hume appears as a philosophical spectator, capable of estimating the wisdom or folly of men's conduct in relation to external circumstances, and of prognosticating its result; but not very capable of entering sympathetically into their feelings, or of strongly conceiving the impulses by which they are guided. Johnson had better opportunities of observation, of which we see the products in his writings; and he might have observed still better, had his attention not been so often engrossed by the fermentation of absurd prejudices in his own mind. He was generally more anxious to know whether a man was a Whig in politics, or a High-churchman, or a Dissenter, than to understand the mechanism which had been implanted in the individual by nature.
Johnson, during his lifetime, enjoyed more fame than Hume, and more personal authority in the world of letters. His growling was heard all over Parnassus. The influence he had on English literature consisted, not in disseminating any new system of opinions, but in teaching his countrymen how to reason luminously and concisely, and in making the taste for reflection more popular than it was before.
Johnson had certainly more of what is commonly called genius than Hume. Possessing a stronger imagination and warmer feelings, it would have been less difficult for him than for the sceptic to have mounted into the regions of poetry; as may be seen in his tale of Anningait and Nut, and some other pieces. Hume is said to have composed verses in his youth, which would probably be written in imitation of the coldest and most artificial models. Although Johnson had imagination, there was no native grace or ) elegance in his mind, to guide him in forming poetical combinations; and i perhaps there is not in any English 'book a more clumsy and ungainly v conception than that of the Happy ) Valley in Rasselas. Any thing that 'Hume had, beyond pure intellect, seems to have been a turn for pleaan try, which his strict taste prevented / him from ever obtruding gratuitously
upon the reader. V During the time when these men flourished, it may be safely averred, 'that the influence of intellect was ( completely predominant over that of \ genius in this country. No great poet arose, who produced moral impressions fit to be weighed against the speculative calculations to which the times were giving birth.
ME NIL S EDITION OF ANTARA.
Of the seven celebrated Arabic poems known by the name of Al-Moallakat, that is, the suspended (on the walls of the temple at Mecca), the fourth is that now edited by the two eminent orientalists named in the title-page. It is now two years since M. Menil first published a valuable introduction to the poem of Antara, in a " Dusertatio Philologica de Antara ejusq. poemate Arabico:" this is reprinted with the present work, without apparently any alteration, under the name of Prolegomena. The name, age, and condition of the poet, are here inquired into with much minuteness; as well as the design, plan, and contents, and metre, of the poem itself. Many excellent observations are subjoined concerning MSS., scholiasts, and various editions of the Moallakat. Reiske supposed Antara to have been a con
* Antara; Poema Arabicum Moallakah cum integris Zouzenii Scholiis. E codice Manuscripto edidit, in Lat. serin, transtulit, ct lectionis varietatem addidit Vincenliut ERas Menil. Observat. ad tot. poema subjunxit Joanne) Wiltmet. Lugd. Bat Lucht
temporary of Mahomet, but Menil places him in the beginning of the sixth century, coinciding pretty nearly, as our readers will remark, with the opinions of Sir William Jones and De Sacy. Of the condition of the poet, little is known with accuracy. It appears, however, to be quite certain, that he was no other than that same Antara, the celebrated knighterrant of Arabia, the memory of whose adventures were long preserved in the popular legends of his country, and which formed the subject of the great Arabic romance which goes by his name." Many of these very adventures are indeed alluded to by the poet himself in his own great poem, which was honoured with the prize at Mecca.
In the Anecdota taken from Tcbrizi, and two other scholiasts, (S. 10. 11.)
Reiske translated the words, Lw
"Nil animum inspirat, nil tarn instigat ad egregia facinora, quam mulgere camelos et stringere ubera." Menil preserves the same ironic sense;
but instead of y*"*36^ he reads the second person tf*^* "Profecto nullo raodo ad irruendum incitas nisi (per opera servilia), quod debeam nunc mulgere rami Ins, nunc earum papHlas, ne lactent, nodo colligare." The acceptation in which both of these translations receive the word M**3"^ is quite indefensible, and the changing of the person in that of Menil is quite useless.
There can be no doubt that (itm,'3cv. should be taken as the fourth conjugation in the sense, bene tractare novit; so that the meaning should run, —A slave knows nothing about seizing an enemy; his only skill is to milk camels, &c.
The manuscript of the seven Moallakat, from which Mr Menil has edited the poem of Antara, was brought from the east by the late Scheid, and is now in the possession of Professor Willmet. Its date is the year of the Hegira 545, or of our era 1150:
* Of this most singular work some specimens have lately been inserted by Hanmer in his learned Fundgruben dct Orient*. See 4th volume, 3d part
It surpasses, not only in antiquity, but in accuracy and in completeness, all copies previously known to the scholars of Europe. Even the scholia have the vocal and diacritical marks. The author of these scholia, Zuzeni, of whom, personally, nothing is known, explains first of all every rare or difficult word by itself, and then a paraphrase of the whole verse is its contrexion. It might have been wished that Mr Menil had followed more closely the example of the MS. in giving each scholium immediately after the verse to which it belongs. The order of the MS. is indeed entirely neglected. The text is first printed by itself: then follows the Latin version; then the variae lectiones, from two MSS. preserved in the library at Leyden, and from the text of Jones (which is printed in Roman characters); then come the Arabic scholia; and last of all we have the commentaria of M. Willmet The accuracy with which the Arabic text, both of the poem and its scholia, is printed, deserves every praise: the writer of this may be allowed to say so, for he has compared it throughout with a very fine transcript of the Parisian Codex. In general the version is sufficiently close; but there occur several little mistakes, occasioned, we suspect, by hurry, and an inattention to the minutes of the pointing. The translation's chief fault is, that it is by far too frequently paraphrastic. Of this the very first verse furnishes an instance.
Jones translated this with the scholiast, " Have the bards who preceded me left any theme unsung?" and added to it, by way of connecting it with the second hemistich, " What, therefore, shall be my subject? Love only must supply my lay." The unsufferable harshness of this rendering is obvious; and the sense becomes much
more easy if p u/^° be translated mint, in which meaning fo/ •*" curs in Abulfeda's Annals, III. S. 210, where, in the narrative of a great
earthquake, he says: tf° OXXAj
jfc*fcs jt.ll* *0)11 "Through the
in ward-tumbling buildings there came many men." M. Willmet will not
render the expression this &*£ post longam meditationem. "Indignus enim," says he, " amator mini videtur fuisse poeta, si longa meditatione opus habuisset ad mansionem ainusiie sua; in animum sibi revocandam." But the poet evidently means to say, that the former residence of his mistress is so much changed, that he can scarcely know it again. And so Zuzeni explains the expression by
Lja» &^Jl ^*ipostauamdeiisAubitasset; to say nothing of some strong objections to Willmet's own rendering, post suspicionem.
The fifth verse,
is thus translated by Menil: "Aut (odorem) qualein cxhalat pratum adhuc intactum, quod suis luxuriet lierbis, quod quidein pluvia riget; s«d nullum omnino inlieiat fimetum, noque ullum pecoris dedecoret vestigium." According to this version,
jj-e^' 3^A* is coupled with **4jj l**l but it evidently belongs of right to sue,' and so the scholiast understood it: **<• tf-J j»J A" sUL.
Ijt&j"* quod (pratum) rigat pluvia nullas sordes advehens; that is, a moderate shower, bringing no such overflow as might leave mud upon the herbage. The word y***?