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happy or less happy than the average mass of his fellow men : far less could this be argued as to the whole class of poets. What seems really open to proof, is, that men of genius have a larger capacity of happiness, which capacity, both from within and from without, may be defeated in ten thousand ways. This seems involved in the very word genius. For, after all the pretended and hollow attempts to distinguish genius from talent, I shall continue to think (what heretofore I have explained) that no distinction in the case is tenable for a moment but this: viz. that genius is that mode of intellectual power w moves in alliance with the genial nature, i. e. with the capacities of pleasure and pain; whereas talent has no vestige of such an alliance, and is perfectly independent of all human sensibilities. Consequently, genius is a voice or breathing that represents the total nature of man; whilst, on the contrary, talent represents only a single function of that nature. Genius is the language which interprets the synthesis of the human spirit with the human intellect, each acting through the other; whilst talent speaks only from the insulated intellect. And hence also it is that, besides its relation to suffering and enjoyment, genius always implies a deeper relation to virtue and vice: whereas talent has no shadow of a relation to moral qualities, any more than it has to vital sensibilities. A man of the highest talent is often obtuse and below the ordinary standard of men in his feelings; but no man of genius can unyoke himself from the society of moral perceptions that are brighter, and sensibilities that are more tremulous, than those of men in general. As to the examples" by which Mr. Gilfillan
* One of these examples is equivocal, in a way that Mr. Gilfillan is apparently not aware of He cites Tickell, “whose very name " [he says,) “savors of laughter,” as being, “in fact, a very happy fellow.”. In the first place, Tickell would have been likely to “square” at Mr. Gilfillan for that liberty taken with his name; or might even, in Falstaff's language, have tried to “uickle his catastrophe.” It is a ticklish thing to lark with honest men's names. But, secondly, which Tickell ? For there are two at the least in the field of English literature: and if one of them was “ver happy,” the chances are, according to D. Bernoulli and De Moivre, that the other was particularly miserable. The first Tickell, who may be described as Addison's Tickell, never tickled any thing, that I know of, except Addison's vanity. But Tickell the second, who came into working order about fifty years later, was really a very pleasant fellow. In the time of Burke he diverted the whole nation by his poem of “Anticipa
supports his prevailing views, they will be construed by any ten thousand men in ten thousand separate modes. The objections are so endless, that it would be abusing the reader's time to urge them; especially as every man of the ten thousand will be wrong, and will also be right, in all varieties of proportion. Two only it may be useful to notice as examples, involving some degree of error, viz. Addison and Homer. As to the first, the error, if an error, is one of fact only. Lord Byron had said of Addison, that he “died drunk.” This seems to Mr. Gilfillan a “horrible statement;” for which he supposes that no authority can exist but “a rumor circulated by an inveterate gossip,” meaning Horace Walpole. But gossips usually go upon some foundation, broad or narrow ; and, until the rumor had been authentically put down, Mr. Gilfillan should not have pronounced it a “malignant calumny.” Me this story caused to laugh exceedingly; not at Addison, whose fine genius extorts pity and tenderness towards his infirmities; but at the characteristic misanthropy of Lord Byron, who chuckles as he would do over a glass of nectar, on this opportunity for confronting the old solemn legend about Addison's sending for his step-son, Lord Warwick, to witness the peaceful death of a Christian, with so rich a story as this, that he, the said Christian, “died drunk.” Supposing that he did, the mere physical fact of inebriation, in a stage of debility where so small an excess of stimulating liquor (though given medicinally) sometimes causes such an appearance, would not infer the moral blame of drunkenness; and if such a thing were ever said by any person present at the bed-side, I should feel next to certain that it was said in that spirit of exaggeration to which most men are tempted by circumstances unusually fitted to impress a startling picturesqueness upon the statement. But, without insisting on Lord Byron's way of putting the case, I believe it is generally understood that, latterly, Addison gave way to habits of intemperance. He suffered, not only from his wife's dissatisfied temper, but also (and probably much more) from ennui. He did not walk one mile a-day, and he ought to have
tion," in which he anticipated and dramatically rehearsed the course of a whole parliamentary debate, (on the king's speech,) which did not take place till a week or two afterwards. Such a mimicry was easy enough, but that did not prevent its fidelity and characteristic truth from delighting the political world.
walked ten. Dyspepsy was, no doubt, the true ground of his unhappiness: and he had nothing to hope for. To remedy these evils, I have always understood that every day (and especially towards night) he drank too much of that French liquor, which, calling itself water of life, nine times in ten proves the water of death. He lived latterly at Kensington, viz. in Holland House, the well-known residence of the late Lord Holland ; and the tradition attached to the gallery in that house, is, that duly as the sun drew near to setting, on two tables, one at each end of the long ambulachrum, the right honorable Joseph placed, or caused to be placed, two tumblers of brandy, somewhat diluted with water : and those, the said vessels, then and there did alternately to the lips of him, the aforesaid Joseph, diligently apply, walking to and fro during the process of exhaustion, and dividing his attention between the two poles, arctic and antarctic of his evening diaulos, with the impartiality to be expected from a member of the Privy Council. How often the two “blessed bears,” northern and southern, were replenished, entered into no affidavit that ever reached me. But so much I have always understood, that in the gallery of Holland House, the ex-secretary of state caught a decided hiccup, which never afterwards subsided. In all this there would have been little to shock people, had it not been for the sycophancy which ascribed to Addison a religious reputation such as he neither merited nor wished to claim. But one penal reaction of mendacious adulation, for him who is weak enough to accept it, must ever be, to impose restraints upon his own conduct, which otherwise he would have been free to decline. How lightly would Sir Roger de Coverley have thought of a little sotting in any gentleman of right politics' And Addison would not, in that age, and as to that point, have carried his scrupulosity higher than his own Sir Roger. But such knaves as he who had complimented Addison with the praise of having written “no line which, dying, he could wish to blot,” whereas, in fact, Addison started in life by publishing a translation of Petronius Arbiter, had painfully coerced his free agency. This knave, I very much fear, was Tickell the first; and the result of his knavery was, to win for Addison a disagreeable sanctimonious reputation that was, 1st, founded in lies; 2d, that painfully limited Addison's free agency; and 3dly, that prepared insults
to his memory, since it pointed a censorious eye upon those things viewed as the acts of a demure pretender to piety, which would else have passed without notice as the most venial of frailties in a layman. Something I had to say also upon Homer, who mingles amongst the examples cited by Mr. §. of apparent happiness connected with genius. But, for want of room,” I forbear to go further, than to lodge my protest against imputing to Homer as any personal merit, what belongs altogether to the stage of society in which he lived. * They,” says Mr. Gilfillan, speaking of the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey,” “are the healthiest of works. There are in them no sullenness, no querulous complaint, not one personal allusion.” No; but how could there have been 2 Subjective poetry had not an existence in those days. Not only the powers for introverting the eye upon the spectator, as himself, the spectaculum, were then undeveloped and inconceivable, but the sympathies did not exist to which such an innovation could have appealed. Besides, and partly from the same cause, even as objects, the human feelings and affections were too broadly and grossly distinguished, had not reached even the infancy of that stage in which the passions begin their processes of intermodification, nor could have reached it, from the simplicity of social life, as well as from the barbarism of the Greek religion. The author of the “Iliad,” or even of the “Odyssey,” (though doubtless a product of a later period,) could not have been “unhealthy,” or “sullen,” or “querulous,” from any cause, except psora, or elephantiasis, or scarcity of beef, or similar afflictions with which it is quite impossible to inoculate poetry. The metrical romances of the middle ages have the same shivering character of starvation, as to the inner life of man; and, if that constitutes a meritorious distinction, no man ought to be excused for wanting what it is so easy to obtain by simple neglect of culture. On the same principle, a cannibal, if truculently indiscriminate in his horrid diet, might win sentimental praises for his temperance; others were picking and choosing, miserable epicures 1 but he, the saint upon earth, cared not what he ate; any joint satisfied his moderate desires ; shoulder of man, leg of child; any thing, in fact, that was nearest at hand, so long as it was good, wholesome human flesh; and the more plainly dressed the better. But these topics, so various and so fruitful, I touch only because they are introduced, amongst many others, by Mr. Gilfillan. Separately viewed, some of these would be more attractive than any merely personal interest connected with Keats. His biography, stripped of its false coloring, offers little to win attention ; for he was not the victim of any systematic malignity, as has been represented. He met, as I have understood, with unusual kindness from his liberal publishers, Messrs. Taylor and Hessey. He met with unusual severity from a cynical reviewer, the late Mr. Gifford, then editor of The Quarterly Review. The story ran, that this article of Mr. G.'s had killed Keats; upon which, with natural astonishment, Lord Byron thus commented, in the 11th canto of Don Juan :—
* For the same reasons, I refrain from noticing the pretensions of Savage. Mr. Gilfillan gives us to understand, that not from want of room, but of time, he does not (which else he could) prove him to be the man he pretended to be. For my own part, I believe Savage to have been the vilest of swindlers; and in these days, under the surveillance of an active police, he would have lost the chance which he earned of being hanged, by having previously been transported to the Plantations. How can Mr. Gilfillan allow himself in a case of this nature, to speak of “universal impression ” (if it had really existed) as any separate ground of credibility for Savage's tale When the public have no access at all to sound means of judging, what matters it in which direction their “impression ” lies, or how many thousands swell the belief, for which not one of all these thousands has any thing like a reason to offer?
John Keats who was kill'd off by one critique,
Strange, indeed!—and the friends who honor Keats's memory, should not lend themselves to a story so degrading. He died, I believe, of pulmonary consumption; and would have died of it, probably, under any circumstances of prosperity as a poet. Doubtless, in a condition of languishing decay, slight causes of irritation act pow: erfully. ... But it is hardly conceivable that one ebullition of splenetic bad feeling, in a case so proverbially open to revision as the pretensions of a poet, could have overthrown any masculine life, unless where that life had already been irrecoverably un
dermined by sickness. As a man, and viewed in relation to social objects, Keats was nothing. It was as mere an affectation when he talked with apparent zeal of liberty, or human rights, or human prospects, as is the hollow enthusiasm which many people profess for music, or most poets for external nature. For these things Keats fancied that he cared; but in reality he cared not at all. Upon them, or any of their aspects, he had thought too little, and too indeterminately, to feel for them as personal concerns. Whereas Shelley, from his earliest days, was mastered and shaken by the great moving realities of life, as a prophet is by the burden of wrath or of promise which he has been commissioned to reveal. Had there been no such thin as literature, Keats would have ...; into a cipher. Shelley, in the same event, would hardly have lost one pluine from his crest. It is in relation to literature, and to the boundless questions as to the true and the false arising out of literature and poetry, that Keats challenges a fluctuating interest; sometimes an interest of strong disgust, sometimes of deep admiration. There is not, I believe, a case on record throughout European literature, where feelings so repulsive of each other have centred in the same individual. The very midsummer madness of affectation, of false vapory sentiment, and of fantastic effeminacy, seemed to me combined in Keats's Endymion, when I first saw it near the close of 1821. The Italian poet Marino had been reputed the greatest master of gossamery affectation in Europe. But his conceits showed the palest of rosy blushes by the side of Keats's bloody crimson. Naturally, I was discouraged from looking further. But about a week later, by pure accident, my eye fell upon his Hyperion. The first feeling was that of incredulity that the two poems could, under change of circumstances or lapse of time, have emanated from the same mind. The Endymion displays absolutely the most shocking revolt against good sense and just feeling that all literature does now, or ever can, furnish. The Hyperion, as Mr. Gilfillan truly says, “is the greatest of poetical torsos.” The first belongs essentially to the vilest collection of wax-work filigree, or gilt gingerbread. The other presents the majesty, the austere beauty, and the simplicity of Grecian temples enriched with Grecian sculpture. We have in this country a word, viz. the word Folly, which has a technical appropriation to the case of fantastic buildings. Any building is called “a folly,” which mimics purposes incapable of being realized, and makes a promise to the eye which it cannot keep to the experience. The most impressive illustration of this idea, which modern times have seen, was, undoubtedly, the ice palace of the Empress Elizabeth—f all the science of Europe could...not have secured a passport into June, had contained six thousand separate rooms A “folly” on so gigantic a scale would have moved every man to indignation. For all that could be had, the beauty to the eye, and the gratification to the fancy, in seeing water tortured into every form of solidity, resulted from two or three suites of rooms, as fully as from a thousand. Now, such a folly, as would have been the Czarina's, if executed upon the scale of Versailles, or of the new palace at St. Petersburg, was the Endymion: a gigantic edifice (for its tortuous enigmas of thought multiplied every line of the four thousand into fifty) reared upon a basis slighter and less apprehensible than moonshine. As reasonably and as hopefully in regard to human sympathies, might a man undertake an epic poem upon the loves of two butterflies. The modes of existence in the two parties to the love-fable of Endymion, their relations to each other and to us, their prospects finally, and the obstacles to the instant realization of these prospects, all these things are more vague and incomprehensible than the reveries of an oyster. Still the unhappy subject, and its unhappy expansion, must be laid to the account of childish years and childish inexperience. But there is another fault in Keats, of the first magnitude, which youth does not palliate, which youth even aggravates. This lies in the most shocking abuse of his mother-tongue. If there is one thing in this world that, next after the flag of his country and its spotless honor, should be holy in the eyes of a young poet, it is the Manguage of his country. He should spend the third part of his life in studying this language, and cultivating its total resources. He should be willing to pluck out his right eye, or to circumnavigate the globe, if by such a sacrifice, if by such an exertion he could attain to greater purity, precision, compass, or idiomatic energy of diction. This, if he were even a Kalmuck Tartar, who by the way has the good feeling and patriotism to pride himself upon his beastly language." But Keats was an Englishman;
208 Notes on Gilfill AN’s “Gallery of LITERARY PortRAITs.”
“That most magnificent and mighty freak,”
which, about eighty years ago, was called up from the depths of winter by
“The imperial mistress of the fur-clad Russ.”
Winter and the Czarina were, in this architecture, fellow-laborers. She, by her servants, furnished the blocks of ice, hewed them, laid them : winter furnished the cement, by freezing them together. The palace has long melted back into water; and the poet who described it best, viz. Cowper, is not much read in this age, except by the
* “A folly.” We English limit the application of the term to buildings: but the idea might as fitly be illustrated in other objects. For instance, the famous galley presented to one of the Ptole. Inies, which offered the luxurious accommodations of capital cities, but required a little army of four thousand men to row it, whilst its draft of water was too great to allow of its often approaching the shore ; this was “a folly" in oor English sense. ... So again was the Macedonian phaianx: the Roman legion could form upon any ground ; it was a true working tool. But the phalanx was too fine and showy for use. It required for its manoeuvring a sort of opera stage, or a select bowling-green, such as few fields of battle offered.
t I had written “the Empress Catherine :” but, on second thought, it occurred to me that the “mighty freak was, in fact, due to the Empress Elizabeth. There is, however, a freak connected with ice, not quite so “mighty,” but quite as autocratic, and even more feminine i its caprice, which belongs exclusively to the Empress Catherine. A lady had engaged the affections of some young nobleman, who was regarded favorably by the imperial eye. No pretext offered itself for interdicting the marriage; but, by way of freezing it a little in the outset, the Czarina coupled with her permission this condition—that the wedding night should be passed by the young couple on a matress of her gift. The matress turned out to be a block of ice, elegantly cut by the court upholsterer, into the likeness of a well-stuff. ed Parisian matress. One pities the poor bride, whilst it is difficult to avoid laughing in the midst of one's sympathy. But it is to be hoped that no ukase was issued against spreading seven Turkey carpets by way of under blankets, over this aniable nuptial present. Amongst others who have noticed the story, is Captain Colville Frankland, of the navy.
Keats had the honor to speak the language of Chaucer, Shakspere, Bacon, Milton, Newton. The more awful was the obligation of his allegiance. And yet upon this mother tongue, upon this English language, has Keats trampled as with the hoofs of a buffalo. With its syntax, with its prosody, with its idiom, he has played such fantastic tricks as could enter only into the heart of a barbarian, and for which only the anarchy of Chaos could furnish a forgiving audience. Verily it required the Hyperion to weigh against the deep treason of these unparalleled offences.
From the Foreign Quarterly Review.
STATE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN SPAIN.
Queen Isabella II.'s Speech to the Cortes of 1846.
There is, we believe, a sect in this country which still puts faith in human
perfectibility, and teaches that we have all
of us long been on the high road to angelic completeness. It is just within the limits of possibility that it may be right; Goodwin, if we remember well, had a notion of that sort, and there are sundry gentlemen beyond the Atlantic, encouraged by the high state of morals in Pennsylvania and other repudiating states, who re-echo the sentiments of the perfectionists on this side of the water. If diligently sought for, more than one philosopher of this school might, no doubt, be found also in Spain, where things have been wearing so promising an aspect for the last century or so. The rare merit of the theory of persectibility is, that it is founded on experience.
tional poem, [doubtless equally hideous,) they hold to be the immediate gifts of inspiration: and for this I honor them, as each generation learns both from the lips of their mothers. This great poem, by the way, measures (if I remember) seventeen English miles in length; but the most learned man amongst them, in fact a monster of erudition, never read farther than the eighth mile-stone. What he could repeat by heart was little more than a mile and a half; and, indeed, that was sound too much for the choleric part of his audience. Even the Kalmuck face, which to us foolish Europeans looks so unnecessarily flat and ogrelike, these honest Tartars have ascertained to be the pure classical model of human beauty,+ which, in fact, it is, upon the principle of those people who hold that the chief use of a face is— to frighten one's enemy.