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his knees, he called on God for lity of his literary powers, the submercy; while others of the terri- tilty of his discernment, and the fied party earnestly besought the colouring of his descriptions. magician to give the only remain But as the human mind became ing proof of his art for which they the great object of our inquiry, and now were anxious, by dismissing to detect and separate the shades of the apparition. But, Schrepfer, the passions the great aim of the though apparently willing, found, or biographer, reflecting men perceivpretended to find this effort beyond ed, that the philosopher, like other his power.
However incredible, men, had his distinct characteristics. absurd, or ridiculous it may be And it has now become the labour thought, the persons who witnessed of criticism, to compose the life of the scene, protest that near an hour an author y no writer can now succlapsed, before, by the force of his cessfully accomplish his biographic invocations, the spectre could be attempts, unless he possesses a flexcompelled to disappear. Nay, when ibility of taste, which, like the came. at length Schrepfer had succeeded leon, takes the colour of that object. in dismissing it; at the moment that on which it rests. the company began to resume a Every man, in whatever departo degree of serenity, the door, which ment he moves, has passions, which had been closed, burst open again, will vary even from those who are and the same hidious form presented acting the same part as himself. itself anew to their eyes. The most Our souls, like our faces, bear the resolute and collected among them, general resemblance of the species, were not proof to its second appear- but retain the particular form which ance, and a scene of universal dis- is peculiar to the individual. He may ensued. Shrepfer, however, who studies his own mind, and has by reiterated exorcisms or exer- the industry to note down the fluctions, finally dismissed the appari- tuations of his opinions, the fallacies tion. The terrified spectators soon of his passions, and the vacillations dispersed, overcome with amaze- of his resolutions, will form a jourment, and fully satisfied, as they nal to himself peculiarly interesting, well might be, of Schrepfer's super- and, probably, not undeserving the natural powers.
meditations of others. Nothing
which presents a faithful relation of SOME OBSERVATIONS ON DIARIES, humanity, is inconsiderable to a
SELF-BIOGRAPHY, AND SELF- human being.
There once prevailed the custom The study of Biography is a re of a man's journalising his own life. cent taste in Britain. The art of Many of these journals yet remain writing lives has been but lately in their MS. state, and some, unknown ; and it was, therefore, an fortunately for journal-writing, usual complaint with the meagre have been published. We are not, biographers of the last century, however, to decide on the nature of when their subject was a man of a work by the ineptitude of its perletters, that his life could not be formance. The writers of these deemed very interesting, since he, diaries were not philosophers, for who had only been illustrious in his the age was not philosophic. Too closet, could not be supposed to often they were alchemists, and afford any materials for the histo- sometimes considered themselves as rian. The life of a prime-minister, magicians. Some only registered or the memoirs of a general, as they the minutest events of domestic life. contained the detail of political in- Dates of birth, and settlements of trigues and political opposition ; marriage, may be pardoned to the battles or stratagems; were consi- individual ; but to give the importdered to afford happicr opportuni- ance of history to the progress of a úes for a writer to display the abi- purge, and to return divine thanks
for the cutting of a corn, (and the nated ; detailing our own life, and edited journal of Elias Ashmole con- pourtraying our own character..... tains few other facts,) is giving im- The writing our own life has been portance to objects which can practised with various success ; it only be observable in the history of is a delicate operation; a stroke too any other animal but man. I am much may destroy the effect of the acquainted with a worthy gentle- whole. If once we detect an author man, who, for this half century, is deceiving or deceived, it is a livid performing the same labours. He spot which infects the entire body. can tell where he dined fifty years To publish one's own life has somepast, and accompany the informa- times been a poor artifice to bring tion with no concise critique. When obscurity into notice ; it is the ebrihe takes one of these little volumes ety of vanity, and the delirium of down, he applies to himselfthe obser- egotism. When a great man leaves vation of Martial, and says, he has some memorial of his days, his learnt the art of living life twice death-bcd sanctions the truth, and
The pleasures of memory the grave consecrates the motive. are delicious; its objects must, how. There are certain things which reever, be proportionate to the pow- late to ourselves, which no one can ers of vision, and a meagre or a know so well; a great genius obliges smart dinner, is an object sufficiently posterity when he records them. delightful, or terrible, to give play But they must be composed with to the recordatory organs of this calmness, with simplicity, and with diarist. I have remarked, however, sincerity; the biographic sketch of one thing from his contemptible Hume, written by himself, is a narrative. He resolved to distin- model of attic simplicity. The life guish the happy cincumstances of of lord Herbert is a biographical his life in red ink. In looking over curiosity. The memoirs of Sheffield his diarics, notwithstanding the ob- duke of Buckingham is very intescurity of his situation, and the resting; and those of Colley Cibber humility of his desires, I cannot is a fine picture of the self-painter. find that his pen was often dipt in Wehave some other pieces of self-bithe crimson ink of felicity.
ography precious to the philosopher. An observation may be made on Biography should not be written the diurnal page.
He who can, with eloquence; with Rousseau, without reserve or hesitation, form perhaps, eloquence was only a natusuch a journal, may be safely pro- ral harmony from the voice of truth; nounced an honest man. Could a but it may also be the artificial tones Clivc, or a Cromwell, have com- of deceit. What in Rousseau was posed a diary ? Neither of these nature, may in others be artifice. men could suffer solitude and dark- Self-biographers, like Hume, who ness; at the scattered thoughts of state facts with an attic simplicity, casual reflection they started; what appear to speak unreservedly to the would they have done, had memory reader, and as if they proposed only marshaled their crimes, and arrang- to supply facts, for others to explain ed them in the terrors of chrono- and embellish. logy? These diaries form that other There is another species of minor self, which Shaftesbury has describ- biograghy, which, I am willing to ed every thinking being to possess; believe, could cnly have been inand which, to converse with, he vented by the most refined and the justly accounts the highest wisdom. vainest nation. A literary fashion Wlien Cato wishes that the breast formerly prevailed with French of every man were diaphanous, it authors, to present the public with is only a metaphorical expression theirown character, and this fashion for such a diary.
seems to have passed over to our There are two species of minor country ; Farquhar has drawn his biograply which may be discrini. character in a letter to a lady, and
others of our writers I believe have The description of his intellect, is given us their own miniatures. The the object of our curiosity, and I French long cherished this darling select the most striking traits in his egotism; and there is a collection of own words. “I am as ambitious as these literary portraits in two bulky any person can be; but I would not volumes. The brilliant Flechier, sacrifice my honour to my ambition. and the refined St. Evremond, have I am so sensible to contempt, that I framed and glazed their portraits.' bear a mortal and implacable hatred Every writer then considered his against those who contemn me, and character as necessary as his pre- I know I could never reconcile myface. I confess myseif much de- self with them, but I spare no attenlighted with these self-descriptions tions for those I love; I would give of “persons whom no one knows." them my fortune and my life. I I have formed a considerable col- sometimes lie ; but generally in aflection of these portraits, and have fairs of gallantry, where I voluntariplaced them in my cabinet of curio- ly confirm falsehoods by oaths, withsities, under the title of strong like out reflection, for swearing with me nesses of unknown persons. Their is a habit. I am told that my mind vanity is too prominent to doubt is brilliant, and that I have a certain their accuracy.
manner in turning a thought, which I shall not excite the reader's is quite my own. I am agreeable curiosity, without attempting its in conversation ; though I confess I gratification ; and if he chuses to am often troublesome ; for I mainsee what now passes in the minds of tain paradoxes to display my genius, many obscure writers, whom he which savour too much of scholastic never will know, let him attend to subterfuges. I speak too often and the following character, which may too long ; and as I have some read. not be so singular as it appears. ing, and a copious memory, I am
There was, as a book in my pos- fond of shewing whatever I know. session will testify, a certain verse- My judgment is not so solid, as my maker, of the name of Cantenac, wit is likely. I am often melanchoviho, in 1662, published in the city ly and unliappy; and this sombrous of Paris, the above-mentioned vo- disposition proceeds from my nulume, containing some thousands of merous disappointments in life. My verses, which were, as his country- verse is preferred to my prose; and men express it, de sa facon, after it has been of some use to me, in his own way. He fell so suddenly pleasing the fair sex; poetry is most into the darkest and deepest pit of adapted to persuade women; but oblivion, that not a trace of his otherwise it has been of no service memory would have remained, had to me, and has, I fear, rendered me lie not condescended to give ample unfit for many advantageous occuinformation of every particular re- pations, in which I might have Jative to himself. He has acquainted drudged. The esteem of the fair is with his size, and tells us “ that has, however, charmed away my it is rare to see a man smaller than complaints. This good fortune has himself. I have that in common been obtained by me, at the cost of with all dwaris, that if my head only many cares, and an unsubdued pawere seen, I should be thought a tience; for I am one of those, who, large man." This atoin in creation in affairs of love, will suffer an entire then describes his oval and full face year, to taste the pleasures of one .... his fiery and eloquent eyes.... day.” his vermil lips.... his robust consti This character of Cantenac had tution, and lis effervescent pas. some local features; for an English sions. He appears to have been ! poet would hardly conscle hinuself most petulent, honest, and diminu- with so much gaiety. The Frenchtive beurg.
man's aitachment to the ladies,
seems to be equivalent to the advan- to, I was worthily and usefully, if tageous croin tions he had lost. not brilliantly employed. The boys But as he niiseries of a literary had genius and good temper; they man, wit out conspicuous talents, attached themselves to me, and I are always the samic at Paris, as in taught Greek and Latin con amore. London, there are some parts of I lost not sight, however, of the this character of Cantenac, which more splendid route I had marked appear to describe them with truth. out for myself, and frequently exCantenac was a man of honour; as ercised my unfledged Muse in short warm in his resentment as his gra- poetical fights, more distinguished titude ; but deluded by literary by exuberance than by genius. The vanity, he became a writer in prose Lady Matilda, only daughter of and verse, and while he saw the Lord Ernolf, was, however, please prospects of life closing on him, ed with my attempts, and was no probably considered that the age niggard of her applause. To apwas unjust. A melancholy exam- plause no poet ever yet was calple for certain volatile, and fervent lous:....this is not the place to prove spirits, who, by becoming authors, that he who could be so, would be either submit their felicity to the incapable of being a poet; but to caprices of others, or annihilate the applause from a pair of brilliant obscure comforts of life, and, like black eyes, from a pair of smiling him, having “ been told that their coral lips, from the exquisitely delimind is brilliant, and that they have cate voice of the Lady Matilda, it a certain manner in turning a was still less possible to be insensithought," become writers, and com- ble. plain that they are “ often melan The Lady Matilda was just at choly, owing to their numerous dis- that touching age, when the vivaci. appointments." Happy, however, ty of the child is softened by the if the obscure, yet too sensible wri- delicacy of the woman. Unadulteter, can suffer an entire year, for rated by art, unsophisticated by the enjoyment of a single day! But fashion, this lovely creature, with for this, a man must have been born beauty enough to have ruined half in France.
the sex, had all the native innocence of an infant. Brought up wholly in the country, she thought
not of subordination of rank....an HISTORY OF
idea which the children of Nature PHILIP DELWYNN,
could never adopt! a refinement,
which those best understand, who ( Continued from page 219.)
require the aid of extrinsic merit
to entitle them to the respect they Though far short of my destined love.... Neither Matilda goal, and still further from that ca. thought about the matter : she reer of fame I had promised myself, treated at first with distinction, I was contented to remain where I and afterwards with kindness, the was. My Lord was gracious and man who had saved her father ; affiable, and seemed to remember she chatted with me as with a browith gratitude the service I had ther, and nothing can I recollect so done him. I yielded, therefore, to delightful as her unguarded conhis wishes, and consented to lead his versations. She was indeed secur. two sons forward in the literary ed from any improper attachment paths I had already trodden. I re. to me by a previous engagement flected that while I dedicated my to Lord Villars, a cousin of hers, time and my talents to the advance. sanctioned by the parents on both ment of two human beings towards sides, and confirmed by a mutual that perfection wcought all to aspire preference.
that I was not informed of this ment, of the lowness of her spirits arrangement, reflects no blame on and the paleness of her cheeks; any one: it was, in the first place, and to Matilda I now confided the most generally known throughout, thoughts which these recollections not the family alone, but all their had given birth to. retainers and dependants; and, in One while I was delighted with the next place, Lord Ernolf was se the possibility that the woman who cured by the pledged affections of had treated me with so much kind. his daughter, from any danger to ness, might be my mother ; at anoher, and I was supposed too suffi- ther I felt it an incongruity to supciently warned of the difference of pose that a truth of such imporour ranks, to allow me to raise the tance could, from any motives, have superstructure of Love on so sandy been, in such circumstances, cons a foundation. Be that as it will, the cealed by a parent. Again could I edifice was erected, and I even be- suspect Miss Goldney, whose life lieve a little lurking hope formed a had been a model of purity and vir corner-stone of the foundation. tue, whose sentiments had been no
When I learned of her pre-en- ble and excellent, whose principles gagement, in the simplest manner had been invariably just, and whose imaginable, I own I felt plunged in- name even the lawless tongue of her to an abyss of despair; but I conti. brother had never dared to revile nued for several months imbibing ....could I suspect her of having deeply the delicious poison of a first committed such an impropriety, love, and it is on that intermediate such a crime? Yet, at times, my portion of my life I best love to rest ingenious fancy formed a romance my mental eyes, from the fatigue of by which this might be reconciledo viewing the workings of tyranny, She might have been the victim of and the goadings of malice.
treachery and falsehood : there In one of these conversations, I were men who would impose on woc once let fall the name of Goldney. men by pretended marriages, or Matilda seemed to recognise it as who, having contracted such as familiar, and not as bringing with proved inimical to their future it a pleasing recollection. She views, would boldly disown the asked me if I had ever known any wretched woman whose hardiness body of that name. I replied with in the cause of innocence was less ardour, and the exuberance of my firm than their effrontery in supmind displayed itself alike in my porting falsehood. vehemence against the brother, In all these romances, the Lady and my tender gratitude to the sis- Matilda was my confidant and aster. Matilda confessed that in my sistant. We talked on the subject portrait of Miss Goldney she saw till we doubted not that I should a strong resemblance to the charac- make some great discovery that ter of a lady, whom she remember- would reinstate the injured fame of ed her mother pitying as unfortu- my mother, and restore me to my nate and ill-used; and some strange rights in society. Alas! in these and bewildering ideas crossed my visions of futurity glided away all brain in consequence of what she the real happiness destined ever to further said. She recollected but gild my life ; and I busied myself in little, for her mother had been dead forming chimeras never to be realsome years, but she had sometimes ized, while I suffered the actual fed accompanied her in her visits to licity within my grasp to slip from this Miss Goldney, and the imprese me unobserved and unenjoyed, in sion made on her young and affec- my visionary eagerness after una tionate mind by the kindness of the known events. But man is the lady, had never been effaced. creature of hope and expectation ! Something too, she retained, of Miss The most delightful present is overGoldney's living in absolute retire- looked in anxious graspings after VOL. I....NO. IV.