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complacent feeling substituted in its place. Where this occurs, the absence of social dispositions is keenly felt by all; and in vain do we seek among such persons, for that cheerfulness, good humour, and urbanity, which result from a fondness for society, and the exercise of those qualities from which the chief of its pleasures flow. But when tempers of a more amiable sort than those alluded to, pervade the members of the same family, how pleasing are the effects which they produce! Ever cordial among themselves, the social meal and comfortable fire-side, continually witness the reciprocal satisfaction they impart. When a friend adds to their number by his casual presence, the pleasure which he receives from hospitality, is heightened by that uniform desire to please, which he remarks throughout the family of his host; and instead of being grieved at the sight of frowns, awkwardly attempted to be concealed from his notice, he retires with reluctance, full of pleasing reflections, and charmed by that harmony and good-will, which have diffused around him so benign an influence. By means of a social disposition, therefore, much happiness is spread abroad in society; many agreeable emotions are excited; many friendly attachments formed or strengthened; and even the cause of virtue itself is ultimately promoted: for in proportion to the prevalence of do-mestic habits, will be the general purity of national morals.
Nor is the effect of such a disposition less advantageous in more public associations. Indeed, the fact of such associations being so often formed, furnishes a clear proof of the benefits to be derived from co-operation and union. Because men find that success is less attainable in most pursuits, without some assistance from others, they form societies of various kinds, and for various purposes; some for the improvement of science, others for the cultivation of literature; some for the exercise of benevolence, and others for mere recreation: in all these, and similar cases, experience has shewn, that pleasures and advantages are alike promoted, by the concurrence of many in the prosecution of the same design. The stated or occasional meetings, which are held from time to time by the members of such societies, necessarily bring them acquainted with each other, extend the sphere of a man's rational companions, and frequently give him the opportunity of forming attachments, which may ripen into the firmest and sincerest friendship, and prove of infinite benefit and satisfaction in future life. The chief objects of such associations, as well as the personal happiness of individuals, are equally connected with the exercise of those qualities, which either flow from a social disposition, or enter into its nature; and when those who are fond of society, endeavour still further to excite in their minds the agreeable emotions of friendly gaiety, by occasionally ming
ling in scenes of festivity and mirth, "the feast of reason and the flow of soul," that should ever prevail on such occasions, will at once contribute to enliven their imaginations, and by increasing their vivacity, to make them better pleased both with themselves and their companions.
Such are the nature and advantages of a social disposition; and surely no individual, at all alive to the pleasing emotions of human intercourse, in its infinitely varied forms, can fail to desire, that his breast should glow with such a feeling,-a feeling which spreads throughout society complacency and satisfaction, and which is at the same time the handmaid of virtue, and the parent of rational delight.
THE MOON AND CLOUDS,
AS SEEN 6TH SEPTEMBER, 1824.
Theodric; a Domestic Tale: and other Poems. By Thomas Campbell.-London, 1824. pp. 149.
LUXURY may be defined, the enjoyment of the most means of happiness. This definition sufficiently implies the nature of the means, since nothing can be said to be enjoyed that is not accompanied with pleasurable sensation. It is demanded, then, that the means be pleasing, even as the end is delightful. Some, having regard to the means, in exclusion of the end, have abused luxurious enjoyment, and arrived at pain, instead of the happiness which they had expected. Such are ever ready to exclaim,
"Pain and pleasure, two names for one feeling,
Would vary in the sound, altho' the sense
They call the excess of enjoyment luxury, when, in fact, it is but the abuse of luxury; they pass the boundaries which divide pleasure from pain, that "nice barrier," which preserves them" for ever separate, yet for ever near.'
Contemplating the consequences of such abuse, the Ascetic would deny that there was any genuine pleasure in the enjoyment of beauty or wine. So long as pleasure attends the indulgence of this enjoyment, it is luxury. If it be pursued till the qualms of the conscience or of the stomach ensue, it requires another name. The heart and the mind, the feelings and the affections, have their luxuries too, wherein indulgence would be a sublimation of enjoyment; constitute virtue the chief happiness, as indeed it is; and teach men to know no other luxury than the practice of what was generous and good.
Science and art are, in turn, the creators and the creatures of luxury. To them are the means of happiness, available to individual indulgence, in the first instance owing; and then they become caterers for the appetite which they have excited. The sense which they have brought to relish their beauties and sublimities, must be furnished with its appropriate aliment; the taste which they have awakened, they must gratify. It is then that social man feels life worth having, and his country
valuable. What cares the savage for the land of his fathers? He surrenders his territory to the invader, and flees from the presence of the foe-man. The Goth and the Dane forsake their desarts and wildernesses for a more genial clime and grateful soil. But social man, heroic and valiant, plants his foot on his native shores, and beats the invader back, like the foam from the cliffs which are the portals of his country, -or debates every inch of the land of his birth, hand to hand, and foot to foot,-happy if only he can retain possession of it in death, even in death victorious, the conqueror of a grave, where, like a faithful child, he may repose in his mother's bosom, as in his second infancy, looking forward to a second manhood of higher promise. More solicitous for the good of his own, than for the conquest of foreign territory, he expends upon his native place the energies of hope, the ardour of enterprize, and the enthusiasm of affection. Liberty and civilization are the product of luxury; industry and wealth proceed from her; and health, to which whatever is pleasant materially contributes, and which, in mind and body, constitutes the capacity for delightful emotion, and the susceptibility for pleasurable sensation, may be ministered to by her, if she be but accurately understood, and rightly used. Let the enemies of Epicurus surrender their acquired enjoyments, -let them return to the woods, pluck berries, and wild herbs; and, if they be scarce, strip from the trees the bark for food, and be content. Talk what they will, happiness has been, is, and ever will be, the common end and aim of the being of man; and He, who made nature luxuriant, meant man to be luxurious; man, whom he created to lord it over her means of pleasure, and whose capacious mind he empowered to levy on the universe for the necessities of the body, and the demands of the intellect. "To enjoy is to obey."
But why should pleasure be confined to corporeal indulgence, and luxury be contemplated only in its abuse? The intellect of man has its enjoyments; and, since all pleasure is referable to the mind, intellectual pleasures are the most native to our being, and most conducive to real happiness. The sense and the feeling of these superior pleasures produced the musicians and orators, the sculptors, painters, poets, and philosophers, by whom our common humanity has been advanced and exalted in the scale of being and intelligence.
Of all intellectual pleasures, Poetry is entitled to be denominated the most luxurious. Its real object is to produce happiness by pleasurable means. Poetry flourished in a state comparatively rude and uncivilized. After the fatigues of the war or the chase, the voice of the song was raised. It told of
the raptures of love,-the glories of the conflict,-the ardors of the field,—or of "the joy of grief, pleasant but mournful to the soul."-Accompanied by music, it sought to stimulate the delights of the festive board, to embellish the triumph of victory. Its province was
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet ;
to magnify the greatest actions, add fresh lustre to the most glorious deeds, give sweetness to the honiest vows of love, and illustrate whatever virtue human nature was most illustrated by. In every thing to go beyond what was seen or done,-to endow every action, passion, feeling, being, with spiritual attributes, and to each and all add something of its own creation; to advance from the real into the ideal, and to invest it with that excellence which was properly the soul's own, and which she yearned to see exemplified in the subject of her celebration, by virtue of her own apt conformity to that perfection towards which she is progressively and assuredly advancing. She transfused the qualities of her own essence into the objects of her affection, and identified them with her own nature and character.
Then reigned the poetry of thought. Then the Fancy walked abroad in her strength. From the cloud-capt mountain and the cataract, the ocean and the sky, and from all the sublimities and beauties of nature, she collected images of awe and love. Then the Imagination, dwelling in herself, brooded like an incubus over the soul, making it pregnant, and shadowed forth in the phantasma of power and grace, the suggestions from within-deep thoughts and oracular mysteries, instinct with spirit and vitality. Then were the days of genius, of creation.
Nature was exhausted; the human understanding had outpoured its fulness. Succeeding intellects found their ideas forestalled; their images appropriated. Instead of depending on the native fecundity of the mind of man, they adopted what preceding bards had produced. As men revering their ancestors, and looking up to them for the standard of thought, they forsook nature for art,-they became imitators.
In time, the critic was produced. He looked to the ancestral poet as to an oracle. If he laid down the principles on which the drama and epic should be constructed, he did but exhibit the practice of the most admired poet, long before his opinions were followed as laws. Longinus, in his treatise on the sublime, does but give us examples from Plato, from Demosthenes, from Homer. Is some great effort to be ventured? He advises you to represent to yourself how
VOL. II. PART I.