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none, but those who have felt the same, can have the least conception of. Day and night I was upon the rack, lying down in horror and rising up in despair.” He presently lost all relish for the studies which had previously been the source of amusement; he found none of the usual charms which used to attract him to the classics, and wanting advice and friendship, poor Cowper mournfully exclaims, “ I had no one to direct me where to find it." He proceeded to Southampton subsequently, for the benefit of the air, and here it was that the settled character of monomania developed itself. The notion which had fixed itself upon his imagination was, that his indifference to religion had drawn down upon him the rebuke of the Almighty. We are not able to afford the space which would be required were we to follow Mr. Madden through the details of Cowper's life, interesting as he has made them by numerous commentaries. We shall, therefore, dismiss this very singular example of the power of the imagination over the physical constitution, with a summary of the inferences to which its phenomena give rise :
We have endeavoured to divest his malady of the obscurity and mystery in which it has been involved; we have called it by its proper name; we have referred it to its true cause, and endeavoured to point out how far his symptoms were aggravated by the counsel and conversation of injudicious people, and how far his symptoms were suffered to develop themselves and to acquire strength, by an unfortunate and perpetual concurrence of most unfavourable circumstances. The leading events in the history of his sufferings, so far as they concerned his health, and consequently his happiness, may be summed up in a very few words. Cowper, from his earliest years, was delicate in constitution, and timid in his disposition. Excessive application to professional studies in the Temple increased the delicacy of his health, the nervous system and the cerebral organs became disturbed or disordered in their functions, and his natural timidity merged into a morbid sensibility, which wholly disqualified him for the active duties of that profession in which he had been so improperly placed. The derangement of his health obliged him to go to the sea-coast; he visited Southampton, and in one of his walks the unexpected spectacle of a magnificent prospect, and the sudden appearance of a burst of sunshine in all the “ uncertain glories of an April day,” overpowered his imagination, and filled his heart with a rapture of devotional enthusiasm. The splendour of the scene was taken for the effulgence of the Deity, and the wrapt spectator believed that the vision was expressly intended for a merciful warning to lead him to the remembrance of that Being, whom, in his friend's words, he had been living without in the world. He returned to town, the momentary excitement passed away, and the warning was forgotten : a public appointment was procured for him, but the terror of a public appearance at the bar of the House of Lords completely overwhelmed him, and he was obliged to renounce his employment. His nervous disorder returned with increased strength; he became the victim of hypochondria, and his friends deemed it necessary to place him under the care of Dr. Cottin. During the time that he remained in this private asylum, his condition appears to have been similar to that of Dr. Johnson in his early life, his dejection as severe,
but certainly not more so, and no indication, even in his worst moments, of general insanity. His improvement in health and spirits at length led to his removal to a country village, and here he became domiciled in the family of a clergyman, in which he continued for the remainder of his life. The character of the society into which he was thrown, was exclusively serious, or what is called evangelical. The story of the miraculous vision at Southampton was told to his friends, and the importance which was attached, and the credit that was given to it, fixed the impression stronger than ever on his mind, that it was a divine warning, and that he had neglected it.
Repentance, indeed, ensued, and remorse followed so closely upon it, that the latter took possession of all the faculties of his mind, and permanently, though partially, disordered it. The dreadful idea became fixed, that, in rejecting that warning, he had committed the unpardonable sin, and that there was no hope for him here or hereafter. This was, indeed, the true source of his hypochondria ; and to whatever gulf the torrent of his dejection might have flowed, whether of insanity or eccentricity, religious enthusiasm was but the tributary stream which found a ready channel to receive its troubled waters. The original current might, indeed, have swelled with their increase, till the barks of reason were broken down by its aggravated fury; but the source of the mischief must be traced to the fountain-head, not to the feeble stream that fed its violence.--pp. 98-104.
Lord Byron is the next of the men of genius, the circumstances of whose life have received great attention from Mr. Madden. It is the opinion of this gentleman, that the poet, during his life, had a strong tendency to apoplexy, and that he experienced slight attacks of the disease in his early years; but he also adds, that the disorder was inerely an effect of another cause, namely, the inheritance from his mother of that great excitability which so fatally marked her temper. Mr. Madden states, amongst other authen. ticated facts justifying his opinion as to the nature of Lord Byron's disease, the following :-During his boyhood, his lordship was capable of being deprived of sense and motion on the occurrence of the most trivial accident. Byron describes the effect of the stroke of an oar on his leg, which he received in a boat on the Lake of Geneva with Sir John Hobhouse as his companion : the blow produced “ downright swoons,” and a sensation, “ a very odd one," says his lordship, “ a sort of giddiness at first, then a nothingness, and a total loss of memory.” At Bologna, in 1819, his lordship was thrown into convulsions by the effect of the representation of Alfieri's Mirra. This he himself describes as an agony of reluctant tears, and a choking shudder. These same symptoms were brought on likewise by Mr. Kean's Sir Giles Overreach; and Lady Blessington, who certainly has very deeply penetrated into Lord Byron's character, tells us, that any casual annoyance gave, not only his face, but his whole frame, a convulsive epileptic character. Mr. Madden, moreover, seems to be of opinion, that his medical attendants, in his last moments, mistook the nature of his disease, and, consequently, the sort of treatment which should have been
administered. They took the disorder to be inflammation of the brain, requiring active depletion ; whereas Mr. Madden concludes, from the symptoms, that it was merely nervous irritability arising from a local remittent fever, and that the treatment should have been upon a principle precisely the reverse of that which had been adopted.
A great deal of ingenuity and discrimination is shewn by Mr. Madden in pointing out the benefits to be derived from the influence of the example afforded by the life of Sir Walter Scott. The history of the career of that illustrious man exhibits, in a remarkably striking manner, the advantage, and also the profit, of a government over one's mental powers, particularly over the faculty of the imagination. He was blessed originally with a happy temperament, which luckily was encouraged by early prosperity, and every one of his numerous works bears testimony to the permanent mood of tranquillity, of conscious satisfaction, of universal benevolence, which must have existed in his mind. A great deal of this enviable state is to be attributed, in Mr. Madden's opinion, to the health and vigour of the individual; and it is worthy of remark, that both Sir Walter and Goethe, who were each distinguished by the strength of his constitution, were never, almost in any instance, mixed up with the hostilities that form so common an addition to the usual employments of literary men. “In both,” observes Mr. Madden, with good sense and acuteness, “ in both the poetic temperament was seen to greater advantage than we have been accustomed to behold it. It disqualified them for no duties, public or private ; it unfitted them not for the tender offices of friendship or affection, and the world for once enjoyed the rare exhibition of two great poets who were good husbands, good fathers, and good citizens. Their works were imbued with a spirit of phi. losophical philanthropy, which the public taste was luckily in the vein to appreciate ; and if their competitors joined in their applause, it was because they had no injuries to complain of at their hands, no bitter asperity to apprehend from their criticisms, no injustice from their strictures, no ungenerous treatment from the pride of their exalted stations. In each instance a happy temperament enabled its possessor to preserve that station which his genius had attained, and in either the management of that temperament was commensurate with the enjoyment of health and vigour. It required, indeed, no ordinary stock of health to enable an author to resist the wear and tear of mind and body, which the incessant application to literary pursuits is productive of ; no little vigour, both bodily and mental, to render an individual capable of the immense amount of literary labour which Scott had the courage to encounter, and the persevering industry to get through, without seclusion from the world, and apprently without fatigue.”
We regret that a warning is given to us by the extent of the
present paper, that we have exceeded our just limits. It only remains for us to acknowledge the gratitude which we owe to Mr. Madden, for a very amusing and instructive work-instructive in an important degree, inasmuch as it contains many most useful observations on medical topics, chiefly connected with the peculiar class to whom the designation of literary men applies. "So important are these remarks, that no one who makes literature a profession should be without the work, unless, indeed, he is indifferent to his health.
Art. VIII.-Biographical Recollections of the Rev. Robert
Hall, A. M. By J. W. MORRIS. 1 vol. 8vo. London: Wrightman. 1833.
The claims of the author of this biography, to take up the subject of his work, consist of no fewer than nearly half a century of intimate acquaintance with the Rev. Mr. Hall, and were it not that we must apprehend a little too much prejudice for the object of his descriptions, we should say, that the paramount qualification for a biographer was found in the writer of the work before us. With very good reason was it that Mr. Morris came to be selected by some of the chief friends of the Rev. Robert Hall to write the life of that eminent preacher, and they hoped to encourage him in the task by affording him materials which they believed would increase the value of the work. He tells us, that the volume would much sooner have been produced were it not that he had been obliged to undertake to withhold it for two years, in order to give an opportunity for reprinting and getting into circulation the complete works of Mr. Hall. Having made these preliminary observations, we shall at once proceed to the subject of the biography.
On the 2d May, in the year 1764, the Rev. Robert Hall was born in Arnsby, a small village, eight miles south of Leicester, in the house of his father, who had then but recently left the neighbourhood of Newcastle, to assume, at the village just mentioned, the duties of pastor of the Baptist chapel. We are very early struck, in reading this work, with the proofs of the excessive estimate which a warm hearted biographer is always sure to assume. Mr. Morris, not content with telling us how the infant Bobby first learned his letters on the tombstones of the parish churchyard, and how devotedly, at five years of age, he addicted himself to literature, so as very often to make holes in his pinofore by carrying books in it; not content, we repeat, with going thus far, Mr. Morris would make us believe, that the wonderful child was literally in the habit of secret prayer before he was sufficiently old to speak plain! Many other prodigious things are recorded of young Hall, as, for example, that he was sent to a schoolmaster, who, in a very short time, came to the family to say, that Master Robert need not stay any longer at his school, for that he had caught up so much in a short time, as to make it a question with the village pedagogue, if he should not change characters with the youth, and become his pupil instead of remaining his master. From this village, Robert Hall was promoted to the seminary of Dr. Ryland, in Northampton, that gentleman being not only possessed of learning and talents, but of strong political sympathies with all struggles for liberty, particularly those of the American colonies, a fact which we deem it necessary to mention, inasmuch as his young charge fully imbibed the same love of liberty, and cherished it with unabated ardour during the remainder of his life. During the period of his pupilage at Northampton, our hero became an object of curiosity, and occasionally, too, of ridicule, in consequence of that strange eccentricity of manner, which is usually the accompaniment of what is called 'absence of mind. If sent on a message, the obstinate boy arrived at the destined place, but with a complete oblivion of the subject; and when it was his turn to deliver orders to the tradesmen, the grocer and the butcher were almost every day obliged to make an exchange of papers, as Robert was always sure to deliver to the one the order which he should have left with the other. He must have had, with all this abstraction, a cheerful turn of mind; for it appears, that he did not think it beneath him to indulge in a hoax. One day, a farmer's servant brought to Robert's father a sucking pig, as a present, in a bag. Whilst the servant went in to deliver his message, the bag was left outside, when the young wag took out the pig, and placed a dog in its place. The result need scarcely be told, and every body laughed at the amazement of the poor rustic, when he saw the terrible proof of animal transmutation before him.
In October, 1770, Mr. Hall was introduced to Bristol academy, and was induced to deliver, at Broadmede, a public discourse, when he scarcely had attained his fourteenth year. Afterwards, whenever, during his collegiate course, he visited Clipstone, he was compelled to give his services as a preacher : but the congregation had sad work of it to keep the eccentric preacher to time. Sometimes, when the hour appointed for the sermon had arrived, the pulpit was seen to be empty, and, in not a few cases, the cause of the absence was either that he had unwittingly burned off his skirts by going too close to the fire, or mislaid his hat. In the same way, at the academy, the eccentric young man was in the habit of taking the paper, with pens and ink, of his fellow-students, a habit of incursion which might have been tolerated, if not put down; but the misfortune was, that the delinquent went farther, for he sometimes transferred from their keeping the contents of a wardrobe. The principal of the academy soon corrected all this, for he invited the pupil into his private study every morning, where every thing was provided that was necessary for his accom