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5. That every member speak sitting cross-legged, holding his left foot in his right hand.
6. That no strangers be admitted, for fear they should be tempted to laugh, and accordingly be kicked out of the room.
I shall conclude this letter merely by observing, that I hope my delineation of their characters will give you and your readers as much pleasure, as the originals have done, and still do afford to, sir, your humble servant,
DETACHED THOUGHTS. “ THE real lamp of Aladdin is that on the merchant's desk. All the genii, white, olive, or black, who people the atmosphere of earth, it puts in motion at the antipodes. It builds palaces in the wilderness, and cities in the forest; and collects every'splendour, and every refinement of luxury, from the fingers of subservient toil Kings of the east are slaves of the lamp : the winds blow, the seas roll, only to work the behest of its master.”
“ If, in works of fine literature, there be a deficiency of taste and genius, the critic has a right to complain; if, in historical and scientific compilations, he discovers a want of research and a want of industry, he is justified in resenting it as a want of honesty; but, in works, where the author comes forward with an account of what he has himself seen in distant countries, if he finds any new information, instead of cavilling at the manner in which it may be conveyed, he ought to learn and be thankful.”
« A greater quantity of praise, of conspicuity, of noisy gratitude, must be awarded in favour of those men who have the forethought, and take the trouble, to bring over useful animals and plants. Lucullus has been immortalized for introducing to Rome the cherry-tree; and shall we reserve no recompense, not at least a parsley wreath, for the brow of him who will introduce the American hen, that lays eggs in the Christmas holidays ?”
“ They have a bad custom, in arbitrary governments, of licensing books; they have also a custom of fixing the sum at which they shall be sold. Our English publishers are proving that this custom is not quite so
66 Where printing is unknow2, tradition supplies the place of recorded experience: it is there, in fact, the most perfect form of preserving the inferences diawn by our aucestors from their local observation. It is entitled to the same sort of deference and obedience which we Europeans shew, in many questions of morals, to the opinion of the higher classes, or of the world, where our sacred books, and our moral philosophers, have decided differently from the world. It does not follow that a prevailing practice is wrong, because the motive for it has not been translated into words, and intelligibly recorded. But now that we print about every thing, and about nothing more frequently or more usefully than the moral habits of the several people of the earth, every nation in its turn is put upon the defensive, and obliged to account for its practices, or to abandon them. The authority of ridicule is a counterpoise to the authority of tradition. Laughter is, in alinost all cases, a retrograde motion of traditional impressions, The satirist, the comic writer, the vovelist, so soon as they can diffuse, in the language of the Hindoos, their criticisms, can cause to be dropped, by imitation, whatever practice was learned by imitation, unless there is a reason in nature, a cause founded in the circumstances of the time and place, for such practice. Ridicule is never successful against a rational practice, because men return to it for the same reasons which occasioned
institution; they learn again, experimentally, what they had left off from ignorance of the motives which led to its adoption; they come again a posteriori to the usage which an a priori syllogist had exploded. If they record their experience when they resume their usage, ridicule not only can never triumph again, but cannot even be brought to bear against such usage. We can no more laugh at a proposal to reverse actions wisely willed, than at a paralytic stroke.”
A. A. R.
SUBJECT OF THE PLATE. FROM LORD BYRON'S TPAGEDY-“ MANFRED.”
SPIRIT. Yet pause: being here, our will would do
thee service; Bethink thee, is there then no other gift Which we can make not worthless in thine eyes.
MANFRED. No, none : yet stay-one moment ere I would behold ye face to face. I hear Your voices, sweet and melancholy sounds, As music on the waters; and I see The steady aspect of a clear large star; But nothing more. Approach me as ye are, Or one, or all, in your accustomed forms.
SPIRIT. We have no forms beyond the elements Of which we are the mind and principle : But choose a formn-in that we will appear. MANFRED. I have no choice; there is no form on
beautiful female figure.) Behold!
(The figure vanishes.) My heart is crushed ! (MANFRED falls senseless.)
Act I, Scene 1.
and a mockery: il clasp thee, wishes.)