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LESSON XLIII.

The mutual relation between sleep and night.-PALEY. The relation of sleep to night appears to have been expressly intended by our benevolent Creator. Two points are manifest; first, that the animal frame requires sleep; secondly, that night brings with it a silence, and a cessation of activity, which allow of sleep being taken without interruption, and without loss. Animal existence is made up of action and slumber: nature has provided a season for each. An animal which stood not in need of rest, would always live in day-light. An animal, which, though made for action, and delighting in action, must have its strength repaired by sleep, meets, by its constitution, the returns of day and night. In the human species, for instance, were the bustle, the labor, the motion of life upheld by the constant presence of light, sleep could not be enjoyed without being disturbed by noise, and without expense of that time which the eagerness of private interest would not contentedly resign. It is happy, therefore, for this part of the creation, I mean that it is conformable to the frame and wants of their constitution, that nature, by the very disposition of her elements, has commanded, as it were, and imposed upon them, at moderate intervals, a general intermission of their toils, their occupations, and their pursuits.

But it is not for man, either solely or principally, that night is made. Inferior, but less perverted natures, taste its solace, and expect its return, with greater exactness and advantage than he does. I have often observed, and never observed but to admire, the satisfaction, no less than the regularity, with which the greatest part of the irrational world yield to this soft necessity, this grateful vicissitude; how comfortably the birds of the air, for example, address themselves to the repose of the evening ; with what alertness they resume the activity of the day.

Nor does it disturb our argument to confess, that certain species of animals are in motion during the night, and at rest in the day. With respect even to them, it is still true, that there is a change of condition in the animal, and an external change corresponding with it. There is still the relation, though inverted. The fact is, that the répose of other animals sets these at liberty, and invites them to their food or their sport.

If the relation of sleep to night, and in some instances, its converse, be real, we cannot reflect without amazement upon the extent to which it carries us. Day and night are things close to us; the change applies immediately to our sensations ; of all the phænomena of nature, it is the most obvious, and the most familiar to our experience: but, in its cause, it belongs to the great motions which are passing in the heavens. Whilst the earth glides round her axle, she ministers to the alternate necessities of the animals dwelling upon her surface, at the same time that she obeys the influence of those attractions which regulate the order of many thousand worlds. The relation therefore of sleep to night, is the relation of the inhabitants of the earth to the rotation of their globe : probably it is more; it is a relation to the system, of which that globe is a part; and, still further, to the congregation of systems, of which theirs is only one. If this account be true, it connects the meanest individual with the universe itself; a chicken, roosting upon its perch, with the spheres revolving in the firmament.

LESSON XLIV.

Social worship agreeable to the best impulses of our nature.

MRS. BARBAULD. SENTIMENTS of admiration, love and joy, swell the bosom with emotions which seek for fellowship and communication. The flame indeed may be kindled by silent musing; but when kindled it must infallibly spread. The devout heart, penetrated with large and affecting views of the immensity of the works of God, the harmony of his laws, and the extent of his beneficence, bursts into loud and vocal expressions of praise and adoration ; and from a full and overflowing sensibility, seeks to expand itself to the utmost limits of creation. The mind is forcibly carried out of itself, and embracing the whole circle of animated existence, calls on all above, around, below, to help to bear the burden of its gratitude. Joy is too brilliant a thing to be confined within our own bosoms; it burnishes all nature, and with its vivid coloring gives a kind of factitious life to objects without sense or motion. There cannot be a more striking proof of the social tendency of these feelings, than the strong propensity we have to suppose auditors when there are none

When men are wanting, we address the animal creation ; and rather than have none to partake of our feelings, we find sentiment in the music of birds, the hum of insects, and the low of kine : nay, we call on rocks and streams and forests to witness and share our emotions. Hence the royal shepherd, soʻjourning in caves and solitary wastes, calls on the hills to rejoice, and the floods to clap their hands : and the lonely poet, wandering in the deep recesses of uncultivated nature, finds a temple in every solemn grove, and swells his chorus of praise with the winds that bow the lofty cedars. And can he, who, not satisfied with the wide range of animated existence, calls for the sympathy of the inanimate creation, refuse to worship with his fellow men ? Can he who bids “Nature attend,” forget to "join every living soul” in the universal hymn? Shall we suppose companions in the stillness of deserts, and shall we overlook them amongst friends and townsmen? It cannot be! Social worship, for the devout heart, is not more a duty than it is a real want.

LESSON XLV.

Dialogue between Lord Bacon and Shakspeare.-BLACK

WOOD'S MAGAZINE.* Lord Bacon, (in his study.) Now, my pen, rest awhile. The air of this dark and thought-stirring chamber must not be breathed too long at a time, lest my wits grow sluggish by reason of too much poring. I will go forth and walk. But first let me restore to their shelves these wormwood schoolmen. Come, gray-beard Aristotle, mount thou first, and tell the spiders not to be astonished if their holes are darkened, for a seraphic doctor is about to follow. Scotus and Ramus, why these dog-ears? It was once a different sort. And now, as I lift each book, methinks its cumbrous leaves club all their syllogisms, and conspire to weigh down that feeble arm, which has just been employed in transcribing the Novum Organon. Alas! that folly and falsehood should be so hard to grapple with—but he that hopes to

* This dialogue was abridged by the editor of “ The Scrap Book” from a Series of Essays in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, entitled, “ Time's Magic Lantern."

poor vein of

make mankind the wiser for his labors must not be soon tired. My single brain is matched against the errors of thousands; and yet every time I return to reflect upon the laws of nature, she meets my thoughts with a more palpable sanction, and a voice seems to whisper from the midst of her machinery, that I have not inquired in vain.--Ho! who waits in the antichamber there ? Does any one desire an audience ?

Page. The Queen has sent unto your lordship, Mr. William Shakspeare the player.

Bacon. Indeed !-I have wished to see that man. Show him in. Report says, her majesty has lately tasked him to write a play upon a subject chosen by herself. Good-morrow, Mr. Shakspeare.

Shakspeare. Save your lordship! here is an epistle froin her majesty

Bacon. (Reads.) “ The Queen desires, that as Mr. Shakspeare would fain have some savor of the Queen's own

poesy,

he
may

be shown the book of sonnets, written by herself, and now in the keeping of my Lord Chancellor, who indeed may well keep what he hath so much flattered; although she does not command him to hide it altogether from the knowing and judicious."

Shakspeare. How gracious is her majesty! Sure the pen, for which she exchanges her sceptre, cannot choose but drop golden thoughts.

Bacon. You say well, Mr. Shakspeare. But let us sit down and discourse awhile. The sonnets will catch no harm by our delay, for true poetry, they say, hath a bloom which time cannot blight.

Shakspeare. True, my lord. Near to Castalia there bubbles also a fountain of petrifying water, wherein the muses are wont to dip whatever posies have met the approval of Apollo; so that the slender foliage, which originally sprung forth in the cherishing brain of a true poet, becomes hardened in all its leaves, and glitters as if it were carved out of rubies and emeralds. The elements have afterwards no power over it.

Bacon. Such will be the fortune of your own productions.

Shakspeare. Ah, my lord ! do not encourage me to hope so. I am but a poor unlettered man, who seizes whatever rude conceits his own natural vein supplies him with, upon the enforcement of haste and necessity; and therefore I fear that such as are of deeper studies than myself, will

find
many
flaws in

my

handiwork to laugh at both now and hereafter.

Bacon. He that can make the multitude laugh and weep as you do, Mr. Shakspeare, need not fear scholars.-A head naturally fertile and for getive is worth many libraries, inasmuch as a tree is more valuable than a basket of fruit, or a good hawk better than a bag full of game, or the little purse which a fairy gave to Fortunatus more inexhaustible than all the coffers in the treasury. More scholarship might have sharpened your judgment, but the particulars whereof a character is composed, are better assembled by force of imagination than of judgment, which, although it perceive coherences, cannot summon up materials, nor melt them into a compound, with that felicity which belongs to imagination alone.

Shakspeare. My lord, thus far I know, that the first glimpse and conception of a character in my mind are always engendered by chance and accident. We shall suppose, for instance, that I am sitting in a tap-room, or standing in a tennis-court. The behavior of some one fixes my attention. I note his dress, the sound of his voice, the turn of his countenance, the drinks he calls for, his questions and retorts, the fashion of his person, and, in brief, the whole out-goings and in-comings of the man.—These grounds of speculation being cherished and revolved in my fancy, it becomes straightway possessed with a swarm of conclusions and beliefs concerning the individual. In walking home, I picture out to myself, what would be fitting for him to say or do upon any given occasion, and these fantasies being recalled at some after period, when I am writing a play, shape themselves into divers mannikins, who are not long of being nursed into life. Thus come forth Shallow, and Slender, and Mercutio, and Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

Bacon. These are characters which may be found alive in the streets. But how frame you such interloc'utors as Brutus and Coriolānus?

Shakspeare. By searching histories, in the first place, my lord, for the germ. The filling up afterwards comes rather from feeling than observation. I turn myself into a Brutus or a Coriolānus for the time; and can, at least in fancy, partake sufficiently of the nobleness of their nature, to put proper words into their mouths. Observation will not supply the poet with every thing. He must have a stock of exalted sentiments in his own mind.

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