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ancient mythology, is in a mingled sense of the old popular belief and of the philosophical refinements upon it. We take Apollo, and Mercury, and Venus, as shapes that existed in popular credulity, as the greater fairies of the ancient world; and we regard them, at the same time, as personifications of all that is beautiful and genial in the forms and tendencies of creation. But the result, coming as it does too through avenues of beautiful poetry, both ancient and modern, is so entirely chearful, that we are apt to think it must have wanted gravity to more believing eyes. We fancy that the old world saw nothing in religion but lively and graceful shapes, as remote from the more obscure and awful hintings of the world unknown, as physics appear to be from the metaphysical;—as the eye of a beautiful woman is from the inward speculations of a Brahmin; or a lily at noon-day from the wide obscurity of night-time.
This supposition appears to be carried a great deal too far. We will not enquire in this place, how far the mass of mankind, when these shapes were done away, did or did not escape from a despotic anthropomorphitism; nor how far they were driven by the vaguer fears, and the opening of a more visible eternity, into avoiding the whole subject, rather than courting it; nor how it is, that the nobler practical religion which was afforded them, has been unable to bring back their frightened theology from the angry and avaricious pursuits into which they fled for refuge. But setting aside the portion of terror, of which heathenism partook in common with all faiths originating in uncultivated times, the ordinary run of pagans were perhaps more impressed with a sense of the invisible world, in consequence of the very
visions presented to their imagination, than the same description of men under a more shadowy system. There is the same difference between the two things, as between a populace believing in fairies, and a populace not believing The latter is in the high road to something better, if not drawn aside into new terrors on the one hand, or mere worldliness on the other. But the former is led to look out of the mere worldly common-places about it, twenty times to the other's once. It has a sense of a supernatural state of things, however gross. It has a link with another world, from which something like gravity is sure to strike into the most chearful heart. Every forest, to the mind's eye of a Greek, was haunted with superior intelligences. Every stream had it's presiding nymph, who was thanked for the draught of water. Every house had it's protecting gods, which had blessed the inmate's ancestors; and which would bless him also, if he cultivated the social affections: for the same world which expressed piety towards the Gods, expressed love towards relations and friends. If in all this there was nothing but the worship of a more graceful humanity, there may be worships much worse as well as much better. And the divinest spirit that ever appeared on earth has told us, that the extension of human sympathy embraces all that is required of us, either to do or to foresee.
Imagine the feelings with which an ancient believer must have gone by the oracular oaks of Dodona, or the calm groves of the Eumenides,
or the fountain where Proserpine vanished under ground with Pluto; or the Great Temple of the Mysteries at Eleusis; or the laurelled mountain Parnassus, on the side of wh was the temple of Delphi, where Apollo was supposed to be present in person. Imagine Plutarch, a devout and yet a liberal believer, when he went to study theology and philosophy at Delphi: with what feelings must he not have passed along the woody paths of the hill, approaching nearer every instant to the presence of the divinity, and not sure that a glance of light through the trees was not the lustre of the god himself going by. This is mere poetry to us, and very fine it is; but to him it was poetry, and religion, and beauty, and gravity, and hushing awe, and a path as from one world to another. 2. With similar feelings he would cross the ocean, an element that naturally detaches the mind from earth, and which the ancients regarded as especially doing so. He had been in the Carpathian sea, the favourite haunt of Proteus, who was supposed to be gifted above every other deity with a knowledge of the causes of things. Towards evening, when the winds were rising, and the sailors had made their vows to Neptune, he would think of the old “ shepherd of the seas of yore,” and believe it possible that he might become visible to his eyesight, driving through the darkling waters, and turning the sacred wildness of his face towards the blessed ship.
In all this, there is a deeper sense of another world, than in the habit of contenting oneself with a few vague terms and embodying nothing but Mammon. There is a deeper sense of another world, precisely because there is a deeper sense of the present; of it's varieties, it's benignities, it's mystery. It was a strong sense of this, which made a living poet, who is accounted very orthodox in his religious opinions, give vent, in that fine sonnet, to his impatience at seeing the beautiful planet we live upon, with all it's starry wonders about it, so little thought of, compared with what is ridiculously called the world. He seems to have dreaded the symptom, as an evidence of materialism, and of the planets being dry self-existing things, peopled with mere successive mortalities, and unconnected with any superintendance or consciousness in the universe about them. It is abhorrent from all we think and feel, that they should be so: and yet Lave might make heavens of them, if they were,
" The world is too much with us.
Late and soon,
e, who a
GETTING UP ON COLD MORNINGS. An Italian author, --Giulio Cordara, a Jesuit,- has written a poem upon Insects, which he begins by insisting, that those troublesome and abominable little animals were created for our annoyance, and that they were certainly not inhabitants of Paradise.
We of the North may dispute this piece of theology; but on the other hand, it is as clear as the snow on the house-tops, that Adam was not under the necessity of shaving; and that when Eve walked out of her delicious bower, she did not step upon ice three inches thick.
Some people say it is a very easy thing to get up of a cold morning. You have only, they tell you, to take the resolution; and the thing is done. This may be very irue; just as a boy at school has only to take a flogging, and the thing is over. But we have not at all made up our minds upon it; and we find it a very pleasant exercise to discuss the matter, candidly, before we get up. This at least is not idling, though it may be lying. It affords an excellent answer to those, ask how lying in bed can be indulged in by a reasoning being,-a rational creature. How? Why with the argument calmly at work in one's head, and the clothes over one's shoulder. Ob-it is a
of spending a sensible, impartial half-bour.
If these people would be more charitable, they would get on with their argument better. But they are apt to reason so ill, and to assert so dogmatically, that one could wish to have them stand round one's bed of a bitter morning, and lie before their faces. They ought to hear both sides of the bed, the inside and out.
• If they
v cannot entertain themselves with their own thoughts for half an hour or so; it is not the fault
Those who can., If their will is never pulled aside by the enticing arms of imagination, so much the luckier for the stage-coachman.
Candid enquirers into one's decumbency, besides the greater or less privileges to be allowed a man in proportion to his ability of keeping early hours, the work given his faculties, &c. will at least concede iheir due merits to such representations as the following. In the first place, says the injured but calm appealer, I have been warm all night, and find my system in a state perfectly suitable to a warm-blooded
animal, To get out of this state into the cold, besides the inharmonious an critical abruptness of the transition, is so unnatural to such a creature, that the poets, refining upon the
e tortures of the damned, make one of their greatest agonies consist in being suddenly transported from heat to cold,—from fire to ice. They are • haled” out of their “ beds, says Milton, by “ harpy-footed furies,” fellows who come to call them. On my first movement towards the anticipation of getting up, I find that such parts of the sheets and bolster, as are exposed to the air of the room, are stone cold. On opening my eyes, the first thing that meets them is my own breath rolling forth, as if in the open air, like smoke out of a cottage-chimney. Think of this symptom. Then I turn my eyes sideways and see the window all frozen over. Think of that. Then the servant comes in. “It is very cold this morning, is it not?! Very cold, Sir.”- Very cold indeed, isn't it?"-" Very,
cold indeed, Sir.”—" More than usually so, isn't it, even for this weather?” (Here the servant's wit and good nature are put to a considerable test, and the enquirer lies on thorns for the answer.) “Why,
I think it is.” (Good creature! There is not a better, or more truth-telling servant going.) “I must rise however-Get me some warm water.”—Here comes a fine interval between the departure of the servant and the arrival of the hot water; during which, of course, it is of “no use?” to get up.
The hot water comes.
Is it quite hot?” _“Yes, Sir."-" Perhaps too hot for shaving: I must wait a little?"-"No, Sir; it will just do." (There is an over-nice propriety sometimes, an officious zeal of virtue, a little troublesome.) « Oh the shirt-you must air my clean shirt:-linen gets very damp this weather.” “Yes, Sir." Here another delicious five minutes. A knock at the door. “Oh, the shirt-very well. My stockings- I think the stockings had better be aired too." Very well, Sir.” Here another interval. At length every thing is ready, except myself. I now, continues our incumbent (a happy word, by the bye, for a country vicar) LI now cannot help thinking a good deal-who can?-upon the una necessary and villainous custom of shaving: it is a thing so unmanly (here I nestle closer)-so effeminate (here I recoil from an unlucky step into the colder part of the bed.)-No wonder, that the Queen of France took part with the rebels against that degenerate King, her husband, who first affronted her smooth visage with a face like her own. The Emperor Julian never showed the luxuriancy of his genius to better advantage than in reviving the flowing beard. Look at Cardinal Bembo's picture-at Michael Angelo's—at Titian's-at Shakspeare's
at Fletcher's—at Spenser's—at Chaucer's—at Alfred's—at Plato's. -I could name a great man for every tick of my watch.-Look at the Turks, a grave and otiose people.Think of Haroun Al Raschid and Bed-ridden Hassan--Think of Wortley Montague, the worthy son of his mother, above the prejudice of his time-Look at the Persian gentlémen, whom one is ashamed of meeting about the suburbs, their dress and appearance are so much finer than our own-Lastly, think of the razor itself-how totally opposed to every sensation of bed—how cold, how edgy, how hard! how utterly different from any thing like the warm and cirling amplitude, which
Sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses. Add to this, benumbed fingers, which may help you to cut yourself, a quívering body, a frozen towel, and an ewer full of ice; and he that says there is nothing to oppose in all this, only shews, at any rate, that he has no merit in opposing it. Thomson the poet, who exclaims in his Seasons
Tu Srut Falsely luxurious! Will not man awake? used to lie in bed till noon, because he said he had no motive in getting up. He could imagine the good of rising; but then he could also imagine the good of lying still; and his exclamation, it must be allowed, was made upon summer-time, not winter. We must proportion the
argument to the individual character. A money-getter may be drawn out of his bed by three and four-pence; but this will not suffice for a student. A proud man may say,
“ What shall I think of myself, if I don't get up?" but the more humble one will be content to waive this prodigious notion of himself, out of respect to his kindly bed. The mechanical man shall get up without any ado at all; and só shall the barometer. An ingenious lier in bed will find hard matter of discussion even on the score of health and longevity. He will ask us for our proofs and precedents of the ill effects of lying later in cold weather; and sophisticate much on the advantages of an even temperature of body; of the natural propensity (pretty universal) to have one's way; and of the animals that roll themselves up, and sleep all the winter. As to longevity, he will ask whether the longest is of necessity the best; and whether Holborn is the handsomest street in London.
We only know of one confounding, not to say confounded argument, fit to overturn the huge luxury, the “enormous bliss”-of the vice in question. A lier in bed may be allowed to profess a disinterested indifference for his health or longevity; but while he is shewing the reasonableness of consulting his own, or one person's comfort, he must admit the proportionate claim of more than one; and the best way to deal with him is this, especially for a lady, for we earnestly recommend the use of that sex on such occasions, if not somewhat over-persuasive; since extremes have an awkward knack of meeting. First then, admit all the ingeniousness of what he says, telling him that the bar has been deprived of an excellent lawyer. Then look at him in the most goodnatured manner in the world, with a mixture of assent and appeal in your countenance, and tell him that you are waiting breakfast for him; that you never like to breakfast without him; that you really want it too; that the servants want theirs; that you shall not know how to get the house into order, unless he rises; and that you are sure he would do things twenty times worse, even than getting out of his warm bed, to put them all into good humour and a state of comfort. Then, after having said this, throw in the comparatively indifferent matter, to him, about his health; but tell him that it is no indifferent matter to you; that the sight of his illness makes more people suffer than one; but that if nevertheless, he really does feel so very sleepy and so very much refreshed by_Yet stay; we hardly know whether the frailty of a Yes, yes; say that too, especially if you say it with sincerity; for if the weakness of human nature on the one hand, and the vis inertiæ on the other, should lead him to take advantage of it once or twice, goodhumour and sincerity form an irresistible junction at last; and are still better and warmer things than pillows and blankets.
Other little helps of appeal may be thrown in, as occasion requires. You
may tell a lover for instance, that lying in bed makes people corpulent; a father, that you wish him to complete the fine manly example he sets his children; a lady, that she will injure her bloom or her shape, which M. or W. admires so much; and a student or artist, that he is always so glad to have done a good day's work, in his best