Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining,

And thought of convincing when they thought of dining;


Though equal to all things, for all things un-
Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit;
For a patriot, too cool; for a drudge, diso-

And too fond of the right, to pursue the expe-

In short, 'twas his fate, unemployed, or in place, sir,


fect epigram was originally always expressed in verse, should be useful to us in showing that an epigram was then regarded as embodying imaginative insight in a graceful and symmetrical setting, showing that the essence of epigram is not satire, but point, polish, what in relation to a jewel we call flash. Of course that does not exclude satire; indeed, very much of the best and some of the bitterest satire has taken the form of verse. But it does exclude the notion that an epigrammatist should aim exclusively at satire. Indeed, To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a there is all the more, not the less point, if the epigram sparkles with an intrinsic beauty that is as remarkable as its incisiveness. Pope and Dryden, no doubt, took most pains with the epigrams which were meant to transfix a foe; but such as these are not, we think, the finest epigrams. For our own part, we should go to Goldsmith for the most perfect epigrams, and Goldsmith hardly ever failed to give a lambent rather than a cruel vividness to the play of his epigrammatic wit. We doubt if there was ever an epigram written which surpassed Goldsmith's on Sir Joshua Reynolds, which, far from toma hawking him, irradiated his figure with an exquisite beauty:

Here Reynolds is laid, and to tell you my

He has not left a wiser or better behind;
His pencil was striking, resistless, and grand;
His manners were gentle, complying, and

Still born to improve us in every part,
His pencil our faces, his manners our heart.
To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steer-

When they judged without skill, he was still
hard of hearing!

When they talked of their Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff,

He shifted his trumpet, and only took snuff.

Or take the still better known epigram on Burke, which had as many facets as a diamond, and which certainly did not transfix at all:

Here lies our good Edmund, whose genius was such

We scarcely can praise it or blame it too much;

Who, born for the universe, narrowed his mind,

No one could deny there that the praise
is far warmer than the censure, and that
the "short poem "brings far more light to
converge on the beauties than on the
weaknesses of Burke's character. It is
not a good omen for any age that in it
epigram has come to be closely connected
with the idea of tomahawking a foe. And
we are glad to have Mr. Sedley Taylor's
evidence that the late master of Trinity
could be, and sometimes was, as genial as
at times also he was caustic. It does not
seem that Mr. Sedley Taylor has discov-
ered any of Dr. Thompson's more genial
epigrams that equal in brilliancy the one
on a rather foppish and indolent young
college tutor: "All the time that Mr.
can spare from the adornment of his per-
son, he conscientiously devotes to the neg-
lect of his duties;" still, it is evident,
from the kind description which he gave
of the Trinity chapel organist, who was at
once so brilliant and so eccentric,-"This
is Mr. Stanford, organist of the college;
Mr. Stanford's playing always charms, and
occasionally astonishes; and I may add
that the less it astonishes the more it
charms," that Dr. Thompson took as
much pleasure in indicating how vastly
one man's merits exceeded his faults, as
he did on occasion in indicating how vastly
another's faults exceeded his merits.

tion to the tomahawking kind of epigram,
Of course there is always this tempta-
that an arrow which has transfixed another,
proves the sharpness of its point by the
mere wound which it makes, and that
there is no other way so easy and effective
of demonstrating that sharpness. Gold-
smith's epigrams, which hardly wound at
all, and certainly do more to pour balm
into the wounds which the world's criti-
cisms have made, than to enforce those

And to party gave up what was meant for mankind; Though fraught with all learning, yet strain-criticisms, are all the more brilliant for

ing his throat

their kindliness and justice; but then,

To persuade Tommy Townshend to lend him they are all the more difficult to make for

a vote;

that very reason. The epigrammatist who


condenses scorn into a terse sentence | Truth from his lips prevailed with double must be a man of genius, but his genius consists chiefly in finding the most telling words for his contempt or dislike. He has not to vary his mood. He has only to give himself up to it, to throw the reins

on to the neck of that active dislike which finds him eloquence as well as an interesting subject for his eloquence. But the epigrammatist who merges his censure in his praise, as did Goldsmith, cannot sharpen his wits by fostering his ill-temper, and cannot even avail himself of the rather mean satisfaction which the world is apt to feel in seeing a palpable hit at the expense of another. He has to justify his praise much more carefully than it is at all needful to justify scorn, for the world is quite satisfied with a merely plausible justification of the latter, but looks for something like an adequate justification of the former. It is odd, but it is undeniable, that the truth of a taunt should always seem so much more self-evident than the truth of a generous tribute of admiration. Indeed, the latter needs a much more careful and pointed expression to carry the reader away, than does the keen thrust of an impatient scorn. There is something in a sting that necessarily suggests a point, while there is nothing of necessary point in the mere sparkle of a luminous surface. That is, we suppose, why epigram tends so much to sting, though the forked epigram is by no means one of the highest kind. The epigram which illuminates a half-discerned beauty, is not only much more beneficent, but much more difficult of achievement, than the epigram which illuminates a half-discerned flaw. Goldsmith's epigrammatic description of the good clergyman,

At church, with meek and unaffected grace, His looks adorned the venerable place,

And fools who came to scoff remained to pray.
The service past, around the pious man
Even children followed, with endearing wile,
With steady zeal each honest rustic ran,
And plucked his gown to share the good man's


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Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike;
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.
Alike reserved to blame or to commend,

timorous foe, and a suspicious friend, And so obliging that he ne'er obliged. Dreading e'en fools, by flatterers besieged, That is bright and sharp as a scimitar; yet it is not only less interesting, but less truly poetic and imaginative than Goldsmith's exquisite etching.

It seems to us a great mistake for epigrammatists to aim as much as they now do at what Mr. Sedley Taylor calls the tomahawking type. The benignant epigram is a higher kind of production than the scathing epigram. It strives after a larger effect of truth, for the deadly epigram almost always suppresses the credit side of the account. And when it succeeds, it produces an imperishable picture, while the other, even at best, only immortalizes the meanness, or gibbets the vanity and folly, of a particular temperament and particular mood. It takes a creative mind to write sunny epigrams, and only a genius for antipathy to deliver blows such as Pope aimed at Addison on the strength of a suspicion more groundless than any which he imputed to the critic he attacked.

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THE DANGER OF ENNUI. Sir James Crichton-Browne, M.D., F.R.S., delivered, before a large audience at St. George's Hall, London, the first of the winter series of lectures. His theme was the benefit to health of keeping on working, not too much, but wisely enough till the last. He said excite ment there must be. In men, no less than boys, monotony of existence and the absence of wholesome cares and excitement had a pernicious effect upon the brain, and induced ennui- the commonest kind of brain rust, and sometimes melancholy madness. Often men who were habitually dependent upon

brain exercise-business or professional men - when they ceased and laid aside their avocations without having other interests and pursuits to which to turn, were rapidly plunged into depression or hurried into premature dotage. He did not know of any surer way of introducing senile decay than for a man of active habits to retire and do nothing when just past the prime of life, nor did he know of any surer way of enjoying a green old age than to keep on working until the close. This fact ought to inspire us with some doubt as to the wisdom of the superannuation and compulsory retirement régime under which we lived.

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For EIGHT DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.

Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office money-order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, and money-orders should be made payable to the order of LITTELL & Co.

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In one combined cacophony of six.

Miscalled of poets "herald of the day,"
Spirit of evil, vain and wanton bird,
Was there then none to beg a moment's stay
Ere for thy being Fate decreed the word?
Could not Asclepias, when he ceased to be,
Take to the realms of death thy tribe and

What boots it thus to question? for thou art,
And still shalt be; but never canst be still,
Destined at midnight thus to play thy part,
And when all else is silent to be shrill.
Yea, as I lie all sleepless in the dark,

I love not those who housed thee in the Ark.

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From The Fortnightly Review. THE NEW ASTRONOMY: ITS METHODS


indeed, not a little remarkable that the type of information yielded by the spectroscope is wholly distinct from that which the earlier processes were adapted to give. The new method of observing movements, and that which, for convenience, we may speak of as the telescopic method, are not, in fact, competitive contrivances for obtaining the same results. They are rather to be regarded as complementary, each being just adapted to render the kind of information that the other is incompetent to afford.

ASTRONOMERS are at present endeavoring to become fully acquainted with the resources of a new tool which has recently been placed in their hands. Perhaps it would be rather more correct to say that the tool is not exactly novel in principle, but it is rather the development of its capabilities and its application in new directions that forms the departure now creating so much interest. We have already learned much by its aid, while the expectation of further discoveries is so well founded that it is doubtful whether at any time since the invention of the tele-long enough is seen to be in motion. Inscope the prospects of the practical astronomer have seemed so bright as they are at this moment.

In the earlier periods of astronomical research it was the movements of the heavenly bodies which specially claimed attention, and it was with reference to these movements that the great classical achievements of the science have been made. But within the last two or three decades the most striking discoveries in observational astronomy have been chiefly though by no means exclusively concerned with the physical constitution of the heavenly bodies. It is the application of the spectroscope by the labors of Dr. Huggins and others that has disclosed to some extent the material elements present in the stars, as well as in comets and the distant nebulæ. Now, however, it seems as if the spectroscope were for the future to be utilized not merely for that chemical examination of objects which is in the scope of no other method, but also as a means of advancing in a particular way our knowledge of the movements of the heavenly bodies. The results already obtained are of a striking and interesting description, and it is to their exposition and development that this article is devoted.

In the first place, it will be observed that the application of the spectroscope which we are now considering is not merely to be regarded as an improvement superseding the older methods of determining the movements of stars. It is,

It is well known that the ordinary expression, fixed star, is a misnomer, for almost every star which has been observed

deed, it is not at all likely - nay, it is infinitely improbable, that such an object as a really fixed star actually exists. When the place of a star has been accurately determined by measurements made with the meridian circle, and when, after the lapse of a number of years the place of the same star is again determined by observation, it not infrequently happens that the two places disagree. The explanation is, of course, that the star has moved in the interval. Thus the constellations are becoming gradually transformed by the movements of the several stars which form them. It is true that the movements are so slow that even in thousands of years the changes do not amount to much when regarded as a disturbance of the configuration. Thus, to take an example, we know the movements of the stars forming the Great Bear sufficiently well to be able to sketch the position of the stars as they were ten thousand years ago, or as they will be in ten thousand years to come, and though, no doubt, some distortion is shown in each of these pictures from the present lineaments of the Great Bear, yet the identity of the group is in each case well preserved.

It is, however, obvious that if a star should happen to be darting directly towards the observer or directly from him, the telescopic method of determining its movement becomes wholly inapplicable. No change in its position could be noticed. It is, no doubt, conceivable that if the distance of a star from the earth

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