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water, their frolics in it-which I have noticed a thousand times with equal attention and amusement--all conduce to shew their excess of spirits, and are simply the effects of that excess. Walking by the sea-side in a calm evening upon a sandy shore, and with an ebbing tide, I have frequently remarked the appearance of a dark cloud, or rather very thick mist, hanging over the edge of the water, to the height, perhaps, of half a yard, and of the breadth of two or three yards, stretching along the coast as far as the eye could reach, and always retiring with the water. When this cloud came to be examined, it proved to be nothing else than so much space filled with young shrimps in the act of bounding into the air from the shallow margin of the water, or from the wet sand. If any motion of a mute animal could express delight, it was this; if they had meant to make signs of their happiness, they could not have done it more intelligibly. Suppose, then, what I have no doubt of, each individual of this number to be in a state of positive enjoyment; what a sum, collectively, of gratification and pleasure have we here before our view!
The young of all animals appear to me to receive pleasure simply from the exercise of their limbs and bodily faculties, without reference to any end to be attained, or any use to be answered by the exertion. A child, without knowing anything of the use of language, is in a high degree delighted with being able to speak. Its incessant repetition of a few articulate sounds, or perhaps of the single word which it has learned to pronounce, proves this point clearly. Nor is it less pleased with its first successful endeavours to walk, or rather to run—which precedes walkingalthough entirely ignorant of the importance of the attainment to its future life, and even without applying it to any present purpose. A child is delighted with speaking, without having anything to say; and with walking, without knowing where to go. And, prior to both these, I am disposed to believe that the waking-hours of infancy are agreeably taken up with the exercise of vision, or perhaps, more properly speaking, with learning to see.
But it is not for youth alone that the great Parent of creation hath provided. Happiness is found with the purring cat no less than with the playful kitten; in the arm-chair of dozing age, as well as in either the sprightliness of the dance, or the animation of the chase. To novelty, to acuteness of sensation, to hope, to ardour of pursuit, succeeds what is, in no inconsiderable degree, an equivalent for them all, “perception of ease.' Herein is the exact difference between the young and the old. The young are not happy but when enjoying pleasure ; the old are happy when free from pain. And this constitution suits with the degrees of animal power which they respectively possess.
RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN: 1751-1816.
Sheridan, an eminent orator in the House of Commons, is distinguished as
a dramatist. His chief works are the comedies of The Rivals ; The School for Scandal, his greatest work, and the finest comedy of our later literature; The Camp; The Duenna; and The Critic.
A SENSITIVE AUTHOR. From The Critic.
DANGLI, SNEER, SIR FRETFUL PLAGIARY. Dan. Ah, my dear friend! We were just speaking of your tragedy. Admirable, Sir Fretful, admirable!
Sneer. You never did anything beyond it, Sir Fretful; never in your life.
Sir F. Sincerely, then, you do like the piece ?
Sir F. But, come, now, there must be something that you think might be mended, eh ? Mr Dangle, has nothing struck you ?
Dan. Why, faith, it is but an ungracious thing for the most part to
Sir F. With most authors it is just so, indeed ; they are in general strangely tenacious; but, for my part, I am never so well pleased as when a judicious critic points out any defect to me; for what is the purpose of shewing a work to a friend if you don't mean to profit by his opinion?
Sneer. Very true. Why, then, though I seriously admire the piece upon the whole, yet there is one small objection which, if you 'll give me leave, I'll mention.
Sir F. Sir, you can't oblige me more.
Sir F. Believe me, Mr Sneer, there is no person for whose judgment I have a more implicit deference; but I protest to you, Mr Sneer, I am only apprehensive that the incidents are too crowded. My dear Dangle, how does it strike you ?
Dan. Really, I can't agree with my friend Sneer. I think the plot quite sufficient; and the four first acts by many degrees the best I ever read or saw in my life. If I might venture to suggest anything, it is that the interest rather falls off in the fifth.
Sir F. Rises, I believe you mean, sir-
Sir F. Yes, yes, you do, upon my soul ; it certainly don't fall off, I assure you; no, no, it don't fall off.
Dan. Well, Sir Fretful, I wish you may be able to get rid as easily of the newspaper criticisms as you do of ours.
Sir F. The newspapers! sir, they are the most villainous, licentious, abominable, infernal—not that I ever read them; no, I make it a rule never to look into a newspaper.
Dan. You are quite right; for it certainly must hurt an author of delicate feelings to see the liberties they take.
Sir F. No; quite the contrary; their abuse is, in fact, the best panegyric ; I like it of all things. An author's reputation is only in danger from their support.
Sneer. Why, that's true; and that attack, now, on you the other day
Sir F. What? where ?
Dan. Ay! you mean in a paper of Thursday; it was completely ill-natured, to be sure.
Sir F. Oh! so much the better ; ha, ha, ha! I wouldn't have it otherwise.
Dan. Certainly, it is only to be laughed at, for
Sir F. You don't happen to recollect what the fellow said, do you ?
Sneer. Pray, Dangle, Sir Fretful seems a little anxious
Sir F. O no! Anxious, not I, not the least-1-but one may as well hear, you know.
Dan. Sneer, do you recollect? [Aside to SNEER.] Make out something
Sneer. [Aside to DANGLE.) I will. [Aloud.] Yes, yes, I remember perfectly.
Sir F. Well, and pray now-not that it signifies—what might the gentleman say?
Sneer. Why, he roundly asserts that you have not the slightest invention or original genius whatever, though you are the greatest traducer of all other authors living.
Sir F. Ha, ha, ha! Very good!
Sneer. That as to comedy, you have not one idea of your own, he believes, even in your commonplace-book, where stray jokes and pilfered witticisms are kept with as much method as the ledger of the Lost and Stolen Office.
Sir F. Ha, ha, ha! Very pleasant.
Sneer. Nay, that you are so unlucky as not to have the skill even to steal with taste; but that you glean from the refuse of obscure volumes, where more judicious plagiarists have been before you; so that the body of your work is a composition of dregs and sediments, like a bad tavern's worst wine.
Sir F. Ha, ha!
Sneer. In your more serious efforts, he says, your bombast would be less intolerable if the thoughts were ever suited to the expressions; but the homeliness of the sentiment stares through the fantastic incumbrance of its fine language, like a clown in one of the new uniforms.
Sir F. Ha, ha!
Sneer. That your occasional tropes and flowers suit the general coarseness of your style, as tambour sprigs would a ground of linsey-Woolsey; while your imitations of Shakspeare resemble the mimicry of Falstaff's page, and are about as near the standard of the original.
Sir F. Ha!
Sneer. In short, that even the finest passages you steal are of no service to you; for the poverty of your own language prevents their assimilating, so that they lie on the surface like lumps of marl on a barren moor, incumbering what it is not in their power to fertilise.
Sir F. [After great agitation.] Now, another person would be vexed at this.
Sneer. Oh! but I wouldn't have told you, only to divert you.
Sir F. I know it. I am diverted-ha, ha, ha! not the least invention! ha, ha, ha!-very good, very good !
Sneer. Yes; no genius! ha, ha, ha!
Dan. A severe rogue, ha, ha, ha!--but you are quite right, Sir Fretful, never to read such nonsense.
Sir F. To be sure; for if there is anything to one's praise, it is a foolish vanity to be gratified at it; and if it is abuse, why one is always sure to hear of it from some good-natured friend or other!
DUGALD STEWART: 1753-1828..
Dugald Stewart, one of the most attractive of all philosophical writers, was
Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. His chief works are Philosophy of the Human Mind, Outlines of Moral Philosophy, and Philosophical Essays.
ON THE PLEASURES OF IMAGINATION.
From Philosophical Essays.
In what manner Imagination may be encouraged and cherished in a mind where it had previously made little appearance, may be easily conceived from what was stated in a former Essay, with respect to the peculiar charm which sometimes accompanies the pleasures produced by its ideal combinations, when compared with the corresponding realities in nature and in human life. The eager curiosity of childhood, and the boundless gratification which it is so easy to afford it by well-selected works of fiction, give, in fact, to education a stronger purchase, if I may use the expression, over this faculty, than what it possesses over any other. The attention may be thus insensibly seduced from the present objects of the senses, and the thoughts accustomed to dwell on the past, the distant, or the future ; and in the same proportion in which this effect is in any instance accomplished, the man,' as Dr Johnson has justly remarked, 'is exalted in the scale of intellectual being. The tale of fiction will probably be soon laid aside with the toys and rattles of infancy; but the habits which it has contributed to fix, and the powers which it has brought into a state of activity, will remain with the possessor, permanent and inestimable treasures, to his latest hour. To myself, this appears the most solid advantage to be gained from fictitious composition, considered as an engine of early instruction ; I mean, the attractions which it holds out for encouraging an intercourse with the authors best fitted to invigorate and enrich the imagination, and to quicken whatever is dormant in the sensibility to beauty; or, to express myself still more plainly, the value of the incidents seems to me to arise chiefly from their tendency to entice the young readers into that fairyland of poetry, where the scenes of romance are laid.-Nor is it to the young alone