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exhibited the passions and propensities, the feelings and emotions, incident to humanity, so freely, and as we might say graphically, that another such artist would be superfluous : Nature might create a second Shakspeare, but it would be bad economy. What the first has left undone, may be completed by a much less expense of Promethean fire than would go to the creation of a second. We are therefore not to look for a similar being, at least until we acquire new attributes, or are under a new moral dispensation. Spirits of an inferior order, a Milton, a Pope, or a Cowper, are potent enough to disseminate the remaining or minor truths of natural morality amongst the people; or rather to repeat, illustrate, and impress them on our hearts and memories. Writers of this class, whom we may call the lay-ministers of the Deity, to teach from the press instead of the pulpit, in the closet instead of the church, we may expect; and with them should be satisfied. Though we cannot reasonably hope for another high-prophet of profane inspiration to re-communicate to us the lessons of divine wisdom which are already to be found in Shakspeare, it is no presumption to hope that the spirit of illumination will descend upon humbler poets, and make them our secular guides in morality.”—London Mag., Oct. 1, 1824.
The same remark as the above will be seen in the following quotation. The reader will also do well to consult the opinions of some eminent writers on the Sectional leaves.
“It is quite impossible to estimate the benefits which this country has received from the eternal productions of Shakspeare. Their influence has been gradual, but prodigious—operating at first on the loftier intellects, but becoming in time diffused over all, spreading wisdom and charity amongst us. There is, perhaps, no one person of any considerable rate of mind who does not owe something to this matchless poet. He is the teacher of all good,
-pity, generosity, true courage, love. His works alone (leaving mere science out of the question) contain, probably, more actual wisdom than the whole body of English learning. He is the text for the moralist and the philosopher. * His bright wit is cut out ‘into little stars;' his solid masses of knowledge are meted out in morsels and proverbs; and thus distributed, there is scarcely a corner which he does not illuminate, or a cottage which he does not enrich. His bounty is like the sea, which, though often unacknowledged, is everywhere felt; on mountains and plains, and distant places, carrying its cloudy freshness through the air, making glorious the heavens, and spreading verdure on the earth beneath.”— Retrosp. Review.
It is with infinite satisfaction that I am borne out in my opinion of the nature of this work, by a similar remark of Coleridge. He says,
“I greatly dislike beauties and selections in general; but as proof positive of his unrivalled excellence, I should like to try Shakspeare by this criterion. Make out your amplest catalogue of all the human faculties, as reason or the moral law, the will, the feeling of the coincidence of the two (a feeling sui generis et demonstratio demonstrationum), called
* And it might be added, for the statesman, poet, and painter.
the conscience, the understanding or prudence, wit fancy, imagination, judgment,--and then of the objects on which these are to be employed, as the beauties, the terrors, and the seeming caprices, of nature, the realities, and the capabilities, that is, the actual and the ideal, of the human mind, conceived as an individual or as a social being, as in innocence or in guilt, in a play-paradise, or in a war-field of temptation; and then compare with Shakspeare, under each of these heads, all or any of the writers in prose and verse that have ever lived. Who that is competent to judge doubts the result ?”-Lit. Remains, vol. ii. p. 68.
Of the Second Edition it may be sufficient to state that in the Sections of Moral Philosophy, Paintings of Nature, Aphorisms, and Miscellaneous, the allied passages have been generally brought together, making thereby a re-arrangement of these; that one new Section, Modern Character, has been added ; and that the Paintings of Nature, Aphorisms, and Miscellaneous Passages have been considerably increased:
b. Inferior and Trifling Characters
f. Modern Characters
[The numerals refer to the page, and the letters which precede them
to the sections; as M. Moral Philosophy; P. Paintings of Nature;
Ability, P. 419.
Agincourt, Ms. 558.
Ambition, M. 127, 128; P. 419;
Anger, M. 130; P. 408, 425 ; Ap.
Adoption, M. 107.
Advantage, Ap. 431.
Angling, P. 308.
Advantages of —, M. 105.
Apathy, M. 110.
Adversity, M. 96, 97; Ap. 432. Appearances, M. 37, 68; P. 412.
Advice to young men, M. 22, 23. Apprehension, P. 399.
females, M. 23, Arrogance, M. 63.
Arthur, death of Prince, Ms. 548.
a son, Ms. 571.
Ascendancy, female, M. 27.
Affection, P. 413; Ap. 432. Assignation, P. 352.
Attachment, P. 413.
false, M. 29.
Attention, M. 104.
natural, M. 28.
Authority, M. 61; P. 416; Ap.
Affliction, M. 93; P. 379.
Autumn, P. 287.
Avarice, M. 129.
Bad doings, P. 427.
Cæsar, Ms. 547.
-- and tears, P. 393.
fidelity, M. 26.
333; Ap. 409.
Consideration, M. 104, 105.
ill-timed, M. 16.
P. 400; Ap. 442.