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most of us; when we go out into the " Another inconvenience, attend. world, find difficulties in our way, ing private education, is the supprcs. which good principles and innocence sing of the principle of emulation, alone will not qualify us to encoun- without which it rarely happens that ter ; we must have some address and a boy prosecutes his' studies with alaknowledge of the world different crity or success. I have heard prie from what is to be learned in books, vate tutors complain, that they were or we shall soon be puzzled, disheart. obliged to have recourse to flattery ened, or disgusted. The founda- or bribery to engage the attention of tion of this knowledge is laid in the their pupil ; and I need not observe intercourse of school boys, or at least how improper it is to set the examof young men of the same age. ple of such practices before children. When a boy is always under the di True emulation, especially in young rection of a parent or tutor, he ac- and ingenuous minds, is a noble prinquires such a habit of looking up to ciple ; I have known the happiest them for advice, that he never learns effects produced by it ; I never knew to think or act for himself; his me. it to be productive of any vice. In mory is exercised, indeed, in retain- all public schools it is, or ought to ing their advice, but his invention is be, carefully cherished. Where it is suffered to languish, till at last it wanting, in vain shall we preach up becomes totally inactive. He knows, to children the dignity and utility of perhaps, a great deal of history or knowledge : the true appetite for science ; but he knows not how to knowledge is wanting ; and when conduct himself on those ever-change that is the case, whatever is crammed ing emergencies, which are too mi. into the memory will rather surfeit nute and too numerous to be com- and enfeeble, than improve the unprehended in any system of advice. derstanding. I do not mention the He is astonished at the most common pleasure which young people take in appearances, and discouraged with the company of one another, and the most trifling (because unexpect. what a pity it is to deprive them of ed) obstacles; and he is often at his it. I need not remark, that friend. wits end, where a boy of much less ships of the utmost stability and im. knowledge, but more experience, portance have often been founded on would instantly devise a thousand school-acquaintance; nor need I put expedients. Conscious of his own you in mind, of what vast consesuperiority in some things, he won. quence to health are the exercises ders to find himself so much inferior and amusements which boys contrive in others; his vanity meets with con. for themselves. I shall only observe tinual rubs and disappointments, and further, that, when boys pursue their disappointed vanity is very apt to de- studies at home, they are apt to congenerate into sullenness and pride; tract either a habit of idleness, or he despises, or affects to despise, his too close an attachment to reading ; fellows, because, though superior in the former breeds innumerable disaddress, they are inferior in know. eases, both in the body and soul ; the ledge; and they, in their turn, de- latter, by filling young and tender spise that knowledge, which cannot minds with more knowledge than teach the owner how to beliave on they can either retain or arrange prothe most common occasions. Thus perly, is apt to make them superficial he keeps at a distance froin his e. and inattentive, or, what is worse, to quals, and they at a distance from strain, and consequently impair, the him : and mutual contempt is the na- faculties, by over-stretching them. tural consequence.
I have known several instances of
both. The human mind is more im- will also disqualify him the more, proved by thoroughly understanding both for supporting it with dignity, one science, one part of a science, or and also for defending himself aeven one subject, than by a superti- gainst it. Suppose him to be sbockcial knowledge of twenty sciences and ed with vice at its first appearance, a hundred different subjects : and I and often to call to mind the good would rather wish my son to be tho. precepts he received in his early roughly master of “ Euclid's Ele. days, yet when he sees others daily ments," than to have the whole of adventuring upon it without any ap“ Chambers' Dictionary” by heart. parent inconvenience; when he sees
“ The great inconvenience of pub- them more gay (to appearance,) and lic education arises from its being better received among all their acdangerous to morals. And indeed quaintance than he is; and when he every condition and period of human finds himself hooted at, and in a life is liable to temptation. Nor manner avoided and despised, on açwill I deny, that our innocence, du- count of his singularity; it is a wonring the first part of life, is much der, indeed, if he persist in his first more secure at home, than any where resolutions, and do not now at last else: yet even at home, when we begin to think, that though his forreach a certain age, it is not perfect. mer teachers were well meaning peo. ly secure. Let young men be kept at ple, they were by no means qualified the greatest distance from bad com- to prescribe rules for his conduct. pany, it will not be easy to keep “ The world (he will say) is chani hem from bad books, to which, in ged since their time (and you will not these days, all persons may have ea- easily persuade young people that it sy access at all times. Let us, how- changes for the worse :) we must ever, suppose the best ; that both comply with the fashion, and live bad books and bad company keep a- like other folks, otherwise we must way, and tbat the young man never give up all hopes of making a figure leaves his parents' or tutor's side, till in it.” And when he has got thus his mind be well furnished with good far, and begins to despise the opiprinciples; and himself arrived at the nions of his instructors, and to be age of reflection and caution: yet dissatisfied with their conduct in re. temptations must come at last; and gard to him, I need not add, that when they come, will they have the the worst consequences may not unless strength, because they are new, reasonably be apprehended. A young unexpected, and surprising ? I fear man, kept by himself at home, is ne. not. The more the young man is ver well known, even by his parents: surprised, the more apt will be be to because he is never placed in those lose his presence of mind, and conse- circumstances which alone are able quently the less capable of self-go. effectually to rouse aad interest his vernment. Besides, if his passions passions, and consequently to make are strong, he will be disposed to his character appear. His parents, form comparisons between his past therefore, or tutors, never know bis state of restraiņt, and his present of weak side, nor what particular ad. liberty, very much to the disadvaa- vices or cautions he stands most in tage of the former. His new asso- need of: whereas, if he had attended ciates will laugh at him for his re- a public school, and mingled in the serve and preciseness : and his unac- amusements and pursuits of his equaintance with their manners, and quals, his virtues and his vices would with the world, as it will render him have been disclosing themselves every the more obnoxious to their ridicule, day; and his teachers would have
known what particular precepts and been told, that the inhabitants of examples it was most expedient to some parts of the Alps do also lay inculcate upon him. Compare those claim to a sort of second-sight: 'and who have had a public education I believe the same superstition, or with those who have been educated something like it, may be found in at home; and it will not be found, in many other countries, where the face fact, that the latter are, either in of nature, and the solitary life of the virtue or in talents, superior to the natives, tend to impress the imagina. former. I speak, Madam, from ob. tion with melancholy. The High'servation of fact, as well as from at. lands of Scotland are a picturesque, tending to the nature of the thing." but gloomy region. Long tracts of
solitary mountaios covered with SECOND SIGHT,
heath and rocks, and often obscured “ The book of second-sight has by mist; narrow vallies, thinly innot, I fear. given you much enter- habited, and bounded by precipices tainment. The tales are ill-told, and that resound for ever with the fall of ill.clrosen, and the language so bar. torrents; a soil so rugged, and a cli. barous as to be in many places unin- mate so dreary, as to admit neither telligible, even to a Scotoman. I have the amusements of pasturage, nor heard many
better stories of the se. the chearful toils of agriculture; the cond-sight, than any this author, has mournful dashing of waves along the given, attested by such persons, and friths and lakes that every where in. accompanied by such circumstances, tersect this country; the portentous as to preclude contradiction, though sounds, which every change of the not suspicion. All our Highlanders wind, and every increase and diminubelieve in this second-õight: but the tion of the waters, is apt to raise in instances, in which it is said to oper- a region full of rocks and hollow ate, are generally so ambiguous, and cliffs and caverns ; the grotesque and the revelations supposed to be com. ghasily appearance of such a land. municated by it so frivolous, that I scape, especially by the light of the cannot bring myself to acquiesce in moon ;-objects like these diffuse it. Indeed this same historian has an habitual gloom over the fancy, and made me more incredulous than I give it that romaniic cast, that dispowas before ; for his whole book be- ses to invention, and that melancho'trays an excess of folly and weak- ly which inclines one to the fear of ness. Were its revelations important I unseen things and unknown events. should be less inclined to unbelief: It is observable too, that the antient but to suppose the Deity working a Scottish Highlanders had scarce any miracle in order to announce a mar. other way of supporting themselves, riage, or the arrival of a poor stran- than by hunting, fishing, or
war ; ger, or the making of a coffin, would professions, that are continually ex. require such evidence as has not yet posed to the most fatal accidents.-attended any of these tales, and is Thus, almost every circumstance in indeed what scarce any kind of their lot tended to rouse and terrify evidence could make one suppose - the imagination. Accordingly, their These communications are all made poetry is uniformly mournful; their to the ignorant, the superstitious, music melancholy and dreadful, and and generally to the young; I never their superstitions are all of the heard a man of learning, sense, or ob- gloomy kind. The fairies confined servation, that was favoured with their gambols to the Lowlands ; the any of them; a strong presumption mountains were haunted with giants, against their credebility. I have and angry ghosts, and funeral proces.
sions, and other prodigies of direful dreams of a man who had never stuimport. That a people, beset with
died nature. such real and imaginary bugbears, What is the reason, Madam, that should fancy themselves dreaming, the poetry, and indeed the whole even when awake, of corpses, and phraseology, of the eastern nations graves, and coffins, and other terrible (and I believe the same thing holds things, seems natural crough ; but of all uncultivated nations) is so full that their visions ever tended to any of glaring images, exaggerated metareal or useful discovery, I am much phors, and gigantic descriptions? Is inclined to doubt. Not that I mean it, because that, in those countries to deny the existence of ghosts, or where art has made little progress, to call in question the accounts of nature shoots forth into wilder mag. extraordinary revelations, granted to nificence, and every thing appears to individuals, with which both his. be constructed on a larger scale ? Is tory and tradition abound. But in it, that the language, through defect all cases, where such accounts are of copiousness, is obliged to adopt entitled to credit, or supported by metaphor and similitude, even for extolerable evidence, it will be found, pressing the most obvious sentithat they referred to something which ments ? Is it, that the ignorance it concerned men io know; the over- and indolence of such people, unihrow of kingdoms, the death of friendly to liberty, disposts them to great persons, the detection of atro- regard their governors as of supernacious crimes, or the preservation of tural dignity, and to decorate them important lives.
with the most pompous and high
sounding titles, the frequent use of ORIENTAL POLTRY,
which comes at last to infect their I have never seen Mr Jones's imi. whole conversation wrih bombast? tations of the Asiatic poetry. From Or is it, that the passions of those what you say of them, I am sure people are really stronger, and their they will entertain me ; though I am climate more luxuriant? Perhaps all entirely of your opinion, that, if they those causes may conspire in produhad been translations, they would cing this effect. Certain it is, that have been much more valuable, and Europe is much indebted, for her the more literal the better. Such style and manner of composition, to things deserve attention, not so much her ancient authors, particularly to for the amusement they yield to the those of Greece, by whose example fancy, as for the knowledge thay and authority that simple and natuconvey of the minds and manners of ral diction was happily established, the people among whom they are which all our best authors of suc. produced. To those who have feel- ceeding times have been ambitious to ings, and are capable of observation, imitate ; but whence those ancient that poetical expression and descrip. Greck authors derived it, whether tion will be most agreeable, which from imitating other authors, still corresponds most, exactly to their more ancient, or from the operation own experience. I cannot sympathise of physical éauses, or from the nature with passions I never felt ; and when of their languagė, particularly its unobjects are described in colours, rivalled copiousness and Aexibility; shapes, and proportions, quite unlike or from some unaccountable and peto what I have been accustomed to, culiar delicacy in their taste ; or from I suspect that the descriptions are the force of their genius," that, connot just, and that it is not nature scious of its own vigour, despised all that is presented to my view, but the adventitious support, and all foreign Sept. 1806.
ornament-it is not perhaps easy to dining at Richmond, we all returned determine.
to town about eight o'clock. This
day I had a great deal of conversaSOLITUDE,
tion with Sir Joshua Reynolds' on In my younger days, I was much critical and philosophical subjects. attached to solitude, and could have I find him to be a man, not only of envied even the " shepherd of the excellent este in painting and poetry, “ Hebride isles, placed far amid the but of an enlarged understanding, “ melancholy main." I wrote Odes and truly philosophical mind. His to. Retireinent ; and wished to be notions of painting are not at all the conducted to its deepest groves, re. same with those that are entertained mote from every rude sound, and by the generality of painters and from every vagrant foot. In a word, critics. Artificial and contrasted ai. I thought the most profound solitude titudes, and groupes, he makes no the best. But I have now changed account of; it is the truth and simmy mind.' Those solemn and ioces- plicity of nature, which he is ambie sant energies of imagination, which iious to imitate; and these, it must naturally take place in such a state, be allowed, he possesses the art of are fatal to the health and spirits, blending with the most exquisite and tend to make us more and more grace, the most animated expression. unfit for the business of life: the He speaks with contempt of those, soul, deprived of those ventilations of who suppose grace to consist in erect passion, which arise from social in. posture, turned-out toes, or the friptercourse, is reduced to, a state of pery of modern dress. Indeed, stagnation, and, if she is not of a ve. whatever account
we inake of the iy pure consistence indeçd, will be colouring of this great artist, (which apt to breed within herself many some people object to) it is impossi- monstrous, and many prodigious ble to deny him the praise of being things,” of which she will find it no
designer of this, or easy matter to rid herself, even when perhaps of any age. In his pictures she has become sensible of their nox. there is a grace, a variety, an expres. ious nature.
sion, a simplicity, which I have never
seen in the works of any other paint. SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
His portraits are distinguished Sunday, 15th August, we propo. from all others, by this, that they posed (Dr and Mrs Beattie) to have exbibit an exact imitation, not only gone yesterday to Arno's Grove, but of the features, but also of the chaSir Joshua insisted on it, that we racter of the person represented.should stay till tomorrow, and par. His picture of Garrick, between tratake of a haunch of venison with him gedy and comedy, he tells me, he to-day, at his house on Richmond finished in a week.” Hill. Accordingly, at eleven, Mrs Beattie, Miss Reynolds, Mr Baretti,
LORD LYTTELTON. and Mr Palmer, set out in Sir Jo. Mrs Montagu is greatly afflicted shua's coach for Richmond. At at the death of our great and good twelve, he and I went in a postfriend, Lord Lyttleton. This event chaise, and by the way paid a visit was unexpected; it is little better to the Bishop of Chester, who was than a fortnight, since I received a very earnest for us to fix a day for very kind letter from him. The loss dining with him : but I could not to his friends, and to society, is unfix one just now, on account of the speakable, and irreparable: to bimpresent state of my affairs. After. self his death is infinite gain ; for