Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

By way of a contrast to the pensive and romantic beauty of these lines, we have a biting satire on the follies of mankind, from a boy, apparelled in the variegated costume of pantaloon, or rather of the fool of the olden time, with his cap and bells, who has something to suit every body. While these entertainments are going on, the conservatory is stripped of all its plants, in order to make room for the supper-table, bearing. 'a supper such as the gods might share.' Song and music again give their aid to improve the festive scene, and the whole is suitably wound up in the promotion of our beautiful heroine to a ducal coronet.

Of

• But say while light these songs resound,
What means that buz of whisp'ring round,
From lip to lip,-as if the Power
Of Mystery in this gay hour,
Had thrown some secret (as we fling
Nuts among children to that ring

rosy, restless lips, to be
Thus scrambled for so wantonly?
And, mark ye, still as each reveals
The mystic news, her hearer steals
A look towards yon enchanted chair,

Where, like the Lady of the Masque,
A nymph as exquisitely fair

As Love himself for bride could ask,
Sits blushing deep, as if aware
Of the wing'd secret circling there.
Who is this nymph ? and what, oh Muse,

What, in the name of all odd things,
That woman's restless brain pursues,

What mean these mystic whisperings?
Thus runs the tale :-yon blushing maid,
Who sits in beauty's light array'd,
While o'er her leaps a tall young Dervise,
Who from her eyes, as all observe, is
Learning by heart the marriage service,
Is the bright heroine of our song,
The love-wed Pysche, whom so long
We've miss'd among this mortal train,
We thought her wing'd to heaven again.
• But no-earth still demands her smile;
Her friends, the Gods, must wait awhile.
And if, for maid of heavenly birth,

A young Duke's proffer'd heart and hand
Be things worth waiting for on earth,

Both are, this hour, at her command.
To-night in yonder half-lit shade,

For love concerns expressly meant,
The fond proposal first was made,

And love and silence blush'd consent.

Parents and friends--all here, as Jews,
Enchanters, house-maids, Turks, Hindoos-
Have heard, approv'd, and blest the tie;
And now, had'st thou a poet's eye,
Thou might'st behold, in air above
That brilliant brow, triumphant Love,
Holding, as if to drop it down
Gently upon her curls, a crown
Of ducal shape—but, oh, such gems!
Pilfer'd from Peri diadems,
And set in gold like that which shines
To deck the Fairy of the Mines:
In short, a crown all glorious—such as
Love orders when he makes a Duchess.
• But see, 'lis morn in heaven ; the sun
Up the bright orient hath begun
To canter his immortal team;

And though not yet arriv'd in sight,
His leaders' nostrils send a steam

Of radiance forth, so rosy bright

As makes their onward path all light.
What's to be done? if Sol will be
So deuced early, so must we;
And when the day thus shines outright,

Ev'n dearest friends must bid good night.'-pp. 105–108. A composition of this description is scarcely a fit subject for criticism. To say that it adds to Mr. Moore's reputation, would be an unjustifiable compliment, and one which, we presume, he would not be willing to accept. Yet it is but right to say, that if the verses be not equal to his most brilliant efforts, they are such as very few of the other minstrels of the day, (a most degenerate race), can ever expect to produce. The music is in general of a pleasing and lively character, and the subject is one of which much more might be made than either of the poets who have attempted it, have yet succeeded in doing. We have, however, been the more pleased with the present production, as it shows that Mr. Moore's muse has not quite abandoned him, although he has lately given himself up so much to the goddess of prose, and to the duties of an editor. It encourages us to hope, that he will not continue to prose all the rest of his life, and that he may still meditate and execute some poetical effort, that may sustain at its height, if not raise higher than ever, his justly celebrated name.

Art. X.-On the Phenomena of Dreams, and other Transient Illusions.

By Walter C. Dendy, M. R. Č. S. 12mo, pp. 154. London: Whittaker

& Co. 1832. The great variety and inconsistency of the theories which have been from time to time put forth, in order to explain the pheno

mena of dreaming, from one proof of the difficulty, or, we might with more justice, perhaps say the impossibility, of ever obtaining any certain knowledge upon the subject. The writers who have recorded their opinions upon the causes of dreams, have differed exceedingly in the amount of the qualifications with which they were prepared to consider this critical question. It has, however, received the attention of men of every shade of capacity: it has been viewed through every niedium that could be employed by the human mind; and yet it is too true, that those men who have been induced to express a decided opinion upon the origin of dreams, have in general only left behind them a memorial of their folly.

Whether or not the anatomical investigation of the brain be the right course to accurate information on this subject, is a question which can only be determined by the result of such an inquiry: It is, however, of importance to state, that the progress of medical science, in our own days, enables us to entertain greater hopes than ever before were justified, that there is such an intimate connection between structure and function in our frames, as to admit of a knowledge of the one being capable of facilitating the study of the other. With such an impression as this upon our minds, it is scarcely necessary for us to give a reason why we have been tempted to peruse the treatise on the Phenomena of Dreams. It is written by a member of the medical profession, and consequently excites the expectation, that it will contain the results of the latest and most skilful application of the science of anatomy. The work is indeed very small and unpretending ; but there are profound knowledge and good sense to be met with in its pages, together with many interesting facts, and very curious discussions.

Mr. Dendy, we think, would have very considerably increased the value of his book, had he given us a more copious history of the theories to which the phenomena of dreams have given rise, instead of the very imperfect account that we find in his pages. This portion of the annals of human nature forms a chapter of the most durable instruction.

As far back as we have any authentic records of man, it appears that dreaming was always a subject of his speculation. The general notion in the ancient world was, that dreams were produced by the immediate interposition of heaven, and were destined to foreshow the events of the future. True and false religion alike recognized this belief. But, amongst the pbilosophers of antiquity, there was a great diversity of opinion as to the actual process of dreaming. Some believed, that, during a dream, the soul left the body, and engaged in a flight to some distant scene, the vision of which she brought back to the dreamer. Lucretius accounted for dreams on the principle, that thoughts or ideas were material things, which, like pieces of wood or stone, may be detached from each other, and be made to strike upon the mind. Baxter, in his ·

vol. 1. (1832) No 11.

[ocr errors]

U

work on the soul, broaches a very curious opinion upon this subject. He attributes dreams to the agency of spirits, who, either for amusement or occupation, descend from their proper sphere to weave the midnight visions of poor mortals.

Physiologists, in modern times, have devoted great attention to the phenomena of dreams, and have endeavoured to account for them by a reference to the organization of our bodies. By one party it is contended, that dreams never arise until some of the organs

of sensation are excited : but, at the same time, they confess that there can be no proof that such is the case, inasmuch as the dreamer, who alone can give evidence on the point, is utterly incapable of knowing whether or not any of his sensations are excited during sleep. Others, again, have taught that dreams are the tokens of a diseased condition of the brain for the time, which they call delirium, and which, they say, occurs when we are neither asleep nor awake. A more modern theory than this, attributes drearning to the state of the nervous fluid which is supposed to have its origin in the brain, and to be distributed by the nerves. But it would be idle to follow up the details of a doctrine which is founded on acknowledged assumptions, and we shall therefore proceed to consider the view which Mr. Dendy has taken of the phenomena of dreams :

• A dream' says he, consists in a want of balance between the representative faculty and the judgment, being produced directly or indirectly by the excitement of a chain of ideas from impressions of memory, raticna! or probable, in parts, but rendered in different degrees extravagant and illusive by imperfect association.

That is to say, that when the mind's attention is not absolutely fixed by the controlling power of the will and the judgment, thoughts and ideas will rise up in it which may or may not be arranged according to any principle of order. Mr. Dendy then proceeds to elucidate his theory :

• If we grant that certain faculties or functions of the mind are the result of nervous influence, we can as readily allow that an imperfection of these manifestations shall be the sult of derangement of equilibrium of this influence, as that the material function of muscle shall be disturbed by primary or secondary disease about the brain, of which we have daily examples among the spasmodic and nervous diseases of the body.

• Although the ideas arising in slumber may truly be considered as a species of delirium, forming figures and situations of the most heterogeneous description, yet, if the most absurd dream be analysed, its constituent parts will generally be proved to consist of ideas in themselves not irra-' tional, or of sensations or incidents which have been individually felt or witnessed. Even the remembered faces and forms of our absent friends, faithful though a part of the likeness may be, are associated in circumstances of the grossest absurdity:

velut ægri somnis vanæ Fingentur species.” • As in a sick man's dream, incongruous shapes are presented."

made up

be

• The individual images in this chain may bear an intimate relationship with each other, although the first and last may appear perfectly incongruous; as the Chinese puzzle will be a chaus, if its pieces be wrongly placed.

• Impressions of memory may not perhaps appear consistent with imagination ; but on the principle I have advanced it will be found, that although the ideas excited by memory may be consistent, these ideas may, by fanciful association, become imagination, appearing on superficial view to illustrate the doctrine of innate idea. But is this doctrine proved? We may seem to imagine that which we do not remember as a whole ; but, as a curve is

of right lines—as a inass is composed of an infinity of atoms, so may it follow that what is termed innate idea, if minutely divided, may proved to arise from memory,--made up of things, however minute, which we have seen or heard of. Analysis may thus unravel many'a strange mysterious dream."

• Dr. Beattie has observed, “ Men born blind, or who have lost all remembrance of light and colours, are as capable of invention, and dream as frequently as those who see.” But these surely are imperfect data. If a person loses remembrance of individual colour, he does not lose the power of comparing or of judging variety of colour. And again, although he may be congenitally blind, yet if there be any other sense but sight through which the mind can perceive or receive external impression, the objection must fail.

• Sir Walter Scott, in his Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, informs us, that “those experienced in the education of the deaf and dumb, find that their pupils, even when cut off from all instruction by ordinary means, have been able to form, out of their own unassisted conjectures, some ideas of the existence of a deity, and of the distinction between the soul and body.” But again, may we not affirm, that, before the deaf and dumb pupil can adopt a language by which to make his preceptor sensible of his thoughts or sentiments, he must have had certain facts or knowledge imparted to him by signs or other modes of instruction. The modes of mutual understanding must first emanate from the tutor, and with these, ideas may be excited which, at first sight, may seem to be innate or unassisted. if it were possible to find a creature so wretched as to be endued with no external sense from his birth, such a being would neither dream nor think-he would lead the life almost of a Zoophyte. On the opening or restoration of his senses, all his associations would be erroneons. He might, like children, consider all bodies, however distant, within his like the idiot, draw all his figures topsy-turvy, as they are really painted on the retina. I do not reason bypothetically. The case of the patient, on whom Cheselden performed the operatiou for Cataract, was marked by phenomena which may be adduced as proving the truth of my assertion.'—

grasp, and,

pp. 39–44.

The causes which may be considered as indirectly and immediately exciting dreams, are niethodically divided by Mr. Dendy, and are dwelt upon by him with learning and ingenuity. His notions, with respect to the pre-disposing cause of dreams, remarkably prove the justice of our assertion. The author assumes, as a generally-admitted principle, that the great development of the front part of

« НазадПродовжити »