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thought. According to the passions or subjects which occupy the mind, will be the play of feature, or the movement of the body.
“ We might almost suppose the body thought.” To this species is intimately allied the inspiration of poetical fancy.
• The train of ideas is peculiarly expressive of this form of reverie, as also of the dream; and the works of the painters who have illustrated the fantasia of themselves or others, often represent something of this regular series of objects. I would offer as an instance, the sketch of the dream of Queen Catherine of Arragon, by Blake, –a legion of spirits, who seem to emanate from the celestial abode, and to descend, in a waving line, until they may surround the person of the dreamer.'-pp. 99-101.
The power of keeping the mind abstracted from objects that claim its attention through the medium of the senses, is a form of reveries which has been met with amongst philosophers. Thus Archimedes went on with his problem, at Syracuse, during the very thickest of the sanguinary siege. Mr. Dendy believes that those triumphs of mental power, which are said to have been achieved by certain eminent persons when asleep, were produced at a time when they were influenced merely by a reverie, and that the success which they thus attained, is to be attributed to the removal of all distractions, and to the concentration of all their faculties to a given subject. As an illustration of the working of this process of mental concentration, Mr. Dendy mentions the perfection to which those who have been deprived of one sense, are able to bring some other one.
* For instance,' says he,' the fineness of ear, and the delicacy of touch possessed by the blind, as illustrated by the cases of Miss M'Avoy, of the late Mr. Stanley the organist, of Professor Sanderson, and others :--and the astonishing perfection of memory in the instance of the blind girl, related by Mr. Mouchart in the Psychological Magazine. On this principle, too, , we may account for the
Ruling passion strong in death," when every other idea had ceased to influence.*
It is on this account, too, that the excitement of terror which had taken full possession of the mind by the aid of wild imagination in the dark, is lessened by any sound or sight which presents an object to the faculty of perception. For instance, the sudden glimmer of a light, or the barking of a dog, or the almost instinctive effort of the schoolboy,
“ Whistling aloud to keep his courage up."--pp. 109, 110. Spectral illusions and second sight are treated by Mr. Dendy with the most decided contempt, at least so far as they pretend to any credit. There is scarcely any instance of spectral appearance,
* *The right hand of Benjamin West, of which I saw a model at Lord de Tabley's, appeared to have taken that form in which it was wont to hold the pencil; whether this was a convulsive action in inuscles constantly so exerted, or the indication of this solemn and last reverie, I leave to others to determine.'
or of the exercise of second sight, which may not be shown to be delusive. An increase of sensibility in the retina will produce a perception, or rather impression, of fiying gnats before the eye, as forcibly as if these insects were really floating in the field of vision. This is quite enough to explain any case of supposed supernatural visitation. The wonder is, that so few whose eyes are affected with disease, and who have such vivid representations in their minds of objects that are certainly not within their view, should not in greater numbers or more frequently be confounded with spectral terrors. Blake, the late eccentric artist, has affirmed, that Edward the First sat bodily before him for his picture, which would have been painted to the life, were it not for the sudden appearance of Sir William Wallace in the study, which completely disconcerted the artist and his guest. Hoole gives a very interesting account of the effects of the delusion which exercised so much influence over the mind of Tasso. This illustrious poet led a considerable portion of his life under the conviction that he was watched, and often accompanied, by a familiar spirit. Still there are cases where a knowledge of the future may be said to be conferred, in an extraordinary manner, and for purposes which are very consistent with the motives that are said to be the cause of imparting it.
• There are, however, visions prophetic of dissolution, which we can beJieve without the aid of mysterious agency. When the northern Indian isstretched on the torture, the combination of agony, of belief, and of hope, present him with the most vivid pictures of the blessed regions of the Kitchi Manitou. And the faithful mussulman, bigoted to his creed, may, in the agonies of death, feel convinced that his enchanted sight is blessed by the beautiful Houris in Mahomet's paradise. • In that awful moment, when the spirit is
“ Soon from his cell of clay,
To burst a seraph in the blaze of day," the mind is prone to yield to those feelings, which it might, perhaps, in the turmoil of the living world, and at another period, deem superstition. There is something in the approach of death, of so holy and solemn a nature-something so unlike life in the feeling of the dying, that in this transition, although we cannot compass the mystery, some vision of another world may steal over the retiring spirit, imparting to it a proof of its immortality. It is on the verge of eternity, and the laws and principles of vitality may be already repealed by the Being who conferred them ; the arguments, then, regarding the phenomena of life may fail, when life has all but ceased. In some cases of little children, this unearthly, or at least unusual, feeling, has caused them to anticipate their dissolution. In other cases, some oppressive or morbid cause of insanity may be removed by the moribund condition. I would adduce, in illustration, the case of the insane woman of Zurich, mentioned by Zimmerman, who, a few hours before her death, became perfectly sensible, and wonderfully eloquent." The case recorded by Dr. Percival, of a female idiot who died about the age of thirty-five, of consumption, who evinced great powers of intellect previous to dissolution. That also, related by Dr. Marshall, of the maniac who became completely rational some hours previous to his death. This case, indeed, seems inexplicable by mere physical causes, as more than a pint of effused serum was discovered beneath the membranes and in the ventricles of the brain.'-pp. 128-130.
Trance, the last form of transient illusion noticed by Mr. Dendy, is the name for that suspension of the animal functions which may either be entire or partial. The feature that characterizes trance or catalepsy most signally, is, that the patient, notwithstanding the state of disturbance by which he is utterly prostrated, is, in the greater number of instances never deprived of his consciousness ; and hence we are always sure of receiving from him, on recovery, the minute history of the scenes through which he passed, in imagination. The peculiar state of the patient, who is affected with trance, suggests an important caution with respect to the period of inhumation in all cases of doubtful death. There is great reason to apprehend that premature interment has been effected in some countries where science has not revealed all the objections to such a practice. One story sets forth the case of a lady, who, being supposed to be dead, was placed on a surgeon's table for the purposes of inspection. She manifested some unequivocal signs of vitality,--the surgeon revived her, cherished, and afterwards married her. Some observations of Mr. Dendy's upon this subject are curious, as well as instructive.
• It is a problem not to be solved, the enquiry at what moment would the mind cease to influence the body, if there be no recovery from the trance? It is not at the moment when the body seems dead, for consciousness may be for a time suspended by mere cold, but at that point, unknown to us, at which the spark goes out—when the vital principle is not excitable—when not even the irritability, the vis insita of Haller remains. Beyond this—of the transit of an immaterial spirit, as of the doctrine of final causes, and the endeavour to reconcile the apparent paradox, the omniscience of the Deity with the free-agency of the creature, although convinced of the sublime truth, we know nothing.
• In the milder cases of lethargy, which we see in plethoric and indolent persons, these may usually be roused from their stupor, but the faculties continue imperfeci, and they relapse speedily into their former state.
• The most interesting circumstance in the trance, is the power maining for so long a time without the supply of food.
• We know, however, that in natural sleep, the functions of the body are impeded, or, to a degree, impaired. Among the rest, digestion is suspended, or at least imperfect, although the experiment of Professor Harwood with the dogs may appear, at first, to prove the contrary,
Sleep, then, may be considered a state of debility, like the slender vitality of infants, who, even in a state of health, seem frequently scarcely to breathe. The circulation is materially influenced in sleep, the pulse being slower and more feeble than during waking; the relaxation of the cutaneous vessels inducing frequent perspiration, especially in debilitated systems, and in the last stages of adynamic fevers. With this imperfection
of function, there is a corresponding inaction; thus, as there is little waste of the system, there is no necessity for repletion : vitality can be supported by a very inconsiderable action of the heart, a very minute current of blood.
Somewhat analogous to this state is the torpidity of the marmot and dormouse, and other hibernating animals. Their activity has been chilled, and, therefore, the necessity for food has ceased; the absorption of fat, proved by their becoming attenuated, being sufficient for the supply of this slight want.
• In the trance, then, there is no active corporeal power, and the function of the brain is suspended. That this function tends much to exhaust the body, is proved by the obesity of thoughtless people, of children, and of some idiots ; in contrast with the wan visage of the philosopher, who, like
“ Yon Cassius, has a lean and hungry look." In addition to these proofs, I may allege, the little food that idiots require, the infrequency of their sleep being also accounted for, the inertness and apathy of the brain preventing fatigue. In very old persons these relative deficiencies are daily presented to our notice.
• The body of the cataleptic patient, in short, approaches the condition of less complex animal life, in which there appears a much greater simplicity of organization; and we well know, as we descend in the scale of creation, towards the cold blooded, single-hearted animals, and especially if we reach the zoophyte, in how exact a proportion to this simplicity of structure, is the tenacity of life increased. As somnambulism may result from redundancy of nervous energy, trance and catalepsy, as well as incubus, seem to arise from an inefficient secretion or supply of this quality, in whatever it may consist, or an impediment to its transmission from the sensorium to the expansion of a nerve. Thus the motive power of a muscle is, in these diseases, suspended, which, in paralysis, may be
perma. nently impaired or destroyed.
' In all these instances of trance, catalepsy, lethargy, and incubus, as well as asphyxia, we may assign as one great cause of this deficient energy of brain and nerves, the congestion of venous Llood about the brain, and in the right side of the heart. This is the condition of those who die in a state of asphyxia, in which, however, there is a total stagnation of blood, while in trance and catalepsy, circulation is reduced to an extreme of lentor without its total cessation.'--pp. 146-151.
We are sure that our readers will join with us in admiring the spirit of true philosophy, the extensive information, the acute discrimination, and faculty of lucid expression which Mr. Dendy has brought to the investigation of one of the most important enquiries which can engage the hnman mind. Nevertheless, we must in justice observe, that the work is by a great deal too imperfect to obtain our unqualified approbation : and we are the more disposed to be understood upon this point, inasmuch as we hope that our remonstrance may have the effect of stimulating Mr. Dendy to apply the remedy himself, by a larger undertaking. We could refer to many material topics, intimately connected with the great subject of his work,
which have been wholly avoided by him. We see no allusion in it, for instance, to the process of dreaming in the lower animals, to the belief in dreams, inculcated by many facts in the Old and New Testament. Again, the omission of all mention of the illusion of magnetism, must be considered as a very great imperfection in such a book as this.
Art. XI.-1. Romance and Reality. By L. E. L., Author of “The
Improvisatrice,” &c. &c. In three volumes, 8vo. London: Colburn
& Bentley. 1831. 2. Newton Forster; or, The Merchant Service. By the Author of “The
King's Own." In three volumes, 8vo. London: Cochrane & Co. 1832. 3. Norman Abbey; a Tale of Sherwood Forest. By a Lady. In three
volumes, 8vo. London : Cochrane & Co. 1832. 4. Eugene Aram. A Tale. By the Author
By the Author of “Pelham,” &c. In three volumes, 8vo. London: Colburn & Co. 1832. 5. The Invasion. By the Author of “ The Collegians, &c. In four
volumes, 8vo. London: Saunders & Otley. 1832. 6. Quintus Servinton. A Tale, founded upon Incidents of real occur
rence. In three volumes, 8vo. Hobart Town: Henry Melville, printer,
London: Smith, Elder, & Co. 1832. FROM the number of works of fiction which issue monthly from the press, as compared with that of publications in other departments of literature, it would appear as if the world of reality had been almost exhausted, while the region of romance is more populous than ever. In the way of history, we have had nothing striking or valuable, since the last volume of Lingard. The men of science meet together, and discuss points of interest with more animation than was their custom, some fifty years ago; but no great original work, and, excepting Mrs. Somerville's Translation of La Place, no decent compilation, has emanated, either from the societies or from the individuals composing them, for a great length of time. In the fine arts, we have had nothing worth looking into, since Flaxman's Lectures on Sculpture; and when we have mentioned Moore's Memoirs of Lord Byron, we have arrived at the end of the catalogue of recent writings, that deserve to be classed under that title. Even of travels, there has been, lately, a surprising dearth; and if the reading members of our community were to be fed upon poetry, they would have all perished of famine, without the assistance of the cholera morbus.
We suspect that a very great part of this decided alteration, which has taken place in the character of our literature, is to be imputed to the incessant activity with which some of the principal booksellers of London and Edinburgh have been, for two or three years, pouring into the lap of the public, whole libraries of cheap works, which, having rarely the merit of originality, and being, indeed, for the most, abridgments or digests of instructive and