Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

duced contradictory of these principles, we will readily abandon them; but we are certain, from the observations which we have made, that they accord with the laws of nature, and, without claiming the least indulgence, we freely submit them to the severest scrutiny.

In illustration of our principles, we beg leave first to refer to the cerebral development of the Right Hon. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, a cast of whose head is to be found in the collection of the Phrenological Society. That individual, without large reflecting powers, contrived, if not to outstrip, at least to equal the most remarkable of his contemporaries by the splendour of his eloquence and the brilliancy of his wit. Now, it will be observed, that the largest of his intellectual powers are the Individualities, both of which are in him decidedly large. If our opinions on the subject of the Individualities are cor, rect, this celebrated person had a wonderful aptitude for storing up in his mind all the phenomena which came under his observation, and an equal aptitude for recollecting the order in which they occurred or were presented to his mind. Accordingly, with moderate powers of penetration, he pose sessed a minuteness and accuracy for detail which has seldom been equalled, and we may safely say never surpassed. His mind seldom led him to deep or intense reflection, but he, was perpetually observing, and consequently acquiring know, ledge. He surveyed only the surface of things, but bis survey was comprehensive and accurate. Accordingly, his knowledge of men and manners, without being profound, is accựrate, being drawn from the stores of a boundless memory. The reflecting powers of Sheridan were not, however, very deficient, and by means of them he traced relations for himself, and compared and contrasted these relations with those which he had previously stored up in his mind. Hence it is, that with Wit, or the perception of difference moderate, by the aid of his Upper and Lower Individualities, he possessed a brilliancy and vividness of conception alto-gether peculiar to bimself. Being largely endowed with that

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

faculty' by which he remembered accurately all the relations either of difference, or of any other kind which he had either traced or observed himself or derived from reading, or otherwise, he could avail himself of them when an occasion presented itself. Such too, we believe, is pretty nearly the character of Sheridan, as given by Mr Moore. But it is useless to dwell upon the character of an individual." Pope the poet, a bust of whom is to be seen in Mr O'Neil's, Canongate, has Upper Individuality very full, with the Lower moderate: His writings are remarkable for their abstract didactic character, and for nakedness in his illustrations drawn from phenomena.' Dryden, ä bust of whom is to be seen in Westminster Abbey, has, on the contrary, Lower Individuality very full, and Upper not so 'full, and his writings are characterized by a vivid conception of phenomena. We are told by the biographers of Pope, that when an idea

!! struck him he immediately committed it to paper." When he went upon a visit to any of his friends, * it was punctually

“ required that his writing-box should be set upon his bed before he ?"- rose"; and Lord Orford's domestici related, that in the dreadful “ winter of Forty, she was called from ber bed by him four times in

one night to supply him with paper, Test he should lose a thought." Johnson's Life of Pope.

11.101111911'i od pobolje ?" According to Pope's development, and to our principles, he remembered phenomena 'not directly, but by recollecting the relations which he had traced 'or observed among them ; they were suggested to him through the medium of these relations, and not " directly' remembered.' He accordingly ,

" found it necessary, when any phenomena were suggested to him illustrative of his subject, to jot them down, because he wanted a facility in recalling “phenomena directly. Accordingly, Dr Johnson, in analyzing the characters of Pope and Dryden, very justly remarks, that “ in acquired knowledge " the superiority must be allowed to Dryden, whose education was a more scholastic, and who, before he became an author, had been " allowed more time for study, with better means of information. " His mind has a larger range, and he collects his images and il# Instrations from a more "extensive circumference of science.

a

[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"Dryden knene more of man in his general nature, and Pope in

his local manners. The notions of Dryden were formed by com

prehensive speculation, and those of Pope by minute attention. There is more dignity in the knowledge of Dryden, and more

certainty in that of Pope."; In further illustration of their respective characters as poets, Dr Johnson remarks, that * Dryden's page is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation ; Pope's

is a velvet lawn, shaven by the scythe and levelled by the roller.” The sentiments of Dr Johnson, as to the respective merits of these two poets, entirely correspond with the principles which we have stated. Dryden was “ superior in acquired knowledge;" not, however, because he was more studious than Pope, but because “ his mind had a larger range, and "he collected his images and illustrations from a more ex“tensive circumference of science.” Pope was naturally more studious, and possessed greater powers of application than hiş contemporary; and, accordingly, his works are characterized by their remarkable correctness of style and arrangement. Notwithstanding of this we are told, that “ Dryden knew

more of man in his general character," and Pope only“ in his local manners.”-In other words, and in application of our principles, Dryden caught the hues and impressions of surrounding objects directly from nature; they were transfer

; red to his mind in all their living reality, and treasured up there without an effort, and thence embodied in his

page

in all their

eir native beauty of dress and colouring. Pope, on the other hand, with equal powers of imagination or fancy, in consequence of being inferior to Dryden in conjuring up individual existences or phenomena to illustrate his subject, is wanting in that vividness of conception so well described by Dr Johnson. He treasured up phenomena not directly, but by means of the minute relations which he had traced or observed among them, and hence it is that his knowledge of man.. in his local manpers” was more accurate than that of Dryden. Dryden, on the contrary, observed the actions and manners of men, and traced these directly to the feelings and sentiments from which they sprung; bence it is, that his

66

[ocr errors]

knowledge of man was more comprehensive than that of Pope. The character of Pope's mind led him not merely to observe, but likewise to remember minute relations, and in this way he came to a knowledge of more general facts. His Lower Individuality being moderate, and his Upper very full, phenomena were suggested to him by means of the relations which he had traced or observed among them. Dryden, on the contrary, had Lower Individuality very full, with Upper not so full. He accordingly recollected phenomena directly; but relations were re-suggested tohim rather by means of recollecting the phenomena themselves than in consequence of the power of recollecting relations directly.' Hence it is that the writings of Dryden are of a very unequal character. Sometimes he is remarkable for the brilliancy of his conceptions, and at other times he sinks into the most profound carelessness, and writes verses that would disgrace an inferior poet. We are frequently struck with the brilliancy of his ! conceptions and the vividness of his descriptions, but we are as often disgusted at his inequality. 'Pope, on the contrary, is equal to a fault, the same abstract metaphysical air reiğnš throughout. When he brings forward facts to illustrate his subject, he touches them lightly;--they are all of that faint shadowy character which impart but an imperfect conception of the originals. In a word, Pope and Dryden, in their ' mode of thinking, stand as completely opposed to each other as they do in their cerebral development.

We might give númerous other examples from the poets and historians of the last century illustrative of the truth of these principles; but as an analysis of the character of each would necessarily occupy more time than we can well spare at present, we shall defer this investigation till some future opportunity. We propose, in the first place, however, to analyze a few of the most famous men of the present day, and we shall endeavour to select such only as have obtained pretty general notorietý, to enable even those who are least interest. ed in the fate of the science to apply the principles which are here stated.

[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Glenhoulakin, 31st September, 1827.3 Dear MR EDITOR, .. A GREAT variety of rumours, some about the astonishing success, and others about the dreadful overthrow of our favourite science, have of late been reverberated like echoes among the hills in this remote corner of the world, and I am impatient for the receipt of your last Number, to see what portion of truth they contain. One report, for instance, af

: firms, that the eloquent editor of the Edinburgh Review has not only become a Phrenologist, but has actually written and published, in his 88th Number, a very clever and spirited satire of our opponents, in the form of an attack on the science, in which all the exploded arguments against it are urged with such a ludicrous gravity and outward solemnity of manner as not only broadly to expose their inherent absurdity and emptiness, but to produce a strong positive conviction of the truths against which they are in appearance directed. It is added, that while this article is converting all the sensible antiphrenologists of the three kingdoms as fast as they can read it, and stirring up a demand for books and plaster-casts to an astonishing extent, so as to raise the price of stucco almost 50 per cent., and to call into active operation swarms of Italians as numerous and troublesome in your streets as bakers' appren. tices, but groaning under loads of stucco instead of bread, there are still a few persons remarkable, it is in justice added, for very narrow and retreating foreheads, and strong in a rich endowment of Self-esteem, who persist in reading and understanding the article literally, just as they do Gulliver's account of the Lilliputians and Brobdingnagers, and who con

VOL. IV.-No XVI.

а

2 P

« ПредишнаНапред »