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the head bearer informing me that the rain had extinguished their torches, and that one of his men had gone to the nearest village, about a mile distant, to fetch more oil, adding, that if the “sahib” would travel on such a night, what could he expect, &c.! This certainly was a pleasant state of affairs, and enough to daunt one's ardour for sight-seeing, but it was evident that we must “push on," whatever happened. After what appeared to me an interminable delay, our man reappeared with the oil, and the torches being once more lighted, we continued our journey. But our troubles were not yet over, for the rain, which had moderated for a time, soon recommenced with additional force, and, in despair, we began to look out on every side for some place of shelter from the inclemency of the weather.' The bearers, after some consideration, said they knew of a place at some little distance from the road, and thither they accordingly directed their steps. This refuge proved to be an old Mussulman mosque, now used as a Hindoo temple, and at the farther end a light was burning before the image of some hideous Indian deity. I was not sorry to stretch my limbs after being so long confined to the palanquin, and the men soon kindling a fire from loose wood, &c., which lay near, a cheerful blaze diffused itself through the low-arched vault. The
poor bearers crowded round the fire to restore the vitality which was well-nigh dissipated by the cold and rain, and I confess to having felt compunction at that moment for insisting upon travelling on such a night. The scene within this ancient shrine was worthy the brush of Rembrandt; the heavy, low-browed stone arches, lit up here and there by the flickering blaze, while the more distant places remained in deep shadow—the dimly-seen idol at one end, scarcely illuminated by one faint light, before which some devotee was kneeling in apparent abstraction-the dusky faces of my servant and bearers gleaming in the firelight, with diversity of expression, all combined to form a picture which I can never forget. The fact of being thus belated, so far from all friendly aid, added to the strangeness of the situation, made me half regret having made such an excursion during the rainy season of the year.
Just as morning was breaking we were once more en route, and presently the sun showed his face again, to the intense gratification of the bearers, who were ready to forget the fierceness of his rays in their gratitude for the returning warmth. The roads everywhere were deep in mud, the effects of such a night of rain as only the tropics are blessed with.
The remainder of our journey to Sholapore possessed few features of interest, but gladly did I welcome the first sight of the cantonments of that station and the hearty greeting of my old friend of the — Cavalry. The désagréments of the last five days were quite forgotten in the pleasure derived from having successfully visited a place so abounding in all that can interest and delight the eye and imagination.
In conclusion, my advice to any sojourner or traveller in Western India is—more especially in the cold and dry season-on no account lose an opportunity of making a pilgrimage to the ruins of Beejapore.
L. H. C.
ABOUT GREAT GRIEFS AS A MEDICINE TO LESS.
A CUE FROM SHAKSPEARE.
BY FRANCIS JACOX.
“GREAT GRIEFS, I SEE, MEDICINE THE LESS," says old Belarias,* when he notes how Cloten's quite forgot in sorrow for Fidele. Lear, drenched in the night rains on the wind-swept heath, is vainly implored by his faithful Kent to take refuge in a hovel near at hand: Lear declares himself impervious to so comparatively insignificant a vexation, while absorbed in the one overmastering trouble that has convulsed his being to its centre:
Thou think'st 'tis much, that this contentious storm
When the mind's free,
Save what beats there. Hence, Lear can bide the pelting of that pitiless storm, regardless of its fury; nay, can bid the winds blow till they crack their cheeks, and cataracts of rain spout till they drown the land, and the lightnings of heaven singe his white head. Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are his daughters; these elements he taxes not with unkindness ; he never gave them kingdom, called them children. His children, to whom he has given up kingdom, and all, have broken his heart in return ; and what rain, wind, and lightning can do to hurt him, matters to him little or nothing now.
Benvolio would cheer up disconsolate Romeo with another aspect of the philosophy in question :
Tut, man ! one fire burns out another's burning,
One desperate grief cures with another's languish. I Brabantio cannot share in the political anxieties of the senate, or in. deed feel any other disquiet worth naming, while agitated by the loss of his daughter-bereft of her by, as he believes, the agency of wicked appliances :
—for my particular grief
And it is still itself. Malcolm would incite Macduff to medicine a deadly grief by fostering a deadly passion, revenge. Is Macduff, at one fell swoop, made a widower and childless—bereft by the enthroned butcher of “all his pretty chickens, and their dam”? No greater grief can befal him, that shall serve to
* Cymbeline, Act IV. Sc. 2.
Romeo and Juliet, Act I. Sc. 2.
† King Lear, Act III. Sc. 4.
& Othello, Act I. Sc. 3.
medicine this supreme one. Failing that, let him resort, Malcolm advises, to what next best there may be in medicinal
Be comforted :
Tɔ cure this deadly grief.*
Hence diffèrent passions more or less inflame,
Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest.t Quite different is the process, however similar practically may be the result, described by Shakspeare in one of many stanzas devoted to the distressed goddess of beauty:
Variable passions throng her constant woe,
But none is best: then join they all together, with the effect of a master passion at least in combination, if no one of them can prove the master taken alone.
Before parting from Shakspeare, we must cite a fragment from a sonnet of his, in which, anticipating a stroke which, should it fall, would be to him the “very worst of fortune's might,” he adds :
And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compared with loss of thee, will not seem so:s So Crabbe, is one of his metrical Tales, speaks of
Grievous events, that from the mem'ry drive
Life's common cares. || And these alone survive, he says; mix with each thought, in every action share, darken each dream and blend with every prayer. Great griefs, he sees, medicine the less; but the medicine is bitter, and had need have medicinal virtue, such as it is. People do not take it, we may be medicine ; for who ever welcomed a great grief simply to dull his sensitiveness to lesser ones? but in the nature of things, perhaps by the kind law of compensation, it has that effect.
There is a pertinent passage in Asgill's Defence, wherein that eccentric writer- of high esteem with Southey-in describing the pains and penalties that had fallen to his lot, imprisonment included, makes this record of personal experience: " And under that confinement God hath been pleased to take away the desire of mine eyes with a stroke,' which hath, however, drowned all my other troubles at once; for the less are merged in the greater;
Qui venit hic fluctus, fluctus supereminet omnes. I
Macbeth, Act IV. Sc. 3.
† Pope's Essay on Man, ep. ii. Venus and Adonis.
Ś Shakespeare's Sonnets, xc. The Parting Hour.
For an account of Asgill, and his curious Argument against the Necessity of Dying, see the 172nd and following chapters of " The Doctor.”
Mr. Lockhart follows up an account of William Erskine, and of his disposition to say bitter things of people in high places, with the remark, that now-meaning the time of Scott's endeavour to procure for Erskine that long-coveted seat on the bench, about which the “subdued widower” had ceased to occupy his mind—"now, however, these little asperities had disappeared ; one great real grief had cast its shadow over him, and, submissive to the chastisement of Heaven, he had no longer any thoughts for the petty misusage of mankind."* Southey exemplifies this state of mind in the case of Zeinab, the widow, in his wild metrical romance of Thalaba, the Destroyer. Her he represents on an agitating occasion as
Fearless, and scarce surprised,
All other feebler feelings overpower'd.
Griefs are like usurpers—the simile is Smollett's: $ the most powerful deposes all the rest.
A mind once violently hurt, says Fielding,|| grows, as it were, callous to any future impressions of grief.
There was a period in Voltaire's early life when, chafing in exile, he believed himself to have lost country, honours, fortune, all. At this time he wrote to his ministre des finances not to give himself any trouble if
ces messieurs mes débiteurs” profit by the act of exile, and shirk paying their debts. For Voltaire declares himself—miserly and grasping though so many think him—to have drunk so deep of bitterer sorrows, that so small a matter is not worth fuming about. “ Ce n'est qu'une bagatelle. Le torrent d'amertume que j'ai bu fait que je ne prends pas garde à ces petites gouttes.”
It is the rule in nature, as Mr. Boyd observes, that the stronger impression makes you unconscious of the weaker. If, says he, you had charged with the Six Hundred, you would not have remarked during the charge that one of your sleeves was too tight. "Perhaps in your boyhood, a companion, of a turn at once thoughtful and jocular, offered to pull a hair out of your head without your feeling it. And this he accomplished, by taking hold of the doomed hair, and then giving you a knock on the head that brought tears to your eyes. For, in the more vivid sensation of that knock, you never felt that little twitch of the hair as it quitted its hold."** And yet, as Hazlitt argues at length, passion is apt to play the tyrant, in grand tragic-comic style, over Lilliputian difficulties and petty disappointments, making a fuss about nothing because there is nothing to make à fuss about-when a real calamity, an irretrievable
* Lockhart, Life of Scott, ch. liv.
† Thalaba, book i. st. 17. # Chronicles of Carlingford, First Series, ch. xxx. Š Roderick Random, ch. xxii.
| Amelia, book vii. ch. ii. s Cited in M. Arsène Houssaye's monograph on Voltaire, p. 73. ** See A. K. H. B.'s essay “Concerning Solitary Days."
loss, will at once tame it in its preposterous career. A man, for instance, may be in a great passion and give himself strange airs at so simple a thing as a game at ball; may rage like a wild beast, and be ready to dash his head against the wall about nothing, or about that which he will laugh at the next minute, and think no more of ten minutes after, at the same time that a good smart blow from the ball, the effects of which he might feel as a serious inconvenience for a month, will calm him directly
Anon as patient as the female dove
His silence will sit drooping. The truth is-s0 Hazlitt takes it—we pamper little griefs into great ones, and bear great ones as well as we can. “ Small pains are more manageable, more within our reach ; we can fret and worry ourselves about them; . . , a grain of sand in the eye, a thorn in the flesh, only irritates the part, and leaves us strength enough to quarrel and get out of all patience with it:-a heavy blow stuns and takes away all power of sense as well as of resistance."* The like argument is poetically enforced by Mr. Tennyson :
The lesser griefs that may be said
That breathe a thousand tender vows,
Are but as servants in a house
the fulness from the mind :
That out of words a comfort win;
But there are other griefs within,
And tears that at their fountain freeze.t In a letter of condolence to Cicero on the death of his daughter Tullia, Servius Sulpicius dilates on the grief previously inflicted on every patriotic Roman, by the loss of country, credit, dignity, honours. miserable a loss as this,” he continues, "what addition can it possibly make to our grief to suffer one misfortune more ? or how can å mind, after being exercised in such trials, not grow callous, and think everything else of inferior value?'' | One may apply to the subject the notion in vogue among the ancients, that no other serpent dares venture upon those who are bitten by a viper, because the victims in such cases are fortified by a superior poison which is now turned to an antidote. Butler speaks incidentally of
—fear, that keeps all feeling out,
As lesser pains are by the gout. || Of which Pope may serve to remind us when he says
of Nature, in certain contingencies, that
See Hazlitt's essay “On Great and Little Things.” † In Memoriam, $ xx. I See Middleton's Life of Cicero, sub anno A.U.c. 708.
The Mythological Picture of Cebes the Theban, as Englished by Jeremy Collier.
|| Hudibras, part ii. canto ii.