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orable, and light up in an instant a thousand noble disdains at the very thought of meanness and of fraud ?
Therefore, if any young man have embarked his life in the pursuit of knowledge, let him go on without doubting or fearing the event : let him not be intimidated by the cheerless beginnings of knowledge, by the darkness from which she springs, by the difficulties which hover around her, by the wretched habitations in which she dwells, by the want and sorrow which sometimes journey in her train ; but let him ever follow her as the Angel that guards him, and as the Genius of his life. She will bring him out at last into the light of clay, and exhibit him to the world comprehensive in acquirements, fertile in resources, rich in imagination, strong in reasoning, prudent and powerful above his fellows in all the relations and in all the offices of life.
WIT AND WISDOM.
THERE is an association in men's minds between dullness and wisdom, amusement and folly, which has a very powerful influence in decision upon character, and is not overcome without considerable difficulty. The reason is, that the outward signs of a dull man and a wise man are the same, and so are the outward signs of a frivolous man and a witty man ; and we are not to expect that the majority will be disposed to look to much more than the outward sign. I believe the fact to be, that wit is very seldom the only eminent quality which resides in the mind of any man ; it is commonly accompanied by many other talents of every description, and ought to be considered as a strong evidence of a fertile and superior understanding. Almost all the great poets, orators, and statesmen of all times have been witty.
The meaning of an extraordinary man is, that he is eight men, not one man ; that he has as much wit as if he had no sense, and as much sense as if he had no wit; that his conduct is as judicious as if he were the dullest of human beings, and his imagination as brilliant as if he were irretrievably ruined. But when wit is combined with sense and information ; when it is softened by benevolence, and restrained by strong principle; when it is in the hands of a man who can use it and despise it, who can be witty, and something much better than witty, who loves honor, justice, decency, good-nature, morality, and religion, ten thousand tiines better than wit ; — wit is then a beautiful and delightful part of our naturė. There is no more interesting spectacle than to see the effects of wit upon the different characters of men ; than to observe it expanding caution, relaxing dignity, unfreezing coldness, – teaching age and care and pain to smile, — extorting reluctant gleams of pleasure from melancholy, and charming even the pangs of grief. It is pleasant to observe how it penetrates through the coldness and awkwardness of society, gradually bringing men nearer together, and, like the combined force of wine and oil, giving every man a glad heart and a shining counte
Genuine and innocent wit like this is surely the flavor of the mind! Man could direct his ways by plain reason, and support his life by tasteless food; but God has given us wit, and flavor, and laughter, and perfumes, to enliven the days of man's pilgrimage, and to "charm his painful steps over the burning marle."
SCIENCE OF GOVERNMENT.
It would seem that the science of government is an unappropriated region in the universe of knowledge. Those sciences with which the passions can never interfere are considered to be attainable only by study and by reflection ; while there are not many young men who doubt of their ability to make a constitution, or to govern a kingdom, at the same time there cannot, perhaps, be a more decided proof of a superficial understanding than the depreciation of those difficulties which are inseparable from the science of government. To know well the local and the natural man ; to track the silent march of human affairs; to seize, with happy intuition, on those great laws which regulate the prosperity of empires; to reconcile principles to circumstances, and be no wiser than the times will permit ; to anticipate the effects of every speculation upon the entangled relations and awkward complexity of real life; and to follow out the theorems of the senate to the daily comforts of the cottage, is a task which they will fear most who know it best, a task in which the great and the good have often failed, and which it is not only wise, but pious and just, in common men to avoid.
1772 - 1834.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE was born at Ottery St. Mary, Deronshire, where his father was vicar, in 1772, and died in 1834. He spent two years at Jesus College, Cambridge, but did not complete his course. A little later, being in London without resources or employment, he enlisted in a dragoon regiment. One day he wrote a Latin verse on the stable-wall, which fact coming to the knowledge of his captain, the latter procured his discharge from the service. Coleridge at once entered on a literary and political career, publishing his first work, The Fall of Robespierre, An Historical Drama, in 1794, and soon after several pamphlets in which he adrocated democratic and Unitarian doctrines. With Southey and Lovell lie projected a Pantisocracy to be established in Pennsylvania, but the scheme came to naught, and Coleridge settled down as a writer on the Morning Post, in support of the government. In 1798 he visited Germany and studied there diligently. In 1812 his series of Essays, called The Friend, was published, and in 1816 Christabel. He had acquired the habit of opium-eating, which obtained the mastery over him and reduced him to a condition of unproductive indolence. lle passed the last eighteen years of his life in retirement. So able a judge as De Quincey has said that Coleridge's was “the largest and most spacious intellect, the subtlest and most comprehensire, that has yet existed among men.” He excelled in every department of literature, and several of his poems rank among the finest in our language. As a conversationist he has never been equaled.
THE IMPORTANCE OF METHOD.
What is that which first strikes us, and strikes us at once, in a man of education, and which, among educated men, so instantly distinguishes the man of superior mind, that (as was observed with eminent propriety of the late Edmund Burke) we cannot stand under the same archway during a shower of rain, without finding him out”? Not the weight or novelty of his remarks ; not any unusual interest of facts communicated by him : for we may suppose both the one and the other precluded by the shortness of our intercourse, and the triviality of the subjects. The difference will be impressed and felt, though the conversation should be confined to the state of the weather or the pavement. Still less will it arise from any peculiarity in his words and phrases. Unless where new things necessitate new terms, he will avoid an unusual word as a rock. It must have been among the earliest lessons of his youth, that the breach of this precept, at all times hazardous, becomes ridiculous in the topics of ordinary conversation. There remains but one other point of distinction possible ; and this must be, and in fact is, the true cause of the impression made
It is the unpremeditated and evidently habitual arrangement of his words, grounded on the habit of foreseeing, in each integral part, or (more plainly) in every sentence, the whole that he then intends to communicate. However irregular and desultory his talk, there is method in the fragments.
Listen, on the other hand, to an ignorant man, though perhaps shrewd and able in his particular calling, whether he be describing or relating. We immediately perceive, that his memory alone is called into action; and that the objects and events recur in the narration in the same order, and with the same accompaniments, however accidental or impertinent, in which they had first occurred to the narrator. The necessity of taking breath, the efforts of recollection, and the abrupt rectification of its failures, produce all his pauses ; and with exception of the “ and then,” the “and there, and the still less significant, “and so,” they constitute likewise all his connections.
Our discussion, however, is confined to method as employed in the formation of the understanding, and in the constructions of science and literature. It would indeed be superfluous to attempt a proof of its importance in the business and economy of active or domestic life. From the cotter's hearth or the workshop of the artis.in to the palace or the arsenal, the first merit, that which admits neither substitute nor equivalent, is, that everything be in its place. Where this charm is wanting, every other merit either loses its name, or becomes an additional ground of accusation and regret. Of one, by whom it is eminently possessed, we say proverbially, he is like clock-work. The resemblance extends beyond the point of regularity, and yet falls short of the truth. Both do, indeed, at once divide and announce the silent and otherwise indistinguishable lapse of time. But the man of methodical industry and honorable pursuits does more; he realizes its ideal divisions, and gives a character and individuality to its moments. If the idle are described as killing time, he may
be justly said to call it into life and moral being, while he makes it the distinct object not only of the consciousness, but of the conscience. He organizes the hours, and gives them a soul; and that, the very essence of which is to fleet away, and evermore to have been, he takes up into his own permanence, and communicates to it the imperishableness of a spiritual nature. Of the good and faithful servant, whose energies, thus directed, are thus methodized, it is less truly affirmed, that he lives in time, than that time lives in him. His days, months, and years, as the stops and punctual marks in the records of duties performed, will survive the wreck of worlds, and remain extant when time itself shall be no more.
But as the importance of method in the duties of social life is incomparably greater, so are its practical elements proportionably obvious, and such as lelate to the will far more than to the understanding. Henceforward, therefore, we contemplate its bearings on the latter.
The difference between the products of a well-disciplined and those of an uncultivated understanding, in relation to what we will now venture to call the science of method, is often and admirably exhibited by our great dramatist. I scarcely need refer my readers to the Clown's evidence, in the first scene of the second act of Measure for Measure, or to the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. ...
The absence of method, which characterizes the uneducated, is occasioned by an habitual submission of the understanding to mere events and images as such, and independent of any power in the mind to classify or appropriate them. The general accompaniments of time and place are the only relations which persons of this class appear to regard in their statements. As this constitutes their leading feature, the contrary excellence, as distinguishing the well-educated man, must be referred to the contrary habit. Method, therefore, becomes natural to the mind which has been accustomed to contemplate not things only, or for their own sake alone, but likewise and chiefly the relations of things, either their relations to each other, or to the observer, or to the state and apprehensions of the hearers. To enumerate and analyze these relations, with the conditions under which alone they are discoverable, is to teach the science of method. ....
Exuberance of mind, on the one hand, interferes with the forms of method ; but sterility of mind, on the other, wanting the spring and impulse to mental action, is wholly destructive of method itself. For in attending too exclusively to the relations which the past or passing events and objects bear to general truth, and the moods of his own thought, the most intelligent man is sometimes in danger of overlooking that other relation, in which they are likewise to be placed to the apprehension and sympathies of his hearers. His discourse appears like soliloquy intermixed with dialogue. But the uneducated and unreflecting talker overlooks all mental relations, both logical and psychological; and consequently precludes all method which is not purely accidental. Hence the nearer the things and incidents in time and place, the more distant, disjointed, and