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the sublime; who wielded all his faculties with equal strength and ease, and never failed to impress the offspring of his fancy with the . ftamp of his understanding.
"This indeed is to represent Burns in his happiest phasis. In larve and mixed parties he was often filent and dark, fometimes fierce and overbearing; he was jealous of the proud man's scorn, jealous to an extreme of the infolence of wealth, and prone to aveuge, even on its innocent poffeffor, the partiality of fortune. By nature kind, brave, sincere, and in a singular degree.compasnonate, he was, on the other hand, proud, irafcible, and vindi&tive. His 'virtues and his failings had their origin in the extraordinary senfibility of his mind, and equally partook of the chills and glows of fentiment. His friendships were liable to interruption from jealousy or disgust, and his enmities died away under the influence of pity or self-accufation. His understanding was equal to the other powers of bis mind, and his deliberate opinions were fingularly candid and jutt; but like other men of great and irregular genius, the opinions which he delivered in conversation were often the offspring of temporary feelings, and widely different from the calm decisions of his judgement. This was not merely true respecting the characters of others, but in regard to some of the most important points of hu. man speculation.
« On no subject did he give a more striking proof of the strength of his understanding, than in the corre&t estimate he formed of him self. He knew his own failings; he predicted their consequence; the melancholy foreboding was never long absent from his mind; yet his pasiions carried him down the stream of error, and swept him over the precipice he saw directly in his course. The fatal defect in his character lay in the comparative weakness of his volition, that superior faculty of the mind, which, governing the conduct according to the dictates of the understanding, alone entitles it to be denominated rational; which is the parent of fortitude, patience, and self-deni 1; which, by regulating and combining human exertions, may be faid to have effected all that is great in the works of man, in literature, in science, or on the face of nature. The occupations of a poet are not calculated to strengthen the governing powers of the mind, or to weaken that fenfibility which requires perpetual controul, since it gives birth to the vehemence of paffion as well as to the higher powers of imagination. Unfortunately the favourite
occupatious of genius are calculated to increase all its peculiarities; " to nourish that lofty pride which disdains the littlenefs of prudence,
and the restrictions of order; and by indulgence, to increase that Tensibility, which in the present scris of our existence is scarcely cònpatible with peace or happiness, even when accompanied with the choicest gifts of fortune!' Vol. i. P.232.
The melancholy circumstances which involved the latter peviod of the life of Burns in shades of the thickelt gloom, na
ed circo cannot ready takenbrand
turally leads his biographer to a philosophical investigation of the evils which commonly attend the temperament of genius. These evils are debility of the faculty of volition, improvidence in expenfe, iinprudence in conduci, indolence, and a difpoftion to drown the remembrance of sorrow's in wine. Though we have already taken the liberty of inaking copious extracts, we cannot resist the impulse which urges us to give extended circulation to the important conclusions which Dr. Currie draws from such speculations. '
• Though men of genius are generally prone to indolence, with them indolence and unhappiness are in a inore especial manner al. lied. The unbidden splendours of imagination may indeed at times irradiate the gloom which inactivity produces; but such visions, though bright, are transient, and serve to cast the realities of life into deeper thade. In beftowing great talents, nature seems very generally to have imposed on the poffefTor the necefsity of exertion, if he would escape wretchednefs. Better for him than forhi, toils the moft painful, or adventures the moft hazardous. Happier to him than idleness, were the condition of the peasant, earning with incessant labour his scanty food; or that of the sailor, though hang. ing on the yard-arm, and wrestling with the hurricane.
• These observations might be amply illustrated by the biography of men of genius of every denomination, and more especially by the biography of the poets. Of this last defcription of men, few seem to have enjoyed the usual portion of happiness that falls to the lot of humanity, those excepted who have cultivated poetry as an elegant amusement in the hours of relaxation from other occupations, or the small number who have engaged with success in the greater or more arduous attempts of the mufe, in which all the fa. culties of the mind have been fully and permanently employed. Even taste, virtue, and coinparative independence, do not seem ca. pable of bestowing on men of genius peace and tranquillity, with. out such occupation as may give regular and healthful exercise to the faculties of body and mind. The amiable Shenstone has left us the records of his imprudence, of his indolence, and of his un. happiness, amidst the shades of the Leafowes; and the virtues, the learning, and the genius of Gray, equal to the loftieft attempts of the epic muse, failed to procure him in the academic bowers of Cambridge that tranquillity and that respect, which lefs fastidionfness of talte, and greater constancy and vigour of exertion, would have doubtless obtained.
It is more necessary that men of genius fhould be aware of the importance of self command, and of exertion, because their illolence is peculiarly exposed, not merely to unhappiness, but to dif. eases of mind, and to errors of conduct, which are generally fatal. This interesting subject deserves a particular investigation; but we must content ourfelves with one or two cursory remarks, Relief is fumetimes sought from the melancholy of indolence in practices, which for a time footh and gratify the sensations, but which in the end involve the sufferer in darker gloom. To command the external circumstances by which happiness is affected, is not in human power; but there are various substances in nature which operate on the system of the nerves, so as to give a hétitious gaiety to the ideas of imagination, and to alter the effect of the external impressions which we receive. Opium is chiefly eniployed for this purpose by the disciples of Mahomet and the inhabitants of Aha; but alkohol, the principle of intoxication in vinous and spiriiuous liquors, is preferred in Europe, and is universally used in the Chris. tian world. Under the various wounds to which indolent íenlibility is exposed, and under the gloomy apprehensions respecting futurity, , to which it is so often a prey, how strong is the temptation to have recourse to an antidote by which the pain of these wounds is sue Spended, by which the heart is exhilarated, ideas of hope and of happiness are excited in the mind, and the forms of external nature clothed with new beauty! Vol. i. P. 246..
! It is the more necessary for men of genius to be on their guard against the habitual use of wine, because it is apt to steal on them intensibly; and because the temptation to excess usually presents itself to them in their social hours, when they are alive only to warm and generous emotions, and when prudence and moderation are often contemned as felfishnets and timidity.
It is the more necessary for them to guard against excess in the use of wine, because on them its effe als are, physically and morally, in an especial manner injurious. In proportion to its stimulating infuence on the system (on which the pleasurable sensations depend) is the debility that ensues; a debility that destroys digestion, and terminates in habitual fever, dropsy, jaundice, paralyris, or insanity. As the strength of the body decays, the volition fails; in proportion as the sensations are soothed and gratified, the sensibility in creates; and morbid lensibility is the parent of indolence, because while it impairs the regulating power of the mind, it exaggerates all the obstacles to exertion. Activity, perseverance, and self-command, become more and more difficult, and the great purposes of utility, patriotisın, or of honourable ambition, which had, occupied the imagination, die away in fruitless resolutions, or in feeble efforts,
"To apply thefe obfervations to the subject of our memoirs would be an useless as well as a painful talk. It is indeed a dirty w@owe to the living, not to allow our admiration of great genius, or even our pity for its uphapfy destiny, to conceal or disguise its errors. But there are fen:iments of relpect, and even of tenderness, with which this duty should be performed; there is an awful fanctity which invests the mansions of the dead; and let those who mo. ralize over the graves of their contemporaries, reflect with bumility
on their own errors, nor forget how soon they may themselves require the candour and the sympathy they are called upon to beftow.' Vol. i. P. 252
(To be continued.)
A Tour round North Wales, performed during the Summer of
1798. By the Rev. W. Bingley, B. A. &c. Illustrated with Views in Aqua-tinta, by Alken. 2 I'ols. 8vo. 11. is. Boards. Williams. 1800.
THE northern division of the principality of Wales is an object well worthy the attention of the traveller. Its lofty mountains and Theltered valleys, its rocks and woods, its rivers and torrents, present a rich variety to the eye of the lover of picturesque beauty. Nor will the naturalist search in vain for instruction and amusement, in its mines and quarries. The botanist will be gratified with a copious feast in the abundance of rare plants which are scattered over its Alpine heights. The attentive observer of human nature, too, will find matter for philosophical ineditation in the customs and habits of a race of men who display to his view the virtues and vices of an half-civilised Itate of society. In some few districts of this country, commerce may be contemplated in its infancy; and, by a comparison of the condition of these districts with the ftate of those which are more removed from intercourse with the world at large, an estimate may be formed of the influence of commercial connexions on the happiness of mankind. On cvery stage of his journey through North Wales, the antiquarian is summoned to the exainination of some ancient fabric, whose venerable ruins give ample scope for conjecture. In addition to all these advantages, thould the tourist be so fortunate as to be introduced to the acquaintance of the CambroBritith gentry, he will enjoy the pleasures of hospitality in their utinoft latitude.
In the publication of this tour round North Wales, Mr. Bingley has rendered a very acceptable service to those who may be hereafter inclined to visit this eountry. His route is chosen with judgment, and his instructions to his successors are copious and precise. Having resolved on performing most part of the journey on foot, he proceeded leisurely along, allowing himself sufficient time to examine minutely the objects which attracted his notice. In composing his journal he has adopted an excellent rule. In these volumes,' says he, •[ have, as far as lay in my power, put down, for the information of others, every thing that I wished to have known when I was myself making the tour.' 'He will certainly communicate, instruction in the best manner who has the clearest recollection
of the difficulties be has himself experienced in any specifier pursuit: and the traveller who saves the time and strength of future tourists, by pointing out the most convenient way to those objects that are chiefly worthy of examination, deserves che thanks of the public.. * All attentive readers of books of travels are too frequently wearied and disgusted with attempts to describe in words the charms of picturesque scenery. The unvaried chime and eternal recurrence of grand, sublime, beautiful, delightful, waving wood, winding river, &c. &c. are truly tiresome. We are happy to observe that Mr. Bingley has been prudently sparing of such common-place description, and that, when he does attempt to give an idea of an uncommonly striking prospeet, he analyses its coinponent parts with the eye of a painter, and thus presents to his reader fomewhat of a clear and precise image. Of the numerous castles and fortresses which crown the fuinmits of the Cambrian hills, Mr. Bingley gives minute, but not always interesting, histories. In this departinent of his work he owes and acknowledges considerable obligations to the late accurate Mr. Pennant. During the course of his journey he seems never to have remitted his botanical inquiries; and the refult of his labours in this branch of science is an account of the habitudes of upwards of four hundred of the more rare native plants.
Mr. Bingley's tour coininences at Chester, of which city he gives a description and history, which are chiefiy extracted from the work of Mr. Pennant. From Chester he bent his course. to Flint and Holywell. From Holywell he paffcd through St. Afaph and Conway to Caernarvon, at which place he for sone time fixed his head-quarters, this being a convenient station, from whence a variety of interesting excurtions might be made into the neighbouring country, particularly to the Tummit of Snowdon. In one of these excursions Mr. Bingley visited the vale of Llanberis, of which he gives the following description. . .
• The road from Caernarvon to Llanberis, the church of St. Peris, a village about ten miles eait of it, was, for the most part, sugged and unpleasant, lying for nearly half the way over a flat and barren couniry; and beyond that, as far as the first or lower lake, over mountains which, affording no varied profpeéts, were still dull and uninteresting. But when I had passed there, and was arrived in the vale of Llanberis, the scene which presented itself was so truly grand that I do not recollect one equal to it, even in the most romantic parts of Westmoreland or Cumberland. It reminded me most strongly of the scenery about Ulfwater; but this, though much jess extenīve, is still more pi&turesarie. The bold and prominent rocks wbich asceud almost immediately from the edges of the lakes,