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have it. But men who are to have intercourse | authors to trath and certainty. This, young beginners with their fellow-men, and who are to influence should be entered in and shown the use of, that they them by means of knowledge, must embody their might profit by their reading. Those who are strangers knowledge in language, otherwise they have no to it will be apt to think it too great a clog in the way instruments by which to work. There are of men's studies. But I would add, this way of thinkthoughts which, sometimes in happy moments ing on and profiting by what
ing on and profiting by what we read will be a clog and of inspiration, dart through the mind with the
rub only in the beginning. And to those that aim at brightness of electric fires. In that brightness
knowledge I may say, that he who fair and softly goes we behold, as with a prophet's pen, the secrets
steadily forward in a course that points right, will of the world unknown, revealed to us as through
sooner be at his journey's end than he that runs after the parting cloud. But as they come, so they
every one he meets, though he gallop all day, full go, like lightning. The clouds come together again, and our pathway becomes dark as before.
In reading “truth is the measure of know. Could we but arrest these flashes of thought and make them permanent in their radiance, they
ledge,” and therefore is to be mainly sought.
| While, in the words of Burns, “some books are would serve to guide and cheer, and not merely to dazzle.
lies fra end to end,” most are composed of a This it is the office of language to
mixture of truth and error in different propordo. There are “men endowed with bighest
tions. Now whether they are the counterfeit gifts, the vision and the faculty divine,” yet
presentment of truth, or have in them only so wanting the accomplishment of words-men “who live out their time," "and go to the grave
much of the alloy of error as brings them to the unthought of.”
common currency, or bave in them only pure “ To give solidity and permanence to the in
gold, they should be brought to the touchstone. spiration of genius, two things are especially
In some instances, you may perceive almost necessary. First, that the idea to be communi
intuitively that what you are reading is false. cated should be powerfully apprehended by the
This happens when you are acquainted with the speaker or writer; and next, that he should em
subjects upon which they treat. In other inploy words and phrases which convey it in all |
stances, by comparing what is said in one part its truth to another.” A man who entertains
of a book with what is said in another, and thus such conceptions will fail, unless suitable words
discovering the inconsistency, you can see where wait upon his thoughts. Language has been
the error lies. It not unfrequently happens that fitly called a vast labyrinth. The man who has
the same author furnishes both the poison and not the clue must wander in its mazes,
the antidote. In your reading, mark the meaning of the 1.
Besides this, you can sometimes examine words and phrases employed by your author.
| what you read in the light of your own observa. Carefully associate language with your thoughts,
tion. If you are reading some description of 80 that thought and language sball become one
external nature, you can limit, correct, or extend in your mind.
the views presented by others, from your own Beside understanding the views of an author,
observation; and this, too, whether those are and the language in which his views are con
| scientific or political, whether they are found in veyed, you must understand the subjects upon
Paley's “Theology," or Thomson's "Seasons.” which he writes. It is one thing to learn what
When you read some work on human life and an author thinks of a subject, and another to
manners, as Addison's “Spectator," or Franklearn wbat is true of that subject. Hear what
lin's “Essays," you are to cast your eyes around Locke, the great master of reason, says on this
upon the forms of life and manners with which subject :
you are acquainted, to discover whether these
great moral painters are, in the outlines and “Reading furnishes the mind only with the materials is
colouring of their pictures, true to the original. of knowledge ; it is thinking makes what we read
If you are reading some work on the human ours. We are of the ruminating species, and it is not
mind, you are constantly to watch the working anough to cram ourselves with a great load of collec | of your own mind, that you may see whether tions ; unless we chew them over again, they will not the principles which your author advocates are give us strength and nourishment. All that is found in accordance with your own consciousness. in books is not built upon true foundations, nor always If you are perusing some historical or political rightly deduced from the principles it is pretended to work, inquire whether the writer , was a candid be built on. The mind of the reader is often back man, whether he leaned to a particular theory or ward in itself to be at the pains to trace every argu party, and in this way learn to make the necesment to its original, to see upon what basis it stands, sary allowance for bis prepossessions and preand how firmly ; but yet it is this that gives one man
judices. To arrive at truths on litigated points, so much advantage over another in reading. The it may be nec mind should, by severe rules, be tied down to this at
| it may be necessary to read both sides. first uneasy task ; use and exercise will give it facility,
In order to profit from reading, it is advantaso that those who are accustomed to it readily, as it
geous to converse with those who have read the
geous were with one cast of the eye, take a view of the argu- same books, or are interested in the same topics. ment, and presently in most cases, see where it bot. | Two persons of equal capacity shall read the toms. Those who have got this faculty, one may say, same book, and yet receive from it very different have got the true key to books, and the clue to lead | impressions. By exchanging their views in the hem through the mismaze of variety of opinions and commerce of thought, each is a gainer. The
difficulties which one meets with are solved by deficiencies and excellences, as well as those of the other, and the truths upon which they agree your author. are more firmly fixed in the minds of eacb. By With respect to the practice of making thus bringing their minds in contact with each extracts of passages that you admire, either on other, in conversation upon the work, their feel- account of beauty of expression or correctness ings are warmed into more vigorous exercise, of thought, I cannot speak with so much confi. and by the collision of their opinions the light dence. I see not why those who labour in the of truth is struck out. Moreover, by conversing mines of literature may not with advantage arconcerning the books that you read with those range the gems of thought, as in a cabinet, as that are older and have read more than your specimens of what is true and beautiful. selves, and have had better opportunities for It should constantly be remembered that the observation, you will be the better able to form end of reading is to furnish nourishment to the a correct estimate of what you read. Their ex- mind, that it may grow into the full greatness perience will help to guard you against the errors and vigour of which it is susceptible. But the and evil tendencies of the work, or enable you mind grows, like the body, by expansion from to appreciate its excellences.
within ; and not like a crystal, by accretion If you will adopt the practice, so far as the from without. Now in order to obtain nourish. courtesies of life will allow, of discussing the ment from what you read, the mind itself must various subjects which you meet with in your decompose what is received into it, in order that reading, you will always be furnished with inter- assimilation may take place. While what you esting and useful topics of conversation, which read remains a mere undigested mass in the will render you an acceptable visitor with the memory, it is of but little worth. Rumination select sober few or the gayer circle. In the is indispensable. “ feast of reason and the flow of soul,” you can And here I may with advantage quote the spend your social interviews, avoiding the error, example of a distinguished American scholar. on the one hand, of sitting in silence because “1. Before I commenced an author, I made you have nothing to say on the topics under myself thoroughly master of the whole scheme discussion, and the greater evil, on the other, of of his work, if a table of contents enabled me to saying an “infinite deal of nothing.".
do so. Another practice to be attended to, in order “2. I then studied the author in the following to profit by your reading, is, to use your pen as manner: After reading the first sentence, I an instrument of thought. When you are read- meditated on it, developing the author's ing a work, it is profitable to take notes of what thoughts as well as I was able, and reducing the is true and beautiful in thought or expression whole, as nearly as possible, to a single distinct on the one hand, and likewise of passages that concise expression. I then read the second senare erroneous or ungraceful, that you may be tence, and did the same. I next compared the able to refer to them, at pleasure. This will two sentences together, meditating on them, and help to form the mental habit of distinguishing gathering out of them their substance. Thus I between truth and falsehood, beauty and defor- went through the paragraph, and reflected on mity.
the whole until I had reduced it to a single senIn some cases, it may be well to take an ab-tence, containing its essence. I then studied stract or make an analysis of the work. In the next paragraph in like manner; and having others, it may be better to write short comments, compared the two, I gathered out of them their in the way of refuting what is false, and clearing substance. The same plan was followed in the up what is obscure, and confirming what is comparison of sections with sections, and chaptrue. In expressing the thoughts of your au- ters with chapters, books with books, until the thor in your own language, and in connection | author was finished. with your own views, you will receive a benefit ' “3. A third rule was to pass nothing unexamlike that which you gain in translating from ined, nothing without reflection, whether in another language, in the distinctness and per- poetry or fiction, history or travels, politics, manency of your impressions. You will be philosophy, or religion.” furnishing yourselves, for the future, with the Nor ought I to omit the three rules of Prohistory of your mental progress. Coleridge | fessor Whittaker, of Cambridge, given to John was so much in the habit of doing this, that his Boyse, one of the eminent translators of the friends were anxious to lend him books, that he Bible in the time of James the First. 1. To might write notes in the margin. So much was study chiefly standing or walking. 2. Never President Edwards in the habit of using his to study at a window. 3. Not to go to bed, pen as an instrument of thought, that it might on any account, with cold feet. be said of him, “Nil sine calamo.” Of course Thus much for the manner of reading. I shall be understood as referring to those | I now proceed to answer the fourth question, works only that are worth a careful perusal. namely, WHAT BOOKS SHOULD BE READ?
It is useful sometimes to place before you The time was when this question, if asked by some admired passage of some standard author, one who intended to be a scholar, might be and translate, if I may use the term, the answered, All Books were few, and every thoughts contained in it into your own language. learned man was expected to read every book In this way, by comparing the original and the to which he could gain access. Even some translation, you can see accurately your own time after the art of printing was invented, an
industrious scholar might be expected to read, work surely. In another, immorality multiform every book that had been put to press. But lurks. Every fiend nestles among those books with the improvements in mechanical arts con- in disguise. There, breathing revenge, is Mo. nected with printing, at the present rate of in- loch, "the strongest and fiercest spirit that fought crease, at no distant period the world itself, in in heaven.” There, in his beauty, is Belial, the language of an authorized hyperbole, cannot whose “tongue drops manna, and can make the contain the books that are printed.
worse appear the better reason; but to noble If the youthful student visits some large library deeds timorous and slothful.” There, gloating in an athenæum or a college, or reads over the over his gold, sits Mammon. catalogues of these libraries, or looks into a Exposed to such malign influences, it is not fashionable periodical review, he finds a great strange that many a youthful reader should be. many standard works, and a great many new come the victim of infidelity and vice, as they works, each lauded to the skies, as the offspring thus ambush his path. of genius. The press, urged on by the power. There is a practice that prevails among youthof steam, is as prolific as Berecynthia, the fabled ful readers in colleges and elsewhere, of reading mother of the gods; and like hers too, if he may everything that comes to hand. They make credit the voice of flattery at every new birth, all haste to be wise, and think that wisdom consists its offspring are immortal. Besides the attrac. in having read everything that comes in their tions of splendid binding and typography, the way. They are almost as rapid in their course power of the pencil and the graver have been of reading as a certain coxcomb who boasted summoned to furnish designs to enliven dulness that he had read Euclid's “ Elements of Geomeor grace the creations of genius. At his first try' in one afternoon, only leaving out the A's introduction to these delights of learning in some and the B's, and the crooked lines, which seemed favoured spot. he may. if his is a poetical tem. intended merely to retard his progress. Bookperament, fancy that he has found the home of worms they might be called, were not bookall the Muses, and that each of those brighta | butterflies the more appropriate term. They eyed daughters of Jove is contending for his skim over the meadows of learning, alighting for favour, as did the three goddesses on Mount Ida a moment on the flowers, but collecting nothing for that of Paris.
valuable. In this multitude of books, as no one can! But you say that the rule which I have given read all, evidently every judicious person must | you of reading standard books is not sufficiently go on the principle of selection. “Some books,” | definite, inasmuch as the number of standard says Bacon, “are to be tasted, others are to be books is so great that one could hardly expect swallowed, and some few to be chewed and di- to read them all in a long life, much less in the gested.” It is only the “ few” that are to be leisure hours from bis sludies while in the school, chewed and digested. It is only the standard the academy, the office, the workshop, or the works that should be anxiously sought and counting-house. You ask me what particular carefully read, though others may be occasionally books you should read. In reply, I would say: tasted. While the inind is in the forming state. Tell me what are your mental defects, and I such books should be read as are adapted to will tell you what books will help to remove form it to admire virtue, truth, and beauty. When formed, it may gather truth from every
Are you deficient in taste? Read the best part of the fields of literature, as the bee gathers poets, such as Gray and Goldsmith, Pope and honey even from poisonous flowers. The youth
Thomson, Cowper and Coleridge, Scott and ful student should fix his intense regards upon | Wordsworth. standard works, and bestow only a passing noe
Are you deficient in imagination ? Read Mil. tice on those ephemeral productions which fall | ton, and Akenside, and Burke. from the press upon the current of literature, | Are you deficient in power of reason? Read “thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks Chillingworth, and Bacon, and Locke. of Vallambrosa,"
Are you deficient in judgment and good sense Their name is legion. They meet you in the in the common affairs of life ? Read Franklin. book-stalls, in steamboats, in railway carriages.
Are you deficient in sensibility? Read Goëthe
and Mackenzie. “The dog-star rages, now 'tis past a doubt,
Are you deficient in vigour of style? Read All Bedlam or Parnassus is let out.
Junius and Fox. Fire in each eye and paper in each hand,
Are you deficient in political knowledge ? They rave, recite, and madden round the land. Read Montesquieu. By land, by water, they renew the charge ;
Are you deficient in patriotism? Read DeThey stop the chariot and they board the barge." mosthenes, and the “Life of Washington."
Are you deficient in conscience? Read some In the fashionable literature, or the “ yellow | of President Edwards 'works. covered literature," as it has been called, a bad Are you deficient in piety? Read the Bible. spirit reigns, or rather all spirits congregate, This I give you as a sort of specimen list. “ black spirits and grey."
For a number of these works, others equally In one of these works is found the spirit of good for the purpose can be substituted. With. infidelity, “ squat like a toad,” undetected unless out a reference to the principle which lies at the touched by the spear of Ithuriel, yet doing its basis of this rule, reading, besides being a waste of time, may be positively injurious, increasing i just as tender and as touching to the human rather than remedying the mental defects. For heart as when the mother of Marcellus swooned instance, if a person has already a morbid sen- under the power of its pathos. Milton “still sibility, if he is already infirm of purpose, having rides sublime on the seraph wings of ecstasy, hardly force of character enough to get his passing the flaming bounds of space and time.” regular lessons if he is a student, or perform his Bacon is still the prophet of the sciences. Still regular duties on the farm or in the shop if he is called to labour, it is plain that the lighter “Shakespeare, fancy's sweetest child, species of literature will be injurious to him.
Warbles his native wood-notes wild," What he needs is solid thought, to brace his mind up to the regular performance of his duty. captivating us as he captivated the heart of the Again, if a student is so unfortunate as to have Virgin Queen. And above all, God himself, his mind set on fire by party spirit in politics breaking the silence of nature, still utters forth or religion, and if the reading of a paragraph in his own truth in the same tones as when he the newspaper or a controversial phmphlet is spake to holy men of old. sufficient to set his feelings all in a blaze, then In good books, we hold converse with the it is evident that he had better abstain from that great minds which composed them. We conkind of reading. What he needs is, the tranquil- tract an undying friendship for those great lizing effect of a higher and a purer literature. minds that have ministered to our happiness and
Books contain for the faithful seeker a trea- our iinprovement. As we advance in years, sure of untold value. They contain the collected other friends fall off, or prove treacherous, or wisdom of ages unimpaired. The “Iliad” die; but those minds continue the same, and flourishes as green now as on the day when we turn to them, from a frowning or a smiling Pisistratus stamped upon it its present order. world, with increasing confidence and delight, Plato still speaks, in the language of the immor- as to old friends and tried friends that will ever tals, the lessons of philosophy. The “ Æneid” is' be dear to us.
BY E. HISCOCK MALCOLM,
Se mutara habitu. There is visibly a change, conductor, M. Bottesini, modestly abstained to be noted in the actualities and aspect of the from a too demonstrative activity in resuming promenade music and musicians, at the new the office so admirably sustained by poor Alfred and splendid Theatre-Royal, Covent Garden. Mellon. We see the “vacant chair,” the gilded The audiences are unlike the audiences of former crimson velvet fauteuil, it is true; but it is not days: they are not now “fast," noisy, and re. Bottesini who sits enthroned there. At times taliative; but studious, sedate--and-don't all we have fancied, as we have been lounging near promenade! It is well. The ladies look at all the orchestra during the progress of the music, times engaging in the lounge and foyer; but that we saw again the form of the late conductor the gentlemen-their gait is seldom good-and occupying his usual seat of state. It was a their look, while it is not the mild and softened dream! a vision !-a reminiscence of Banquo's aspect of the lamb, is sometimes just a little shade at Macbeth's supper. Let it pass. sheepish and “pokey" to say the least of it. The Flaneur- I thank Mr. Edmund Yates for We should not ostentatiously walk about at teaching me that word—the Fláneur being a Starour public places of amusement, while we have gazer, and “a moon-raker and sky-scraper," as not taken lessons out of the book of that the song hath it, haunts those“ Castles of Inmaster of deportment drawn by the great dolence" so readily to be found in “modern novelist, Dickens. A “master of the cere. Babylon.” monies” at an English promenade concert would It is in the theatre that your Fláneur indulges never be able to bring into form the inelegant his fancy for star-gazing-of course not in the figures of many youthful but awkward disporters celestial, but in the terrestrial sense; he delights in Apollo's arcana. However, as we have said to watch the "exits and the entrances" of those already, promenaders do not now-a-days display bright particular “stars” who are the objects of & penchant for rowdyism: they don't get up his adoration. Their transits within the orbit dressed rehearsals of the manners of Donny- of an opera-scene have ever charms for the brook fair, fighting with walking-canes and Flâneur; their“ parallax”-the distance between umbrellas in lieu of shillelahs!
their true and apparent place in the estimation We leave the auditorium for awhile, to take a of public opinion--he can calculate with the eye glance at the musical triclinium. The new of a discerning observer. He knows who is
the prima-donna assoluto of the season, where is pursued to the sounds of the voices of she came from, what her true place is in the many revellers, singing joyous songs! Johann gaseous firmament in which she lives and moves Strauss is the son of the famous Strauss, the and has her being; he knows whither the stellar | composer of the best modern dance music. At phenomenon is trending, when she will reach her Vienna Johann Strauss is as popular as Coote perihelium--and when also she will be “put at the balls of the London season. Strauss is out” altogether. These are the reflections which also the conductor, par excellence, of le danse pass through my mind when I am in the society at Paris and other continental cities. A valse of the Fláneurs. I too, like them, delight to ob- is his inspiration; a polka "the spirit of his serve the movements of the stage-constellations. dream”; a quadrille a walking vision with It is not only what they sing or say so bril. him. Johann Strauss, in personal appearance, liantly, but what they do so engagingly, that is the beau ideal of a professional musician. He attracts my attention. Now, at Bottesini's handles his violin with a weird-like grace, Covent Garden concerts the other night, what and his pale wan features become irradiated think you amused me most? To watch Jetty with the light of genius, as his bow calls up the Treffz run backwards and forwards, after her voluptuous and fascinating airs, which excite song had been sung, to receive the applause of the action of the Annen dance. Strauss indiher enthusiastic audience; to see Sarolto on the cates by the movements of his bow precisely same mission; or Eracleo trip, like a fairy, over the time that must be kept by his orchestra. and over again along the estrade which leads He does not flourish the concert-stick : he mafrom the platform of the orchestra to the coulis- nipulates his violin bow; and every performer ses behind, giddy with tbe plaudits of their friends. can tell, by watching the rapid rising and falling What are the syrens whispering into the willing of the latter, in the astonishingly facile hand of ears of the musicians nearest to them, as they Strauss, when to strike in with his peculiar pass to and fro? Jetty Treffz as I fancy-all | instrument. He, like his father Johann, is a smiles and grace--bends to the first violin, composer, one of his best valses having been and directs him to change the accompani- recently produced at Vienna. ment for the encore, and to give the key. Although the dance music at the Covent note to “The Last Rose of Summer.” But Garden concerts was certainly the finest that has who is the Ossian to inform us of the hitherto been heard in this country, it was by no nature of the small-talk that must surely pass means the chief attraction. The valses and between our theatrical favourites behind the polkas and boleros of Strauss vied with the scenes ? Does Titiens drink sherbet, and banter excellent selections and fantasias from Gounod Trebelli on her break-down in the barcarole? and Verdi, the overtures and symphonies of Does Gardoni quaff from a tankard and abuse Meyerbeer and Gounod, and the classicaliSims Reeves ? does the new Italian baritone ties of the older masters. No one can dis. inquire for geneva, and express an inquietude pute the quality and excellence of Gounod's of mind as he hears at the wing the voice of last new opera “Romeo and Juliet"; the Santley ? Such our fancies ! and possibly the delicious “Queen Mab” music, and the gay considerate editress of this magazine will allow and spirited nuptial march (omitted in the them to fill a column, and pass current, if only opera as played at Covent Garden) were the as the fancies of an opera habitué infatuated most exquisite portions of M. Bottesini's selecwith his favourites !
|tions. We thought it singular, however, that I recognized this season most of the old faces the beauties of Gounod's “Romeo and Juamong the “ centguard” of the Covent Garden liet” music were by no means so generally orchestra : Barret, of the oboe; the two Collins', recognised as might have been expected. The violinists; Harpers, trumpeters; Nicholson and audience were apathetic. Wherefore? Pratten, flautists. However, I missed the vene. It was curious to observe, during Alfred rable player on the big trum of Distin, who Mellon's last season, which was prolonged used to wield the drumstick with the air of a from autumn to winter, one peculiarity in the field-marshal. Levy, the cornel-à-piston player, appearance of the always thronged audiences. was not in his accustomed seat, being a peren- This was as regarded the changes in the “gents' nial plant at present flourishing elsewhere.' But and ladies' fashions." In the early autumn the now for the dance music! What says the light colours and habiliments of summer gare Duke of Bourbon to the Dauphin, in King to the promenade a bright and pleasant aspect; Henry V."?
but, as the season advanced and mellow October
merged in drear November and drearier winter, "They bid us to the English dancing schools
we saw the butterflies of summer-life under
different external conditions ; the light-coloured And teach lavoltas high and swift corantos.”
silks and muslins of the ladies disappeared, and
black silks and satins and cloth habits were Such teachings are now in the hands worn; the white hats and white waistcoats of the of the talented Gerinan musician, Johann gentlemen disappeared in favour of black hats Strauss, for the instruction of his English and dark paletots and great coats ; in short, friends. What a splendid masterpiece of dance the chameleons of society had changed their music is the new choral waltz ("The Beauties colour, and they who were wont to gaily disport of the Danube”), in which the mazy dance in the beated atmosphere or temperature of