« ZurückWeiter »
Pollux, those little fires that make seamen foretell the end of a storm, can they be any thing else than the red hairs of Juno, which she, in token of love, sends to Neptune? In fine, had it not been for the desire men had to possesse the fleece of a red sheep, the glory of thirty demy-gods would be in the cradle of those things that never were born. And (a ship being yet bụt a recent invention) Americus would not have told us that the world hath foure parts. Apollo, Venus, and Love, the fairest divinityes of the Pantheon, are crimson red; and Jupiter is brown but by accident, because of the smoak of his thunder, which hath blackt him. But if the examples of mythologie do not satisfie the obstinate, let them consult history. Sampson, whose strength hung at his locks, did he not receive his miraculous energy from the rednesse of his hair? Did not the destinies make the conservation of the empire of Athens, depend upon one red hair of Nisus? And God, would he not have sent the light of faith to the Æthiopians, if he could have found amongst them but one red ? One would not doubt of the excellency of those persons, if one considered, that all men that were not made by men, and for whose forming God himself chose and kneaded the substance, were red. Adam, that was created by God's own hand, ought to be the most accomplisht of men—he was red. And all perfect philosophy ought to teach us, that nature which inclines to the most perfection, alwaies endeavours, in forming a man, to make a red one, just as she aspires to make gold by making of mercury, but that she seldom hits upon it. An archer is not esteemed unskilfull, who letting thirty arrows flie, but five or six hit the mark. As the best ballanced constitution is that which is between flegmatick and melancholly, one must needs be very happy, to hit exactly in an indivisible point, The flaxen and the black are besides it; that is to say, the fickle and the obstinate; between both is the medium, where wisdom, in favour of red men, hath lodged vertue, so their flesh is much more delicate, their blood more pure, their spirits more clarified, and consequently their intellect more accomplished, because of the perfect mixture of the foure qualities. This is the reason why red men become not so soon grey as those that are black, as if nature were angry and unwilling to destroy that, which she took a pleasure in making. In troth, I seldom see a flaxen head of hair, but I think of a distaff ill periwiged. But I grant, that fair women when they are young, are pleasing; but as soon as their cheeks begin to grow woolly, would one not think that their flesh divides itself into little threads to make them a beard? I speak not of black beards, for 'tis well known, if the devill weare any, it cannot be but very dark. Since then we must all become slaves to beauty, is it not far better to be deprived of our freedom by golden chains, than by hempen cords, or iron fetters ?”
The following description of a country house is to our minds exceedingly rich and beautiful.
“ At the doore of the house, you meet (with a walke with five avenues in figure like a starre;] the oaks that compose it make one with extasie admire the excessive height of their tops, raising one's eyes from
the root to the culmen ; then precipitating them down againe. One doubts whether the earth beares them, and whether or no they carry not the earth at their roots; you would think that their proud heads are forced to bend under the weight of the heavenly globes, which burthen they with groaning support; their armes, stretcht toward heaven, embracing it, seeme to beg of the starrs their influences altogether pure, and to receive them before they have at all lost of their innocence in the bed of the elements. There on every side the flowers, having had no other gardener but nature, vent a sharp breath that quickens and satisfies the smell. The sweet innocence of a rose on the eglantine, and the glorious azure of a violet under the sweet briars, leaving us not the liberty of a choice, make us judge that they are both one fairer than the other. The spring there composes all the seasons, there no venemous plant buds, but her birth soon betrayes her safety; there the brooks relate their travells to the pebbles; there a thousand feathered voyces make the forrest ring with the sweet musick of their voices; and the sprightfull assembling of these melodious throats is so generall, that every leafe in the wood seemes to have taken the shape and the tongue of a nightingale: sometimes you shall heare'em merrily tickle a consort, another while they'll drag, and make their musick languish; by and by they'll passionate an elegie by interrupted sobbs; and then againe soften the violence of their voyces, more tenderly to excite pity, and at last raise their harmony; and what with their crotchets and warbling, send forth their lives and their voyces together. Echo is so delighted with it, that she seemes to repeat their aires onely that she may learne them; and the rivolets jealous of their musique, as they fly away, grumble, much troubled that they cannot equall them. On the side of the castle, two walkes discover themselves, whose continued green frames an emerald too big for the sight: the confused mixture of colours that the Spring fastens to a million of flowers, scatters the changes of one another; and their tincture is so pure, that one may well judge, that they get so close to one another, onely to escape the amorous kisses of the wind that courts them. One would now take this meddow for a very calme sea; but when the least Zephyrus comes to wanton there, 'tis then a proud ocean full of waves, whose face, furrowed with frownes, threatens to swallow up those little fooles : but because this sea discovers no shoare, the eye, as afrighted to have run so long without finding any coast, quickly dispatches the thought, and the thought being doubtfull too, that that which is the end of his sight, is the end of the world, doth almost perswade himselfe that this place is so full of charms, that it hath forced the heavens to unite themselves to the earth. In the midst of this so vast and yet so perfect carpet, runnes in with silver bubbles and streams a rustick fountaine, who sees the pillowes of his head enaineled with jessemines, orange trees, and mirtles, and the little flowers that throng round about, would make one believe they dispute who shall view himselfe in the streame first; seeing her face so young and smooth as ’tis which discovers not the least wrinckle, tis easie to judge she is yet in her mother's breast, and those great circles with which she binds and twines her selfe by reverting so often upon her selfe, witnesse that'tis
to her griefe and against her will, that she finds her selfe obliged to go from her native home: but above all things I admire her modesty, when I see her (as ashamed to be courted so neere her mother) murmure and thrust back the bold hand that touches her.; The traveller that comes hither to refresh himselfe, hanging his head over the water, wonders 'tis broad day in his horison when he sees the sunne in the antipodes, and never hangs over the bank but hee's affraied to fall into the firmament."*
The following picture is in a very fine style of painting :
“ I saw the starres shine in the firmament with a bleuish fire: the moon was in her full, but much paler than ordinary, she was thrice eclipst and thrice went below her circle; the winds were paralytick, the fountains were mute, the birds had forgot their chatterings, the fishes thought themselves encompast in glaşse, all creatures had no more motion than was necessary for them to expresse their feare by. The horror of an astonishing silence that governed in all places, made nature seeme to be in suspense of some terrible accident; my fear began to be as great as that which the face of the horizon appeared troubled withall, when, by moon-light I saw coming out of a vast grot, a tall and venerable old man, cloathed in white, with a swarthy face, his eye-browes thick and long, a wall and frightfull eye, his beard throwne over his shoulder; on his head he had a hat of verveine, and about him a girdle of mayfearne woven in tresses; upon his gowne neere his heart was fastned a bat halfe dead, and about his neck he wore a collar set with seven severall precious stones ; each of which wore the character of that planet that governed them.”
We now close our extracts from this pleasant, fanciful, and “ witty extravagant."-Of the “ person of honor” who favoured the world with this translation, we must say, that he has rendered his original with a real feeling of its spirit. Cyrano Bergerac wrote also two Voyages Imaginaires, which have been much celebrated, and which furnished Swift with some 'hints in his Gulliver's Travels ; besides a comedy and a tragedy—of the former, some notice may probably be given in a future number.
* The author had so good an opinion of this description, that he has transferred it to another work, which was published after his death.
ART. IX. Taulerus, de decem cæcitatibus, et quatuordecem divini
amoris radicibus, in his Theologia, edited by Surius in 1615. Rusbrokii Opera, Colonia, 1552, 1609, 1692. Sti. Joannis a Cruce, Nox Obscura, et Viva Amoris Flamma,
Col. 1639. Thomas a Jesu de Contemplatione Divinä, Ant. 1620. Abrahami Hiltoni, Scala Perfectionis, or The Ladder of Perfec
tion, 1494:-(See Dibdin's Typographical Antiquities, vol. ii.
p.36. frequently reprinted.) Sancta Sophia, compiled by Father Sylvanus Cressy, from the
works of Father Baker, an English Benedictine Monk, 1629. Doctor Henry More's Psyco-Zoiu, or the Life of the Soul; Lon
* The attempts of Heathen and Christian contemplatives to raise their minds to an intimate communication with the deity, form a curious subject of inquiry. They have often engaged the notice of the theologian, but they equally deserve the attention of the historian and the philosopher. The following pages may, perhaps, be found to contain,
I. Some account of the nature of mysticism:
V. And in the middle ages: noticing, in this place, the excesses of some mystics of those times :
VI. Some notion will then be presented to the reader of the modern mystical writers among the Roman Catholics ; and the errors of Molinos and the modification of them by Madame Guyon ::
VII. An outline will then be given of the doctrine of mysticism, as it is found in the writings of their most approved mystic authors :
VIII. Mention will then be made of some mystics of eminence of the church of England; of the mysticism of the Quakers; and of the mysticism of the Methodists.
* A part of this article has before appeared in print, in the collected works of Mr. Charles Butler. This, however, we have no doubt our readers will do more than excuse, when they perceive the improved method in which the old matter is now arranged, and the additions with which it has been combined-in such a manner, indeed, as to make the present review of the chief works of the mystical writers approach to a complete treatise of this interesting subject. Ed.
1.—THE NATURE OF MYSTICISM. Mysticism is defined to be an union of the soul with God; so intimate, that its essence is, in a manner, transformed into the essence of God; and, in consequence of it, the soul beholds him, not intuitively, as he is seen by the blessed in heaven, but in a divine light; and believes in him, hopes in him, and loves him, not by particular or discursive acts, but in silent affection and adoration.
It evidently is the disposition of the human mind, when it receives a forcible impression of any object which engrosses its attention for any considerable length of time, to become, in a manner, identified with it. Hence, it has been thought, that incessant contemplation of the divine perfections leads the soul to an intimate communion with the deity ; that, in the view of his adorable essence, she becomes lost in silent wonder and love; that her other functions, and even her affections of devotion, die within her; that she no longer fears and no longer hopes; but that a mysterious inanition takes place, and she becomes, in many respects, one with the divine object of her adoration."
11.—MYSTICISM OF THE PAGANS. To this sublime state of speculation several sects of Pagan philosophers aspired. In the history of Indian philosophy, the Brachmans and Samanæans are described to have lived in retirement; to have avoided any intercourse with mankind; to have abstained from wine and animal food ; to have practised great bodily austerities; and to have endeavoured, by assiduous prayer, meditation, and abstraction from terrene objects, to raise themselves to an incessant communication with the deity.
The Egyptian priests lived in the same state of contemplative seclusion.
From them Pythagoras and Plato borrowed much of their schemes of philosophy: the great object of them was to shew, that the soul, by disentangling herself from all animal passions and sensible objects, could rise to the world of intelligence, obtain a view of the first great cause, and prepare herself to return to her original habitation.
“Plato's disciples of the Eclectic sect (says Dr. Enfield, in his History of Philosophy,*) aspired to a sort of deification of the human mind. They adopted, from oriental philosophy, the system of emanation, which supposed an indefinite series of spiritual natures, derived from the same supreme source; whence, considering the human
.* Book 3. ch. 2. 3. 4.