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When the terrible ulcerous disease, before alluded to, had lasted seven months and twenty days, the period of the great Fast approached, during which the Mandra would be closed. Very general consternation was felt about poor Symeon's fate during this time. Crowds, including all sorts of people, and the highest ecclesiastics, came weeping and imploring him that he would, at least during this time, allow free access to him, that his last blessing might not be lost. But he thought that this would be a violation of his vow.
Thus he went through thirty days, during which time only two of his disciples were present, one of whom commonly staid till night on a ladder near him. Then Symeon's life seemed ebbing fast. The people around, hearing of it, rushed for a last sight of him, and blessing from him. He permitted admission to him for a moment, saying, “Be not anxious, for I trust in God, whom I have served from my youth, and who will quickly help
Meanwhile the thirty-eighth day of the Fast arrived, and the time drew near when admission would again be allowed. At night the Mandra was illuminated by a light from heaven-an angel healed the complaint by touching his foot. His disciples came at daybreak, and found him now tranquil and in prayer.
At length the hour of his departure really approached. The account of the last days is preserved with great care. On Sunday the 29th of August, an hour before Monday, he suddenly fell into a death-like sleep, which lasted to Wednesday. On the last day of August and first of September an intolerable heat came on, which burnt everything up. Suddenly, however, the heat cooled, an invigorating breeze arose, a dew moistened the ground, the flowers lifted themselves up, and the herbs spread fragrance around. In the ninth hour of Wednesday, when all his disciples had gathered round him, he chose two of them to be leaders of the rest, and commended them to the Divine protection. Then he raised himself up, bowed three times, and looked towards heaven. In the meantime the assembled people called out for his blessing. He turned himself towards all the four quarters of the heavens, lifted up his hands, and uttered the blessing thrice. As this occurred, his disciples approached him anew, took hold of his hand, as children the hand of a dying father,
and said, “Master! bless thy servants! we beseech thy Lord that he will fulfil thy desire and take thee to himself, as thou hast besought it of him.” Then he took the two selected disciples by their hands, and commanded them to exercise mutual love, and a care over their fellow disciples. Then he committed them, still with hands lifted up to heaven, to the Lord. When he had again directed his eyes to heaven, he struck with his right hand thrice upon his breast, bowed himself, laid his head on the shoulders of his attached disciples, and gave up the ghost. The two chosen disciples closed his eyes, and the surrounding people fixed their mourning gaze upon him.-(Pp. 117, 118.)
The bishops then ascended the Pillar, took off his clothes, let his body down in the midst of Psalms, and laid it out upon a bier beneath an altar near the Pillar. For four days the body lay exposed, and was not the least changed-appearing only to sleep. On Monday the 7th of September, the procession was put in motion towards Antioch. The coffin was borne by Bishops as far as Schich, four thousand paces from the Mandra. Here it was put on a carriage and escorted by soldiers and magistrates; on the whole line of passage people of all ranks and ages streamed forth to pay honour to the remains. He was finally laid in state in the midst of a profusion of spices and magnificence in the great Church built by Con. stantine. The Emperor Leo I. wished to have the body brought to Constantinople, as the capital of that Empire which Symeon had adorned and blessed, but the tears and entreaties of the inhabitants of Antioch prevailed, and it remained amongst them. The Mandra long continued to be a favourite place of pilgrimage.
Art. II.--DAVID COPPERFIELD, AND
The Personal History of David Copperfield. By Charles
Dickens. London: Bradbury and Evans, 11, Bou
verie Street. 1850. The History of Pendennis : his Fortunes and Misfortunes, his
Friends and his Greatest Enemy. By William Makepeace Thackeray. London: Bradbury and Evans, 11, Bouverie Street. 1849.
As the ordinary conversation of the day abounds in comparisons between the authors whose recent performances furnish the subject-matter of this article, and who delight to clothe themselves in the somewhat typical vestures of green and yellow leaves, we likewise shall treat of them together. And in truth they afford materials enough sometimes for parallel, and sometimes for very strong contrast. As is the case with most eminent writers of the objective class, the general form of the works of both seems to have been that dictated by the tastes of their time, and adapted to secure the greatest number of immediate listeners. Without implying any comparison of merit, it is certain that the same turn of mind which placed Homer among minstrels, Shakespeare among playwrights, and Scott among the writers of three-volume novels, has led Dickens and Thackeray to employ themselves in writing serial tales. In all, the predominant tendency is to exhibit an endless variety of men and women with all their environments about them, and in the stir of complicated action;—to exhibit them, not by abstract description, and not in masses, but by giving their very words and gestures as used in practical life, and therefore necessarily to present them as individuals any one of whom might have been made the centre of the infinite universe around. Writers of this class have generally been men of high artistic powers; they have been able to combine with their variety and their minuteness, a certain breadth of effect and unity of plan. As the dramatic form necessitates a greater degree of this combination than any other, its adoption seems to afford the best artistic training, and to secure the best field for the display of consummate creative genius. The serial tale, on the other hand, is probably the lowest artistic form yet invented ; that, namely, which affords the greatest excuse for unlimited departures from dignity, propriety, consistency, completeness, and proportion. In it, wealth is too often wasted in reckless and riotous profusion, and poverty is concealed by mere superficial variety, caricature, violence, and confused bustle. Nine-tenths of its readers will never look at it or think of it as a whole. A level number, however necessary to the development of the story, will be thrown aside like a flat article in a newspaper. No fault will be found with the introduction of any character or any incident however extravagant or irrelevant, if it will amuse for an hour the lounger in the coffee-room or the traveller by railway. With whatever success men of genius may be able to turn this form to their highest purposes, they cannot make it a high form of art, nor can their works in that kind ever stand in the first class of the products of the imagination. In very many cases the difficulties attending a mode of writing are no unfair measure of its capabilities; but then they must be difficulties which, when once well overcome, are not merely neutralized and rendered harmless, but actually add strength, richness or refinement to the work in hand. Of this latter class are the difficulties of a subtle metre, a varied plot, the exclusion of inferior aids (as description and disquisition are excluded from dramas), and an elaborate compactness and polish of style. Lycidas, the School for Scandal, Hamlet, and the Rape of the Lock, are instances in point. But to achieve completeness in spite of a straggling form, or dignity in spite of a trifling one, though it may show the power of the author, involves a waste of power and consequent deterioration of art. The waste carries withit its own sure retribution, and thus although we are of opinion that David Copperfield is a signal triumph over the disadvantages of a bad form, we do not believe that this will or ought to give to it the rank of a classic, or that those who read it for the first time in a collected shape will bear any appreciable proportion to those who have read it as it was coming out, or that its highest qualities will ever be very widely recognised. No blame to the author for this. He who has the instinct to pour forth such multitudinous and multiform images of man's life, and in such prolific haste as Dickens and Thackeray, must have
his veins full to bursting with the life of his own age, for any one otherwise constituted is quickly exhausted; and we think that such a man will take his general forms as the spirit of his time puts them into his hand. The modern epic, the modern Elizabethan play, the modern historical painting, have an academical, imitative look, which stamps their producers as the scholars, not the younger brethren of those who are on all hands admitted to have been born to the manner.
David Copperfield and Pendennis are both men who have left the beaten paths of the professions to devote themselves to literature. Copperfield, a neglected orphan sprung from not the highest grade of the reputable middle class, who early in life passes into the care of a kindly but eccentric female relative, is again thrown upon his own exertions by the misfortunes of his benefactress; and after beginning life as a parliamentary reporter, gradually works his way to a good place among writers of fiction. Pendennis, the dandyfied son of a Bath apothecary who has achieved the ambition of his life in marrying a lady of birth and beauty though in reduced circumstances, and retiring to the position of a very small squire, is sent to college after his father's death, with an allowance a great deal too large for his real position and wants. With this false start in life, having the notions and carrying the port of a squire of high degree, and being sufficiently endowed with a discursive literary taste and faculty to fancy himself and to persuade others to fancy him a genius, he loses the poetical prize, (which ali his friends attribute to the injustice of the Examiners,) and is plucked for his degree. He has in the course of his three years, besides spending an allowance of some £450 a-year, contracted debts to the amount of between £600 and £700; which debts were incurred, not for vicious indulgences, but by reason of a varied taste for a great many things, such as dandyism, expensive hospitalities, riding, bookbinding, and fine engravings, in no one of which alone was he half so extravagant as many of his compeers. His debts are paid out of the fortune of a fair orphan protégée of his mother's (one Miss Laura Bell) at her own request, and Pendennis is sent to London to read for the Bar with £200 in his pocket. By great good luck he falls in at a Temple Dinner with George Warrington, a man who was leaving college