Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

nicious habit resolutely and at once. Dr. Trotter * asserts that no drunkard was ever reformed by gradually relinquish. ing his dram. Animal flesh, in its effects on the human stomach, is analogous to a dram. It is similar to the kind, though differing in the degree, of its operation. The proselyte to pure diet must be warned to expect a temporary diminution of muscular strength. The subtraction of a powerful stimulous will suffice to account for this event. But it is only temporary, and is succeeded by an equable capability for exertion, far surpassing his former various and fluctuating strength. Above all he will acquire an easiness of breathing, by which such exertion is performed with a remarkable exemption from that painful and difficult panting now felt by almost every one after hastily climbing an ordinary mountain. He will be equally capable of bodily exertion, or mental application, after as before his simple meal. He will feel none of the narcotic effects of ordinary diet. Irritability, the direct consequence of exhausting stimuli, would yield to the power of natural and tranquil impulses. He will no longer pine under the lethargy of ennai, that unconquerable weariness of life, more to be dreaded than death itself. He will escape the epidemic madness which broods over its own injurious notions of the Diety, and

realizes the hell that priests and beldams feign." Every man forms as it were his god from his own character; to the divinity of one of simple habits no offering would be more acceptable than the happiness of his creatures. He would be incapable of hating or persecuting others for the love of God. He will find, moreover, a system of simple diet to be a system of perfect epicurism. He will no longer be incessantly occupied in blunting and destroying those organs from which he expects his gratification. The pleasures of taste to be derived from a dinner of potatoes, beans, peas, turnips, lettuces, with a dessert of apples, gooseberries, strawberries, cur. rants, raspberries, and, in winter, oranges, apples, and pears, is far greater than is supposed. Those who wait until they can eat this plain fare with the sauce of appetite will scarcely join with the hypocritical sensualist at a lord-mayor's feast, who

* See Trotter on the Nervous Temperament.

[ocr errors]

declaims against the pleasures of the table. Solomon kept a thousand concubines, and owned in despair that all was van. ity. The man, whose happiness is constituted by the society of one amiable woman, would find some difficulty in sympathizing with the disappointment of this venerable debauchee.

I address myself not to the young enthusiast only, the ardent devotee of truth and virtue, the pure and passionate moralist, yet unvitiated by the contagion of the world. He will embrace a pure system from its abstract truth, its beauty, its simplicity, and its promise of wide-extended benefit; unless custom has turned poison into food, he will hate the brutal pleasures of the chase by instinct; it will be a contemplation full of horror and disappointment to his mind, that beings, capable of the gentlest and most admirable sympathies, should take delight in the death-pangs and last convulsions of dying animals. The elderly man whose youth has been poisoned by intemperance, or who has lived with apparent moderation, and is afflicted with a variety of painful maladies, would find his account in a beneficial change produced without the risk of poisonous medicines. The mother to whom the perpetual restlessness of disease and unaccountable deaths incident to her children, are the causes of incurable unhappiness, would on this diet experience the satisfaction of beholding their perpetual health and natural playfulness.* The most valuable lives are daily destroyed by diseases that it is dangerous to palliate, and impossible to cure, by medicine. How much longer will man continue to pimp for the gluttony of death, his most insidious, implacable, and eternal foe.

* See Mr. Newton's book. His children are the most beautiful and healthy creatures it is possible to conceive: the girls are perfect models for a sculptor; their dispositions are also the most gentle and conciliating: the judicious treatment which they experience in other points may be a correlative cause of this.

In the first five years of their life, of 18,000 children that are born, 7,500 die of various diseases, and how many more of those that survive are rendered miserable by maladies not immediately mortal! The quality and quantity of a woman's milk are materially injured by the use of dead flesh. In an island near Iceland, where no vegetables are to be got, the children invariably die of tetanus before they are three weeks old, and the population is supplied from the main land. - Sir G. Mackenzie's History of Iceland. See also Émile, chap. i. pp. 53, 54, 56.

VOL. I. 10

'Αλλά δράκοντας αγρίους καλείτε και παρδάλεις και λέοντας, αυτοι δε μιαιφονείτε εις ωμότητα, καταλιπόντες εκείνοις ουδένεκείνοις μεν γαρ ο φόνος τροφή, υμίν δε όψον εστίν.

.

"Οτι γαρ ουκ έστιν ανθρώπων κατά φύσιν το σαρκοφαγείν, πρώτον μεν από των σωμάτων δηλούται της κατασκευής. Ουδενί γαρ έoικε το ανθρώπου σωμα των επί σαρκοφαγία γεγονότων, ου γρυπότης χείλους, ουκ οξύτης όνυχος, ου τραχύτης οδόντων πρόσεστιν, ού κοιλίας εύτονία και πνεύματος θερμότης, τρέψαι και κατεργάσασθαι δυνατή το βαρύ και κρεώδες· αλλ' αυτόθεν η φύσις τη λειότητα των οδόντων, και τη σμικρότητι του στόματος, και τη μαλακότητα της γλώσσης, και τη προς πέψιν αμβλύτητι του πνεύματος, εξόμνυται την σαρκοφαγίαν. Ει δε λέγεις, πεφυκέναι σεαυτόν επί τοιαύτην έδωδήν, και βούλει φαγείν, πρώτον αυτός απόκτεινον· αλλ' αυτός δια σεαυτού, μη χρησάμενος κοπίδι, μηδέ τυμ. πάνω τινι, μηδέ πελέκει» αλλά ως λύκοι και άρκτοι και λέοντες αυτοί ως εσθίουσι φονεύουσιν, άνελε δήγματι βουν, ή στόματι συν, ή άρνα ή λαγωον, διάρρηξoν, και φάγε προσπεσών έτι ζώντος ως εκείνα.

Ημείς δε ούτως εν τω μιαιφόνω τρυφώμεν, ώστε όψον το κρέας προσ. αγορεύομεν, είτα όψων προς αυτό το κρέας δεόμεθα, αναμιγνύντες έλαιον, οίνον, μέλι, γάρον, όξος, ηδύσμασι Συριακούς, 'Αραβικούς, ώσπερ όντως νεκρόν ενταφιάζοντες. Και γάρ ούτως αυτών διαλυθέντων και μαλαχθέντων και τρόπον τινά κρεοσαπέντων έργον εστι την πέψιν κρατήσαι, και διακρατηθείσης δε δεινάς βαρύτητας έμποιεί και νοσώδεις απεψίας.

Ούτω το πρώτον άγριόν τι ζώον έβρώθη και κακούργον, είτα όρνις τις ή ιχθύς είλκυστο» και γευόμενον ούτω και προμελετήσαν εν εκείνους το νικούν επί βουν εργάτην ηλθε, και το κόσμιον πρόβατον, και τον οίκουρόν άλεκτρυόνα και κατά μικρόν ούτω την απληστίαν τονώσαντες, επί σφαγάς ανθρώπων και φόνους και πολέμους προήλθον.

Πλούτ, περί της Σαρκοφαγίας.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

NOTE ON QUEEN MAB.

BY THE EDITOR.

SHELLEY was eighteen when he wrote “Queen Mab:" he never published it. When it was written, he had come to the decision that he was too young to be a "judge of controversies;” and he was desirous of acquiring “ that sobriety of spirit which is the characteristic of true heroism." But he never doubted the truth or utility of his opinions; and in printing and privately distributing“ Queen Mab” he believed that he should further their dissemination, without occasioning the mischief either to others or himself that might arise from publication. It is doubtful whether he would himself have admitted it into a collection of his works. His severe classical taste, refined by the constant study of the Greek poets, might have discovered defects that escape the ordinary reader, and the change his opinions underwent in many points, would have prevented him from putting forth the speculations of his boyish days. But the poem is too beautiful in itself, and far too remarkable as the production of a boy of eighteen, to allow of its being passed over: besides that, having been frequently reprinted, the omission would be vain. In the former edition certain portions were left out, as shocking the general reader from the violence of their attack on religion. I myself had a painful feeling that such erasures might be looked upon as a mark of disrespect towards the author, and am glad to have the opportunity of restoring them. The notes also are reprinted entire; not because they are models of reasoning or lessons of truth; but because Shelley wrote them. And that all that a man, at once so distinguished and so excellent, ever did, deserves to be preserved. The alterations his opinions underwent ought to be recorded, for they form his history.

A series of articles was published in the “New Monthly Magazine,” during the autumn of the year 1832, written by a man of great talent, a fellow-collegian and warm friend of Shelley; they describe admirably the state of his mind during his collegiate life. Inspired with ardor for the acquisition of knowledge; endowed with the keenest sensibility, and with the fortitude of a martyr, Shelley came among his fellow-creatures, congregated for the purposes of education, like a spirit from another sphere, too delicately organized for the rough treatment man uses towards man, especially in the season of youth; and too resolute in carrying out his own sense of good and justice not to become a victim. To a devoted attachment to those he loved, he added a determined resistance to oppression. Refusing to fag at Eton, he was treated with revolting cruelty by masters and boys; this roused, instead of taming his spirit, and he rejected the duty of obedience, when it was enforced by menaces and punishment. To aversion to the society of his fellow-creatures, such as he found them when collected together in societies, where one egged on the other to acts of tyranny, was joined the deepest sympathy and compassion; while the attachment he felt for individuals and the admiration with which he regarded their powers and their virtues, led him to entertain a high opinion of the perfectibility of human nature, and he believed that all could reach the highest grade of moral improvement, did not the customs and prejudices of society foster evil passions, and excuse evil actions.

The oppression which, trembling at every nerve yet resolute to heroism, it was bis ill fortune to encounter at school and at college, led him to dissent in all things from those whose arguments were blows, whose faith appeared to engender blame and hatred. “During my existence,” he wrote to a friend in 1812, “I have incessantly speculated, thought, and read." His readings were not always well chosen; among them were the works of the French philosophers; as far as metaphysical argument went, he temporarily became

« ZurückWeiter »