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What callous rock retains it's crystal rill?
Ne'er will the soften'd mould its liquid show, Deep sink the waters that are smooth and still!
Ah! when sublimely agoniz'd I stood! And mem'ry gave her beauteous frame a sigh,
While feeling, triumph'd in my heart's warm flood,
Grief drank the off'ring e'er it reach'd the eye!
EPIGRAM ON A MISER.
They call thee rich, I deem thee poor,
What a rude visitor is care,
Nor time, nor place, can bind him;
EPITAPH ON A MISER.
EPIGRAM ON A LAME BEGGAR. I am unable, yonder beggar cries, To stand, or move-if he says true he lies.
Come gentle sleep, image of death approach And hover o'er my lonesome couch; How sweet in sleep, to rest the weary eye, Live without life, and without dying die.
Life is an Inn where all men bait
A little rule, a little sway,
A sunbeam in a winter day,
Here rests my spouse; no pair through life
Alike we shar'd perpetual strife
EPITAPH ON A LAWYER. Hic jacet Jacobus Straw, Who forty years follow'd the law, When he died
The devil cried James, give us your paw.
True wit is like the brilliant stone
Genius, like that, if polish'd right,
Appears at once both keen and bright,
Money, 'tis said is evil's root,
EPITAPH, IN HOLLASLY CHURCH
A man is born-alas! and what is man?
Mathie and Lochore, Printers.
AN ESSAY READ AT THE OPENING OF THE SPECULATIVI. ANTI-MATTER-OF-FACTICAL SOCIETY OF GLASGOW.
The thinking world has long been divided into two great parties; viz. the men of system and those of matter-of-fact. The former despise the information derived from their corporeal organs as gross and unphilosophical, and trusting entirely to the superiority of mind over matter, follow the guidance of imagination, and like Fame personified by Virgil, hide their heads in the mists of hypothesis. The other party adopt quite a contrary plan; and like frogs clinging close to ground, they dare not raise their heads for a moment to the region of thought, but from earth and their sensual organs, borrow all their opinions and all their information.
It is not difficult to say which of the two at present holds the pre-eminence, and musters the most numerous adherents. There are indeed some old-fashioned gentlemen, or at least gentlemen of the old school, such as doctors and lawyers, who are continually crying out that an inch of practice, is worth a fathom of theory. But notwithstanding this ill-natured remark, I am happy to say that in our day, theory is in a manner universally prevalent. The Chemist may tell you that this is the of improvement; and the Antiquarian may deny it, and affirm that we have forgot what our ancestors knew the Divine may la
ment the degeneracy and corruption of the present generation; and the moralist may affirm that we are improving in morals and refinement; but I would differ from them all, and maintain that this is an age of theory and thinking. For the spirit of speculation has rode forth in our land, like the knight of La Mancha, asserting the superiority of spirit over matter. In the pursuit of a favourite theory, every untoward fact disappears, or is converted into an argument. In short, a philosophical knight-errant beholds giants in windmills, a helmet in a barber's bason, and the beauty and grace of an angel in Dorothea del Tobosa.
The discoveries of late years are astonishing and magnificent. They are all owing to the theories of the learned, who no doubt will in a few years bring about the amelioration and perfection of mankind. The Royal Society of London has distinguished itself above its fellows in the accomplishing of this desirable end. I think I hear some uninitiated reader here asking, if the soul of man, his moral duties, and his external frame, have been the subjects of that learned Society's deliberations. Far from it, for passing these over, they have raised their thoughts to the lofty themes of black beetles, butterflies, virgin rabbits, and the animalculæ of cheese!! A late volume of their transactions contains two papers by Sir Everard Home on the important subjects of the testicles of tadpoles, and the formation of fat in the intestines of frogs. Discoveries on such points must, no doubt, have a very happy effect on the welfare of mankind, and no doubt completely answer the end for which this Society was instituted, viz. the improvement of the arts and sciences.
But to make you fully sensible of the good done by the Theoretical Philosophers, it is necessary to give a few instances of the systems and discoveries made by famous men, wise in their day and generation. The Persian Zoroaster declares that this earth is the fruit of the labours of a spider, which spun away till it had got it to the present size. Great and praiseworthy as this discovery may be, it is far outshone by our modern system-mongers. Kepler found out that it was a large animal, not only receiving nourishment, but walking its annual rounds about the sun. Buffon, however, begs leave to differ from Mr. Kepler on this point, for he conceives that it is a part of the sun, brushed off one day by the tail of an unruly comet; and that the igneous substance of the sun cooling by successive revolutions, at last assumed the form it at present offers. The system of the Epicureans on this subject, is too well known to be here dwelt on.
The manner by which this earth is supported has rather puzzled us speculators. The Hindoo notion that it was borne by four elephants, and they again by four strong-backed tortoises; and the Jewish doctrine that it was propped by pillars, passed very well for a time. But most mal-a-propos, some officious inquisitive persons have ascertained that the earth is continually whirling round. Now here, and only here, I, with the greatest diffidence, would venture into the august company of philosophers, and ask why may not the earth be fastened by a chain to the sun, and thus vibrate back and forward like the pendulum of a clock. This chain might easily be made invisible, and need not require to be very thick; for the earth is not so heavy as was once imagined; for a late American voyager has declared that he found it out to be hollowed; a fact which no doubt the vessels, which are again to sail for the pole, will find completely
I must here mention the various theories of philosophers coneerning the sea. Cruzco, a dignified and learned Spaniard was of opinion that it was bottomless. But I rather would join with La Place who discovered that it could not be less than four leagues deep. St. Pierre, however, allows it only one and a half, and proves incontrovertibly that the sun's rays penetrate to the deepest recesses of the ocean; thus realizing the maxim of an ancient uncelebrated poet:
The sun's perpendicular heat
Illumines the depth of the sea;
Cry, hang it, how hot we shall be!
But the Talmudists, in this respect, go deeper than any of them, (for they are always very deep) and they tell us that one of their great Rabbies going to bathe one day in the sea, heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Go not in there, for seven years ago a carpenter dropt his axe, and it has not reached the bottom yet."
The degree to which the understanding of some men has been illuminated, is really amazing. Chevreau, in his history of the world expressly informs us that it was created on the 6th of September, on a Friday a little after 4 o'clock in the afternoon. But there never was so well an informed historian as O'Flaherty. He knew for certain that just 40 days before the flood, on the 15th of the month, (which was Saturday) 3 men and 50 women came to people Ireland, but that the deluge disappointed
their expectations. Again, 312 years after this, on the 14th of the month, (which was Tuesday) a man called Partholan arrived with his family.
I might here take notice of the valuable discoveries made concerning the library in Noah's ark, the millennium, and the destruction of the world; but as such subjects are rather trite, I will hasten on to better game.
Insigni referam Camana, the wise opinions of the worthies who professed the Romish system of religion.
Hearken to the most notable of them. St. Macaire's tender conscience was so shocked at murdering a louse, that he resolutely endured seven years penance, by scratching himself with the thorns and briars of a neighbouring forest. St. Francis swore that he preached a sermon to a congregation of birds, who, after having listened with open beaks and outstretched necks, disperse with rapture to report his words to the rest of the birds of the world. Archbishop Anslem wrote his 255th letter on the important question whether it was most meritorious to whip one's self, or to be whipped by another. Another monk, as Cornelius de la Pierre relates in his commentary on the Bible, was of opinion that the cleanest souls dwelt in the filthiest bodies. The same reverend father maintained, that if the partridges, pheasants, and other game fowls could speak, they would cry out- Substantia nostra, caro nostra incorporetur sanctis, ut in iis resurget ad gloriam, non in peccatoribus ad gehenniam." I shall here stop, not through fear of being refuted, for as Arnauld said, I am more afraid of the Papists' pen-knife than their pen: and perhaps if I went on, I might convert this from a philosophical essay, to a needless tirade against popery.
It is very natural that man should be an object of attention to himself. Accordingly we have theories and speculations on his nature from almost every one who can philosophize at all. How and of what materials man was at first created, has long been a wonder to the uninitiated. Such persons must surely be indebted to Monsieur P. Bertrand, who has made the notable discovery of man being produced by the virgin mud on the banks of the Nilus, and impregnated there by the sun's perpendicular beams. Dr. Darwin, to whom we sons of hypothesis are deeply obliged, has been pleased to give us the particulars of this wonderful process of generation. Man," says that acute inquirer," at first floating amidst a liquid element, is nothing.