Page images

“ A dauntless soul &c.”—This verse alludes to the unshaken firmness with which More met his end. Hume speaking of it says, “ not only his constancy, but even his cheerfulness, nay his facetiousness never forsook hiin; and he made a sacrifice of his life to his integrity, with the same difference that he maintained in any ordinary occurrence.” When he was ascending the scaffold he told the executioner, with a smile, “ Friend see me up but when I have to come down let me shift for myself.

Answer 6th.—Bacon's philosophy is described here as of a divine character, as tending directly to the benefit of man, and leading us, by induction, to a connection of the existence of a great First Cause.

Answer 7th.-Newton is represented here as a pure disembodied spirit as one lent to mankind, by God, to disclose to them his boundless works, and the order and harmony that pervades his government.

The poet very properly uses lent here. All natures gifts are lent to us for some special purpose, and we are all responsible for the use we apply them to. Shakspeare uses lent in the same sense in the following verses :

“ For nature lends not the smallest scruple
Of her excellence, but like a thrifty goddess,

Determines to herself both thanks and use." The laws here alluded to are what are commonly called in mechanics o the three laws of motion.” The poet calls them “ sublimely simple because the principles they disclose are very simple, and yet suffice to explain all the phenomena of nature.

Answer 8th.--A great change has taken place, in the opinion respecting Shakspeare, since Thomson's time. He is now no longer considered wild, but the most exquisite art is now acknowledged to be exhibited in his writing, and Ben Jonson's opinion that

“ A poet's made as well as born:

And such wert thou.” is fully confirmed. Milton has the following verses on Shakspeare:

“ Or sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child,

Warbles his native wood notes wild." and Gray these

" Far from the sun and sumer glade,

In thy green lap was natures darling laid.
“ This pencil take she said whose colours clear,

Richly paint the vernal year:
Thine too these golden Keys, immortal boy!
This can unlock the gates of joy.
Of horror that and thilling fears,

Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears.' "
Answer 9th.

“ Three poets in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy and England did adorn,
The first in loftiness of thought surpast,
The next in majesty, in both the last;
The force of nature could no further go,
To make a third she joined the former two."-Dryden.

The allusions in the last two verses are to Milton's own descriptions of chaos, of blooming Eden, and of Paradise.

Answer 10th. In the first four verses the poet promises to write heroic poetry. Thomson did not fulfil his promise.

In the fifth verse Thomson promises to write such lyric poetry as were composed by the ancient bards. The following verse from Milton's L’Allegro is called up by the sixth

“ Sometimes let gorgeous tragedy,

In sceptered pall come sweeping by,
Representing Thebes or Pelops" lines,
Or the tale of Triy divine.”

Gray has these verses on tragedy,

" In buskin'd measures move,

Pale grief and pleasing pain,

And horror tyrant of the throbbing breast.” Thomson wrote the tragedies of " Agamemnon," " Sophonisba,” “ Coriolanus."

The poet is of all writers to inculcate virtue because his pictures make the deepest impression.

Answer Ilth.-Qin, the Esop of his age, lived a while in indolence and retirement, but being deeply animated with a love of fame, he returned to the stage, and acted his part with greater vigour. Yet he did not go beyond nature's bounds, but observed decorum; and could now excite our pity, and now our admiration.

Obsolete words are introduced into the Castle of Indolence, because this poem is written in imitation of Spencer.

Qin is called “the Esopus of the age” because he inculcated morality. Answer 12th.

(1.) “To strew the laureate herse where Lyçid lies.”—Milton. (2.) « Where the Attic bird.

Trills her thick warbled note the summer long.”—Milton. (3.) “ As thick as idle motes in sunny rays.”—Chaucer. (4.) “Yet I do fear thy nature,

It is too full o’the milk of human kindness.”-Shakspeare. (5.) “I know a bank whereon the wild thyme grows.”Shakspeare.

Thomas KALLONAS, Dacca College,
Third College Class, Second Year,

Junior Scholar.

Mental Philosophy.

Morning Paper. Answer 1st.—The term Metaphysics is commonly applied to those sciences which treat of subjects beyond physics, or of subjects which are not perceivable by our senses. Stewart's Philosophy of the Human Mind treats, principally at least, of our mental faculties which are not perceivable by our senses; therefore it can, I think, be properly called a work on Metaphysics, according to the above definition. The vague meaning of this term has led those men who are chiefly occupied with the objects of their senses to believe that as the science treats of nothing of the sensible world which to them is only useful, mental science can be of no use in the ordinary business of life, and so they have thrown into discredit without discrimination what is clear and useful in the science as well as what is obscure and frivolous.

Answer 2nd. The peculiar difficulties which are inseperable from the subject of Mental Philosophy are—(1) the common opinion that it has no connection with the business of life. (2) Our natural inclination to draw analogies from the material world. (3) Lateness of the period from which it began to be successfully cultivated. But of all these difficulties that which arises from the ambiguity of language is the most insurmountable. This difficulty is even greater than that which we meet with in reasoning in this science. During the whole of any reasoning process, we often find ourselves obliged to keep a steady and scrupulous attention to the signification of the terms we employ; and, excepting only in those cases in which we have accurately defined the words we make use of, and have rendered these words perfectly familiar to us by long practice, we are sure to run into errors and absurdities, if we do not pay that degree of attention to the meaning of the terms. This happens most strikingly when the words we employ are of a very abstract nature, such as honour, justice, government, policy, constitution, church, state &c., &c.

With improvements in language, these words become more and more precise in their significations, the limits to their meaning become accurately marked; and they therefore offer steady subjects to the investigation of philosophers. Philosophers in the ancient times had been engaged more in disputes about words than in attempts to increase the stock of human knowledge. But when the signification of the words become undisputedly fixed and ascertained, they would natural produce advance of knowledge and lead to more useful and important discoveries. The meanings being accurately fixed, all the particular things and particular objects which are comprehended in the general terms will be precisely classified according to their common qualities; and these classifications will be more comprehension in consequence of the assistance which science improved by the possession of precise and well defined general terms, would give to our powers of reasoning and invention.

Answer 3rd. It was Mr. Hume who first drew the attention of men to the relations which connect our thoughts together and to the laws which regulate their succession. The relations which Mr. Hume points out are, resemblance and analogy and contiguity in time and place. This enumeration, although not sufficient, was worthy of the attempt of a philosopher and was in the true scientific direction. Because these are the principal relations which regulate ideas in the minds of the greater bulk of mankind, for in their minds ideas are associated according to their most obvious relations and it is these relations which Hume attempted to enumerate.

A philosopher should first ascertain the case of the generality of mankind and then endeavour to find out the exceptions to the general rule which he will establish. Therefore Hume's attempt was in the true scientific direction, though there are many other relations which connect thoughts in our mind, and though the relations which regulate ideas in the mind of a philosopher be quite different from those which prevail in ordinary minds.

Hume's enumeration of the principles which regulate the succession of ideas in the mind is of course defective, but a complete enumeration of them is impossible. For these principles are innumerable; ideas may be even associated together in consequence of the similarity of sounds of the different words which express them. Stewart divides these principles into two classes; that is, those which are obvious, and occur to us spontaneously, and those which do not occur without some effort of attention.

Answer 4th. According to Stewart casual associations are apt to warp our speculative judgements in the three following ways. (1.) By connecting in our thoughts things which are distinct in their nature, so as to introduce perplexity and error into every process of reasoning in which they are involved. (2.) By misleading us in those anticipations of the future from the past which are the chief foundation of our conduct in life. (3.) By connecting in our thoughts erroneous opinions with truths which irresistably command our assent and which we find of importance to human happiness.

The connections which exist in every mind between the notions of extension and colour, as also between those of time and space, are striking examples of the first kind of casual associations.

The popular belief in the influence of the planets and of lucky days, the observances and religious ceremonies which accompany the practice of medicine among rude nations, are examples of the second class of casual associations.

From the class of associations arises bigotry in national religion and institutions, and a deep rooted affection and veneration for those maxims, of whatever nature; to which we have been taught from our childhood to give an implicit assent.

Stewart clearly traces these errors and superstitions to their proper causes and shows by means of convincing arguments and illustrations that they have no foundation in the universal nature of human constitution, but arise merely from accidental associations; his instructive observations therefore may have the beneficial effect in clearing the mind of these errors, unless the mind be blended by superstition and therefore incapable of understanding the language of reason.

Answer 5th.-It was Dr. Reid who has given currency to the opinion that the province of imagination is limited to objects of sight. According to Stewart this opinion is quite erroneous. Imagination, says he, delights to display its power of combination in all the various objects of human enjoyments. How many beautiful images have been drawn from the fragrance of the fields, from the melody of the groves &c.! Still it must be acknowledged that the objects of sight furnish the principal and by far the most pleasing materials, out of which imagination selects and forms its own creation ; but it is not the only source.

In the rise of the fine arts, taste without imagination is impossible. There being then no work of eminence by which we can form our taste, imagination acts the part of taste and works according to its own views. It consequently remains vigorous at the beginning of the rise of the fine arts. But as the works in these arts grow numerous, we can form our taste by the perusal of these works, and therefore taste now takes the part of imagination and improves daily, while imaginations declines. This takes place according to the general principle that all our faculties both mental and bodily receive improvements or decays, according to the excercise and cultivation which we give to them.

Answer 6th.—Many circumstances, says Stewart, have happened and many discoveries have been made to render the progress of society to a state of greater happiness, certain and almost inevitable. The press has secured a gradual progress and civilization of mankind. The modern method of fortifications has secured civilized countries from the attacks of barbarians who in the ancient times, produced shocking havocks on countries and kingdoms which they attacked, and destroyed the monuments of human industry and science. Experience has taught the rulers of mankind that the prosperity of their nations does not depend on the poverty and misery of their neighbours, but on their prosperity and opulence; and that the best source of public revenue should be derived from their own country and not from foreign subjects. In the ancient histories we often read of the downfall of empires and kindoms, of sudden changes from prosperity into misery, from civilization into barbarity and these may dishearten us of the progressive improvement of our race; but the circumstances and discoveries, above mentioned and which are all effects of education and the general diffusion of useful knowledge, have rendered such revolutions in the present age impossible; and we have every reason to hope that as knowledge will increase and be more diffused, such improvements and discoveries will more and more increase in number, and will render the path of the progress of society to a state of greater happiness clearer and easier, at every step.

BROJONATH MOOKERJEE, Kishnaghur College,

Second Class.

« PreviousContinue »