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for I have forgotten all my classics. Being told that you always examined in the Corinthians, I have for many months been committing the different chapters to my memory; but I did not know that you examined in Luke. I must throw myself upon your mercy for forgiveness, and will never again presume to make the attempt.” The chaplain said, “ I will report your excellent conduct for thirty years, and your sweet nature, to his lordship; and I am satisfied that, in a few days, I shall have the pleasure of seeing you in possession of your preferment.”
It will appear upon a comparison of this anecdote with the candidate examined by Dr. Milner (see ante page 11) that whatever resemblance there may be between them, the candidate examined by Dr. Milner was so simple as either to deceive himself, or to imagine that he could deceive the intelligence around him. This distress was without sympathy; but the candidate for orders is, from his meekness and humility, in distress with sympathy.
Distress with sympathy, seldom, if ever, occasions laughter, but may be known by tears such as angels shed, and acts such as angels perform. It is susceptible of an infinite variety of sensations and actions, from the lowest species of passive to the highest species of active benevolence; from the mere sympathetic spectator, who sighs for wretchedness, yet shuns the wretched; who pities with civility or a transient prayer, and passes on to him who is eyes to the blind and feet to the lame : who is a father to the poor, and the cause that he knows not, searches out.
It is thus that the impressions made by human events, whether really occurring or represented in a writing or picture, depend chiefly upon the knowledge and sensibility of the mind on which they operate. The same circumstance will make one person laugh, which shall render another serious; as the laughter excited in any person may, by afterthought, be corrected, and produce a totally different train of feeling.
A few instances will easily explain this truth.
A large crowd of people were hooting and laughing at a man who had done some act with which they were displeased—“ Nay,” said an aged woman," he is some body's bairn." Such are the different views which different spectators take of the same subject; such is the feeling of maternal love, of which there is to me always an affecting image in Hogarth's fifth plate of Industry and Idleness, where an aged woman clings with the fondness of hope not quite extinguished to her vice-hardened child, whom she is accompanying to the ship destined to bear him away from his native soil; in whose shocking face every trace of the human countenance seems obliterated, and a brute beast's to be left instead, shocking and repulsive to all but her who watched over it in its cradle before it was so sadly altered.*
The learned, the judicious, the pious Boerhaave relates that he never saw a criminal dragged to execution without asking himself, Who knows whether this man is not less culpable than me?' On the days when the prisons of this city are emptied into the grave, let every spectator of the dreadful procession put the same question to his own heart. Few among those that crowd in thousands to the legal massacre, and look with carelessness, perhaps with triumph, on the utmost exacerbation of human misery, would then be able to return without horror and dejection; for who can congratulate himself upon a life passed without some act more mischievous to the peace or prosperity of others than the theft of a piece of money.*
* C. L.
In the Harlot's Funeral, by Hogarth, the misemployed characters, on a superficial inspection, provoke to laughter; but when we have sacrificed the first emotions to levity, a very different frame of mind succeeds, or the painter has lost half his purpose. I never look at that wonderful assemblage of depraved beings, who, without a grain of reverence or pity in their perverted minds, are performing the sacred exteriors of duty to the relics of their departed partner in folly, but I am as much moved to sympathy from the very want of it in them, as I should be by the finest representation of a virtuous death-bed surrounded by real mourners, pious children, weeping friends-perhaps more by the very contrast. What reflections does it not awake of the dreadful heartless state in which the creature (a female too) must have lived, who in death wants the accompaniments of one genuine tear! That wretch who is removing the lid of the coffin to gaze upon the corpse with a face which indicated a perfect negation of all goodness or womanhood—the hypocrite parson and his demure partner—all the fiendish group -to a thoughtful mind present a moral emblem more affecting than if the poor friendless carcass had been depicted as thrown out to the woods, where wolves had assisted at its obsequies, itself furnishing forth its own funeral banquet.*
* Dr. Johnson.
In the same spirit Sir Thomas Brown says" At the sight of a cross or crucifix I can dispense with my hat, but scarce with the thought or memory of my Saviour: I cannot laugh at, but rather pity the fruitless journeys of pilgrims, or contemn the miserable condition of friars; for though misplaced in circumstances, there is something in it of devotion. I could never hear the AveMary bell without an elevation; or think it a sufficient warrant, because they erred in one circumstance, for me to err in all, that is in silence and dumb contempt; whilst therefore they directed their devotions to her, I offered mine to God, and rectified the errors of their prayers, by rightly ordering mine own. At a solemn procession, I have wept abundantly, while my consorts, blind with opposition and prejudice, have fallen into an excess of scorn and laughter.”+
And in the same spirit he says—“ I own there is a general beauty in the works of God, and therefore no deformity in any kind of species of creature whatsoever. I cannot tell by what logic we call a toad, a bear, or an elephant ugly, they being created in those outward shapes and figures which best express the actions of their inward forms; and having passed that general visitation of God, who saw that all that he had made was good; that is, conformable to his will, which abhors deformity, and is the rule of order and beauty: there is no deformity but in monstrosity, wherein, notwithstanding, there is a kind of beauty; Nature so ingeniously contriving the irregular parts, as they become sometimes more remarkable than the principal fabric." * Reflector.
+ C. L.
SOLUTION OF THE CONTINUITY OF
A SAILOR dropped out of the main-top of a man-of war, and after in some degree breaking his fall by catching at the rigging, fell on the lieutenant's head, and knocked him down on the quarter-deck. The sailor jumped up, as did the lieutenant—“ You rascal,” said the lieutenant, “ where did you come from ?” “ From the north of Ireland, an' please your honour," answered the sailor.
I was invited to attend the funeral of Professor Porson : as is usual I suppose on those occasions, all the party were assembled before we were summoned to at. tend the procession. We followed his sister to the adjoining room, in which upon tressels we saw the coffin covered with black cloth. There was a square plate with an inscription of the professor's age: I was the last of the party. I had seen much of the professor within the month prior to his death, and was with him the day before he died. Standing by his coffin, I thought of his