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the one, is not always in accordance with the concavity of the other. If this point could be maintained in the generality of instances, it would be very important, and so important that it would constitute one of the strongest objections. Were it founded in fact, it is singular that it has not been more in, sisted upon, and that some conclusive evidence has not been adduced to maintain it. The point is capable of easy demonstration. Take indiscriminately any number of skulls, and examine them in reference to this position, and the result must satisfy the mind of any candid spectator. It is a question of fact capable of instant determination; and whoever will take the trouble to bestow the slightest inspection upon the interior of a skull, must be convinced that it corresponds with the form, and has been impressed by the action, of the brain. There are distinctly perceptible, even the marks of the small vessels which are found on the surface of the brain, stamped on the inner surface of the skull.
But, assuming that some cases may be produced, supporting, in some degree, this objection, they are few in number and capable of explanation. The fact is, that the habitual employment of some of the organs is changed, and their action discontinued, whilst others become excited, and obtain a superior degree of activity; and, consequently, the brain partially recedes, or subsides, and the space is occupied by the continued deposit of those particles which are destined to supply and nourish the bony structure; in the same way in which a fractured bone becomes increased in bulk at the place where the injury was sustained.
Besides, these hollows are, of course, perceived only after death; and generally after either a lingering or violent disease, during which material alterations may naturally be expected to have occurred; so that the objection, even supposing there be many instances to support it, is not very formidable. Again, the peculiar prominence of some of the organs may mislead with respect to the estimate of the degree of development of others. For instance, if the organs of benevolence and firmness, (No. 13 and 18,) and which are in situation near each other, should be strikingly indicated; the organ of veneration which lies between them, No. 14), though brought strongly into action, but at a later period than the others, may not be peculiarly manifested.
It appears that the difficulty of acquiring a knowledge of the science is increased by the necessity of studying the collective, as well as the individual, power of the faculties. It is easier to ascertain the abstract nature of any single organ, than to form an estimate of the aggregate result of many or. gans; especially as several of them, if not all, exist in different and various degrees of manifestation. Yet, still, this is not more difficult than the old mode of studying the human character, and the new system possesses the advantage, when perfectly known, of leading to greater. certainty and a higher degree of precision and accuracy. We may, therefore, justly give it the preference.
MILTON'S PARADISE REGAINED.
Milton preferred his “Paradise Regained” to the “ Paradise Lost.” This preference has been ascribed to a supposed incapacity in authors to judge of their own productions. It is soniewhere said, however, that every good poet includes a good critic. If this be a correct position, it is hard to conceive how one, who had evinced sufficient command over his prejudices, to select in a great work those ideas and sentiments which were the most conducive to the proposed end, and most proper to excite sensations of the sublime and beautiful, could afterwards be so subject to the influence of prejudice as to be totally incapable of exercising a rational choice, and more liable to error than they who, perhaps, have never been able to raise their minds to that eminence, whence only the landscape might be taken in, in all its parts and proportions, the delicacy of shadow, and the harmonious gradation of light, from the remotest tint, to the most consummate splendor, uninjured by the mists of ignorance or the fogs of jealousy. The painter, himself, has the most intimate acquaintance with the process adopted in the execution of his picture, and can tell where, and how gradually, the light and shade are blended or contrasted. On the other hand, it is certainly to be feared, that he will be apt to decide according to the trouble he has been at, and not in precise ratio to the merit it involves.
Milton, notwithstanding, must have had some reason for his preference; and the probability is, that his reason was a good one. As an epic, it may be inferior to “ Paradise Lost,” but it is not an epic.' It is more of a dialogue, and is almost as much a drama as “Sampson Agonistes,” or “Comus." It opens after the manner of the antient drama, adopted in the two poems just mentioned, with a soliloquy, in which the actor relates all his previous history. This manner has an engaging, though severe, simplicity about it, but has no pre
VOL. I. PART II.
cedent in the epopée. It would be an evident injustice to decide upon its merits as an epic.
66 In every work regard the writer's end,
Siuce none can compass more than they intend." And what he intended, Milton has completely compassed. It is perfect in itself,—why should it be made to suffer by an undue comparison? Milton might have thought that the poem was superior in kind, and equal in degree. Whatever we may think of its nature, there can be no doubt that its execution is equal to that of his most sublime production. There is no falling off here,—there is the same energy of language, the same vigor of intellect, the same extensive combination of classical allusion and religious feeling, the same harmony of versification,--music on which Handel might brood and become pregnant with sounds of lofty import and majestic sentiment. And in addition to all this, there is “high argument,” an argument between the supreme principle of good, and the principle of evil, in which the sublimest philosophy of virtue is opposed to all the subtle theories and acute deductions of the insidious fiend. It would be an interesting task to compare the very different manner in which a similar speculation is conducted in Lord Byron's poem of “Cain,” with the method which Milton has here so successfully pursued. To do this, in a systematic way, would extend this essay beyond its prescribed limits. We may, however, have convenient opportunity to introduce some observations in the course of our review. Perhaps Milton thought that the exercise of the ratiocinative faculty was more meritorious than that of the fancy and imagination, which, with the “lesser faculties,"
" Serve Reason as chief;" and that its combination, with the exertion of the imaginative, included whatever was worthy in both, and consequently was superior to either. Throughout the whole of his poetical works, it is clear that he kept his fancy under control. He never warbles native woodnotes wild." We know that nature has given him voice, as an organ, to peal the melodious anthem up to heaven; but are conscious that it is ever restrained, Jest a sound should intrude unworthy of the solemn strain.
We would not be supposed to say, that Milton is not a poet of nature; his genius was undoubtedly born with hinn, and he was a poet from his cradle. There are some verses of his written at the age of twelve, and masculine verses too. He had given early proofs of his genius before he went to the university,-a university, * where poetical exercises are not so much encouraged, and yet where most of our great poets have been bred, as Spencer, Cowley, Waller, Dryden, Prior, not to mention any of the lesser ones, as the lives of the author have it, when there is a greater than all-Milton.
But, if nature made him a poet, he did not, therefore, despise the assistance of art. Though he felt the divine afflatus, he did not pour it out as if unconscious of its import, bút insisted on understanding its meaning, and its relative consequence, before he lent it utterance. A rigid master over his muse, he never suffered her to overpower him; she was always subject to his control, and, when he bade her discourse, he suffered only what was proper to the theme. It was eloquent music, indeed; and snatched graces beyond the reach of art; but such graces as art would be proud to adopt, and not contrary to her established forms of excellence and propriety. He knew that true art was the daughter of nature, and the priestess of her mysteries; and that, as a parent may be won by winning the affections, and wounded through the sides of his child, so might nature be approached through art, and outraged if she were offended : yet he was not a slave to her dictates, but appealed to her mighty mother, upon occasions, where he doubted her veracity, or questioned her infallibility.
The poets of the present day are apt to run wild, to despise the ordinances of the daughter of nature, and to appeal on every occasion to her omnipotent parent. But they should beware, lest, in forsaking art, they forsake nature also, and that the great mother do not resent the affront thus offered to her child. Nature becomes art. Men first acted and wrote according to the impulse from within or without, and their writings and actions became examples to succeeding generations ; they were looked up to as standards, -as the standards of experience. Genius, however, is creative of new combinations, and, as it appeared, the standard was often altered, it was improved; the rules of art accumulated. Thus, at every époch, each age improved on the preceding, and genius always outstript the present: still the standard which it institutes is founded, if well founded, in nature; but the superstructure becomes art. Art is, therefore, the succession of combinations in nature, gradually accumulated, and systematically perpetuated, as experimental rules which have an. swered once, and to the same extent may answer again.
He who, therefore, willingly resigns all acquaintance with this standard, goes back to the simplicity of nature; and depends upon his own powers of combination, to excel that which powers similar in kind, and, perhaps, superior in degree, have, from age to age, through the successive exertion of them by different and variously-gifted individuals, successfully laboured to build up and establish. On the other hand, he who refers solely to this standard, may only hope to select from its combinations; and his merit can consist in a judicious preference or choice alone. He must be content with the title of an imitator, and is inferior to the standard, because a part is less than the whole : he may, however, be equal and superior to some parts of which it is composed, since he may combine the excellencies of several, and reject the defects of each. Thus, Pope is superior to many of the poets who succeeded him; but how inferior is he to Milton,-how inferior to the artificial standard of poetry, which all the great bards, antient and modern, had built up, — which Homer, and Pindar, and Æschylus, and Shakspeare, and Milton, had, with blended might, erected. But we do not compare him with these, but with some of the rules which their united creations have suggested. True genius adds something to the pile; it widens the base of the pyramid, and exalts its apex to a more intimate neighbourhood with heaven. Far be it from us to assume that Pope added nothing; we would only be understood to say, that he was more indebted to it than it to him. Milton proceeded differently: he brought that with him
which might add to the stability, and extend the dimensions of the edifice; but he compared it first with what was already established, and only retained so much as comported with the rest of the building, and was of relative or superior excellence. Thus, whatever he added, was of worth; and the service he did to poesy, solid and enduring. It had the stamp of a great and creative intellect; and in all he did, there was the consciousness of a reserve, available upon any occasion ;
“ Half bis strength he put not forth, but check’d
His thunder in mid volley.” It is this continual reference and subjection of his genius to the standard of art which prevents Milton's style from ever falling below its true pitch, and gives a substance to his ideas, of which the quality could be no other than sublime. But there is a difference between the high-mettled Pegasus that requires the curb to restrain its pride of power and place, lest it should give the rider an unlucky fling, and the illegitimate stumbling brute that needs the bit to keep it on its legs.
To return. The first hint of “ Paradise Lost” is said to have been taken from an Italian tragedy; and it is certain he first designed it for a tragedy himself, and there are several plans of it in the form of a tragedy in the author's original manuscript, preserved in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge. This tragedy he appears to have begun after the