« AnteriorContinuar »
# This new and gorgeous garment
Sits not so easy on me as you think.” INCESSANT, earnest, ardent, is state of patient calmness and quiet
man's pursuit of happiness—the hope. Extreme misery, however, is philosopher's stone of every age and as rare as extreme felicity; and with nation since Eve's transgression drove the exception of those who dig out our first parents from its earthly abode, their own wretchedness as eagerly as and rendered its attainment so difficult if they were digging for diamonds, and to their descendants. Ponderous tomes of a few others, intended, perhaps, as of divinity, huge volumes of philoso- perennial proofs of a future state of phy, essays without number, maxims retribution, Happiness is more equally without end, have been written by our and more generally diffused than is fellow-labourers to assist us in the pur- usually imagined. A mighty magician, suit; and, certainly, when we lose our silent and invisible in his operations, is way it is not from a deficiency of fin- ever at work to produce this equilibriger-posts on the road. Yet, stale as um ; and few are the circumstances of the subject is, it can scarcely be unin- life which can resist the incessant touch teresting ;-useless as advice may be, of his powerful fingers. This magician it will generally obtain listeners : there is Habit, the friend of heaven, who are disorders enough in the world to renders self-denial easy and pleasant to find employment for quacks as well as the virtuous; the ally of hell, by whom physicians ; and while men continue the wicked are familiarized to crime. subject to head-aches and heart-aches, It is Habit that takes away the relish they will give their attention to every for the luxuries of the rich, and makes old woman or empiric who promises the coarse fare of the peasant palatable either cure or alleviation.
and sweet ;-that renders the cloister There are a few ingredients in the pleasant to the once weeping nun, the composition of earthly Happiness which ball-room insipid to the once raptured are indispensable, and for which no debutante ; that makes the husband substitute can be admitted: over the gaze uncharmed on the thousand beaulonely inmate of the bed of pain and ties which enchanted the lover, and sickness, whose pangs poverty exaspe- listen unirritated to those querulous rates, whose once kind nurses death has tones and sharp rebukes which, in earremoved, even religion's holy influence lier days, nearly drove him distracted. must fail; her angel smile and sooth- Habit, wonderful Habit, can teach the ing whispers of better things to come proud bride to clasp her diamond neckcan only avert despair, and produce a lace without one throb of exultation,
R ATHENEUM Vol. 10.
and the captive or the Corinthian* to tion ; in other words, who are well wear bis fetters or his stays without a pleased to see a haunch of venison on groan-can bid us gaze unmoved by their table, but can dine contentedly oa wonder or gratitude on suns setting in mutton every day. glory, and heavens spangled by a thou- Again, let us not consider any cirsand stars, while a comet or a corona- cumstance as insignificant which can tion will set all England in a bustle of have the slightest effect upon our temadmiration and delight.
pers and comforts. For what is a hapTo those possessed of a clear con- py life? Is it not so many happy science, of Christian hopes, of health, years and days; and are not days and ease and competence, it would ap- made up of hours and minutes ? Eve pear that happiness ought to be a close ery minute, therefore, from which we companion--an inseparable handmaid; can subtract dullness or discontentyet this is not the case ; and we fre- -every trifling arrangement which quently find more fretfulness and com- can stop complaint and impart even plaining, more vapid days and restless momentary pleasure will have a benenights among the children of affluence, ficial effect on the sum total of our an surrounded by a thousand blessings, nual felicity. He whose temper is unthan among those who rise every morn- der the influence of the weather, and ing to a routine of hardship and of who grows gloomy as the sky grows labour. A few directions may be of dull, he who is annoyed by the cries service to those prosperous people of in the London streets, or fretted by the whom " much joy has dried away the creaking of his servant's shoes, is less balmy dew" of content and gratitude. happy than the man over whom such First, let no one expect ecstasies in this minute distresses have no effect ; for life, but consider the absence of pain as every querulous exclamation, every pleasure, seize every moment of calm feeling of vexation impairs the comfort enjoyment with grateful alacrity, and of the moment, and may, by continual duly estimate the blessings of peace dripping, wear out the stone upon and of repose. Joy is a wild and which our daily Happiness rests. transitory feeling, unfitted to our Some persons travel, go abroad, and present state of existence ;-so unfit- look about them in order to lose instead ted that we know not how to denote of gaining pleasure; they purchase its excess but by tears. “ Few and the sight of a chef-d'quvre by the disfar between” are its visits. The re- satisfaction of the rest of their lives, covery of a dear friend from dangerous and spend their time in making unfasickness, the return of another after a vourable comparisons between what long absence, the first moments of hap- they see to-day, and what they saw py love, when doubt and fear fly be- yesterday. If they have once beheld fore the delicious certainty of mutual St. Peter's or the Bay of Naples, no affection, the first sight of one's off- other church or prospect is worth seespring, or their noble conduct in after ing,—the beauty of an English landlife ;-these are a few of those “ bright scape is lost in the remembrance of sunny spots," which, if unshaded by Italian scenery ; and while others can counterpoising sorrows, glitter upon the derive a refreshing delight from the waste of human life like the fair Oases view at Richmond-hill, or even the unof the desert. But rare, indeed, are pretending beauties of a few sloping moments of this description, and sel. fields and waving woods, these unfordom are we able to resign ourselves to tunate travellers are shut out from all their full enjoyment; they make not gratification, turn away their eyes in up the sum of human life, and those are contempt, and despise the ignorant the wisest among us who, seizing joy pleasure of their companions. Surely, gratefully when it comes, look not for- if the height of admiration, once expeward to it with any sanguine expecta- rienced, is to forbid all lower degrees
* The ignorant are informed that this most elegant appellation has superseded its predecessor Dandy, once so popular in every rank. Sic transit, &c.
of it in future, better is it never to with unnatural figures and hideous detravel at all-better never to lose the signs, of preserved butterflies, and of capability of being gratified by those shells and fossils with forgotten names. objects among which our lives are to Most single women, indeed, have one be passed.
great object of pursuit for which they There art few things which tend dress by day, of which they dream by more decidedly to promote our Happi- night, and which fixes their attention ness, to give vigour to the mind and from sixteen to sixty ; while those who animation to the spirits, than the pur- are married hunt for cooks who never suit of some useful possession or hon- over-roast the meat, or oil the meltedourable attainment, and perhaps there butter, « faultless monsters whom the if nothing more useful and honourable, world ne'er saw," or strive to brighten than the pursuit of knowledge. “Lit- plain children into beauties, or dull erature, like virtue, is its own reward," ones into prodigies, or emulate the gay and possesses every charm which can parties of some fashionable contempowin us to its embrace. It is full of va- rary, and spend three hundred and sixriety and beauty ; it is inexhaustible; ty-four days of the year in contriving it has just so much difficulty as to ex- plans for cheating, or coaxing, or worcite interest in the contest, and triumph rying, or scolding their husbands into in the victory ; it raises us in the scale giving a ball that shall half-ruin them of social and intellectual beings, and on the three hundred and sixty-fifth. brings us into a sort of mysterious com- Young ladies ought to be happy ; munion with the wise of every age and they have always some innocent little nation. In Marmontel's words, “ c'est pursuit in view, besides the great object un plaisir qui coute peu, qu'on trouve of their existence, which, like the unpartout, et qui jamais ne lasse.” In der-plot in the play, may fill up the the words of Owen Feltham, “ Knowl- dull moments of their drama of life, edge is the guide of youth, to manhood and occupy the attention till the hero a companion, and to old age a cordial of the piece appears. Sometimes they and an antidote. If I die to-morrow collect impressions of seals; sometimes my life will be somewhat the sweeter surrounded by new bread and Prussian to-day for knowledge."
blue they make the seals themselves; If we look around us, we shall be sometimes they fill a dozen fairy musicspeedily convinced, that most men feel books with the scarcely visible notes of the importance of a pursuit, and shall waltzes and quadrilles, or cover the be amused by the curious expedients beautiful paper of a large and splendid and strange substitutes to which those volume with old bon-mots and stupid have recourse who refuse to take pleas- riddles and silly songs. Others imiure in rational employment. Some tate Indian work, or Brussels lace, and pursue the improvement of their own injure the brilliancy, and diminish the persons, hunt out fashionable tailors, use, of their eyes, while they, pore study the tie of their neckcloth, and over the minute tracery of a cabinet, muse upon the arrangement of their or the miniature embroidery of a veil ; hair ; some collect trinkets, hang seals others again pajnt velvet by wholeto their watches by dozens, doat upon sale, and look forward with high amdiamond rings, and adore musical snuff- bition towards the glorious time when boxes; others aim at the high art of the curtains, and sofas, and cushions rowing and sailing, or seek the reputa- of their mother's drawing-room shall tion of being capital cricketers, or ru- be flaring with poppies and pionies, in their constitution by pedestrianism, yellow lilies and flaunting tulips, all or their fortunes by racing. Then the produce of their own fingers the there are the male collectors of illegi- offspring of their own labours. ble and unreadable books, of counter Some degree of difficulty, however, feit coins, defaced statues, Claudes is necessary, in order to give interest which were born in England, and to an object and eagerness to our purCuyps of yesterday's production : and suit of it, and it is the ease with which the female fanciers of china covered the rich and the great obtain all they desire, which so frequently renders Most true it is that Happiness most their lives vapid and spiritless, and frequently takes up her abode in the sends them to the gambling-table for middle ranks of life. The mind of excitement and animation. There, man is so constituted as to take more and perhaps there only, they are plac- pleasure in anticipating future good ed on an equality with their compan- than enjoying a present one: ease is ions ; chance is no aristocrat, the dice ten times sweeter when gained by our stop not even by the command of a own exertions ; rest is never truly de sceptre ; there they experience the al- lightful till purchased by previous laternations of hope and fear, the excit- bour ; what we procure for ourselves ation of danger and of doubt ; and seems more precious than any inheritwhile love palls because it always ed possessions ; and the little acquisismiles, luxuries are insipid because yions and indulgences, for which we they court acceptance, and the path of work, and for which we economize, are life is rendered dull by the very pioneer pleasanter amusements in pursuit, and who makes it so invariably smooth; greater blessings in enjoyment, than they rush like madmen to the table all the luxury and splendour to which where the choking interest of an hour the rich and noble are familiarized may be purchased at an enormous from their birth, and which spring not price-may be followed by ruin and by in the remotest degree from their own death.
merit or exertions.
(Literary Gazette, Sept.)
TRANSLATED BY HELEN MARIA WILLIAMS.
There are some men whose names seem to irradiate the age in which they are born, whose every step in life forms an epoch in science, and who, as if Nature herself were sedulous to guard them as her historians, escape unhurt through perils that would alike appal the mind, and overwhelm the bodies, of less enthusiastic, less gifted individuals. Such is Humboldt, every addition to whose travels is an addition to our stock of knowl. edge. In him all the qualities that are requisite for a philosopher and a man of science are most happily combined, whilst the energies of his mind seem to transform themselves into physical powers of more natural strength, to enable him to follow whither his ardour leads him. The termination of his “ Personal Narrative" has made its appearance, and the last part is no way inferior to the first, in vigour of research, truth of inference, and beauty of moral reflection. It is not easy for persons who stay quietly at home, to imagine the exceeding energy of mind which must be called up to bear the privations, the perplexities, of a man exposed to every variation of climate, and to pe. culiarities attendant on each, of which he may be totally ignorant. N.M.M. A FEW weeks since, when this ad- Without retracing, to connect our
dition to the valuable labours of statements, we will beg our readers to M. Humboldt appeared, we paid it plant themselves at Esmeralda, on the that immediate attention which a work Upper Oroonoko, the most solitary and so replete with information demanded; remote Christian settlement in those and having conducted our readers regions. Here there is a bifurcation through one of the two 8vo. vols. into of the river, and the granitic mountain which it is divided, we left the second of Duida rises to the height of nearly for a future convenient opportunity. 8000 feet. The mission contains about That opportunity the autumnal sterili- eighty inhabitants, and yet no fewer ty of the press affords us, and we re- than three Indian languages are spoken turn with pleasure to an author than the Idapimanare, the Catarapenno, whom the present period does not pos- and the Maquiritan. sess one more full of entertainment and “ Esmeralda, (says M. H.) is the intelligence, though addicted in too most celebrated spot on the Oroonoko great a degree to the formation of gen- for the fabrication of that active poison eral systems, and given to too much which is employed in war, in the chase, technicality of expression.
and, what is singular enough, as a
remedy for gastric obstructions. The gathered is marked by public rejoicings, poison of the ticunas of the Amazon, and time is divided according to these the upas-tieute of Java, and the curare festivals, which succeed one another in of Guyana, are the most deleterious a course invariably the same. We substances that are known. Raleigh, were fortunate enough to find an old toward the end of the sixteenth centu- Indian less drunk than the rest, who ry, had heard the name of urari pro- was employed in preparing the curare nounced as being a vegetable substance, poison from freshly-gathered plants. with which arrows were envenomed; He was the chemist of the place. We yet no fixed notions of this poison had found at his dwelling large earthen pots reached Europe, The missionaries for boiling the vegetable juice, shalGumilla and Gili had not been able to lower vessels to favour the evaporation penetrate into the country where the by a larger surface, and leaves of the curare is manufactured. Gumilla as- plantain-tree rolled up in the shape of serts, that this preparation was in- our filters, and used to filtrate the liveloped in great mystery ; that its quids, more or less loaded with fibrous principal ingredient was furnished by matter. The greatest order and neata subterraneous plant, by a tuberose ness prevailed in this hut, which was root, which never puts forth leaves, transformed into a chemical laboratory. and which is called the root, by way The Indian, who was to instruct us, is of eminence, raiz de si misma ; that known throughout the mission by the the venomous exhalations, which arise name of the master of poison (amo from the pots, cause the old women del curare ;) he had that self-sufficient (the most useless) to perish, who are air and tone of pedantry, of which the chosen to watch over this operation; pharmacopolists of Europe were forfinally, that these vegetable juices never merly accused. I know,' said he, appear sufficiently concentrated, till a that the whites have the secret of few drops produce at a distance a re- fabricating soap, and that black powpulsive action on the blood. An In- der, which has the effect of making a dian wounds himself slightly; and a noise, and killing animals, when they dart dipped in the liquid curare is held are wanted. The curare, which we near the wound. If it make the blood prepare from father to son, is superior return to the vessels without having to any thing you can make down yonbeen brought into contact with them, der (beyond sea. It is the juice of an the poison is judged to be sufficiently herb which kills silently, without any concentrated. I shall not stop to re- one knowing whence the stroke fute these popular tales collected by comes.' Father Gumilla.
“ This chemical operation, to which “When we (he continues) arrived the master of the curare attached so at Esmeralda, the greater part of the much importance, appears to us exIndians were returning from an excur- tremely simple. The liana (bejuco,) sion which they had made to the east which is used at Esmeralda for the beyond the Rio Padamo, to gather preparation of the poison, bears the juvias, or the fruit of the bertholletia, same name as in the forests of Javita. and the liana which yields the curare. It is the bejuco de mavacure, which is Their return was celebrated by a festi- gathered in abundance east of the misval, which is called in the mission la sion, on the left bank of the Oroonoko, fiesta de las juvias, and which resem- beyond the Rio Amaguaca, in the bles our harvest homes and vintage mountainous and granitic lands of feasts. The women had prepared a Guanaya and Yumariquin. quantity of fermented liquor, and dur. “ The juice of the liana, when it has ing two days the Indians were in a been recently gathered, is not regarded state of intoxication. Among nations as poisonous; perhaps it acts in a senthat attach great importance to the sible manner only when it is strongly fruits of the palm-trees, and of some concentrated. It is the bark and a others useful for the nourishment of part of the alburnum, which contains man, the period when these fruits are this terrible poison.-Branches of the