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accurate and satisfactory manner, every particle of sand, or other foreign body, was carefully washed off, and the plaster of Paris applied with all the tact and accuracy of an experienced artist. The cast is admirably taken, and cannot fail to prove highly interesting to phrenologists and others.
"Having completed our intention, the skull, securely enclosed in a leaden case, was again committed to the earth precisely where we found it. ARCHD. BLACKLOCK.
"DUMFRIES, 1st April 1834.”
Before considering the particular faculties by which Burns was distinguished, it may be useful to offer a few observations on his head and character generally. In these preliminary remarks I shall advert, 1st, To the general size of his brain; 2dly, To its quality and activity; and, 3dly, To the relative development of the three great divisions of the cerebral organsthose of the animal, moral, and intellectual powers.
1. In GENERAL SIZE, the skull of Burns considerably surpasses the majority of Scottish crania; heads which, even undivested of the integuments, equal it in volume, being regarded by phrenologists as large. The following are the dimensions of the skull of Burns:
During life, the circumference of Burns's head must have been about 24 inches, the length 84, and the breadth 63.
2. The QUALITY of the poet's brain was still more pre-eminent than its size. Its activity and intensity of action were indeed very remarkable. His temperament appears, from Nasmyth's portrait, but more particularly from the descriptions given of his person and the expression of his countenance, to have been bilious-sanguine or bilious-nervous (bilious predomi nating); both of which are accompaniments of great cerebral and muscular activity. "His form," says Dr Currie, "was one that indicated agility as well as strength. His well-raised forehead, shaded with black curling hair, indicated extensive capacity. His eyes were large, dark, full of ardour and intelligence.
His face was well formed, and his countenance uncommonly interesting and expressive. He was very muscular, and possessed extraordinary strength of body." Sir Walter Scott, who had the fortune to see Burns, gives the following account of the natural language of his features: "There was a strong expression of sense and shrewdness in all his lineaments; the eye alone, I think, indicated the poetical character and temperament. It was large and of a dark cast, which glowed (I say literally glowed) when he spoke with feeling or interest. I never saw such another eye in a human head, though I have seen the most distinguished men of my time *." Independently of temperament and expression, however, there is a sufficiency of direct evidence of the intense vivacity with which Burns's brain was capable of performing its functions. Burns," says Currie, "had in his constitution the peculiarities and the delicacies that belong to the temperament of genius." "Endowed by nature with great sensibility of nerves, he was, in his corporeal as well as in his mental system, liable to inordinate impressions; to fever of body as well as of mind." To the same effect are the following remarks, from the pen of a female writer (understood to be Mrs Riddell), who knew him well. "I believe no man was ever gifted with a larger portion of the vivida vis animi: the animated expression of his countenance was almost peculiar to himself. The rapid lightnings of his eye were always the harbinger of some flash of genius, whether they darted the fiery glances of insulted and indignant superiority, or beamed with the impassionate sentiment of fervent and impetuous affections +." Burns, then, had a brain both large and active; and hence the vivida vis, in other words the activity and power, of his mind.
3. With respect to the RELATIVE DEVELOPMENT OF THE THREE GREAT DIVISIONS of the poet's brain. Heads, as is well known, are generally divided by phrenologists into three classes. The first includes those in which the organs of the propensities and lower sentiments predominate over the organs of the faculties peculiar to man; that is to say, where Amativeness, Combativeness, Destructiveness, Secretiveness, Acquisitiveness, Self-Esteem, Love of Approbation, and Cautiousness, or most of them, are larger than Benevolence, Conscientiousness, Veneration, Ideality, and the organs of Reflection. Heads in the second class are of an exactly opposite description, and indicate a preponderance of the moral feelings and reflective intellect. The third is composed of heads in which the two orders of organs are pretty equally balanced. A man whose head belongs to the Lockhart's Life of Burns, p. 114.
+ Article originally published in the Dumfries Journal, and inserted in Currie's Life of Burns.
first of these classes is naturally endowed with base, selfish, and violent dispositions, and falls into vicious practices in spite of the best education. He in whom the organs of the moral sentiments and reflective intellect predominate, is “a law unto himself," resists temptation to evil doing, and remains uncorrupted even among associates the most depraved. When there is little disproportion between the organs of the propensities and those of the peculiarly human faculties, as in the third class, the character of the individual is powerfully influenced by circumstances, and is good or bad, according to the society in which he is trained, the ideas instilled into his mind, and the example and motives set before him. To this third class— but with a slight leaning, perhaps, towards the first-belonged the head of Robert Burns. The basilar and occipital regions, in which are situated the organs of the animal faculties, appear from the cast to have been very largely developed; but, at the same time, the coronal region-its frontal portion at least-is also large; and the anterior lobe, containing the organs of the intellect, is very considerably developed. Besides, the natural force of the regulating powers must have been greatly increased by the excellent moral and religious education which the poet received. The following statement of the cerebral development indicated by the skull, shews the relative size of the individual organs; and the four views, though not perfectly accurate, will convey to the reader a sufficiently correct notion of the general appearance of the skull.
It may be necessary to apologize for the frequency with which this classification of heads is repeated in our pages. Without such repetition, many of our occasional readers would find the meaning obscure.—Ed.
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It is in cases like the present that those apparent contradictions of character, which were so puzzling before the discovery of Phrenology, occur. Individuals so constituted exhibit opposite phases of disposition, according as the animal or the human faculties happen to have the ascendency. In the heat of passion they do acts which the higher powers afterwards loudly disap prove, and may truly be said to pass their days in alternate sinning and repenting. With them the spirit is often willing, but the flesh is weak. Their lives are embittered by the continual struggle between passion and morality; and while, on the one hand, they have qualities which inspire love and respect, they are, on the other, not unfrequently regarded, even by their friends and admirers, with some degree of suspicion and fear. In treating of this species of character, in an essay read to the Edinburgh Ethical Society last winter, I adduced, as illustrations of it, the cases of Samuel Johnson and Robert Burns; and the cast now under consideration shews that, with respect to the latter, my estimate was not at fault. The mind of Burns was indeed a strange compound of noble and debasing qualities. "In large and mixed parties," says Dr Currie," he was often silent and dark, sometimes fierce and overbearing; he was jealous of the proud man's scorn, jealous to an extreme of the insolence of wealth, and prone to avenge, even on its innocent possessor, the partiality of fortune. By nature kind, brave, sincere, and in a singular degree compassionate, he was, on the other hand, proud, irascible, and vindictive. His virtues and his failings
had their origin in the extraordinary sensibility of his mind,* and equally partook of the chills and glows of sentiment. His friendships were liable to interruption from jealousy or disgust, and his enmities died away under the influence of pity or selfaccusation."
Throughout the correspondence of Burns, as well as in his poems, many allusions to the internal struggle in his mind are to be found. In a prayer written in the prospect of death, the strength of his passions is thus adverted to:
"O Thou, Great Governor of all below!
Thy nod can make the tempest cease to blow,
With that controlling pow'r assist ev'n me,
For all unfit I feel my power to be,
To rule their torrent in th' allowed line:
O, aid me with thy help, Omnipotence Divine !"
It appears, then, that none of the regions of Burns's brain was, in relation to the others, deficient; its total size, we have also seen, was great, and its activity was very extraordinary. Hence the force of character for which he was remarkable; the respect which men instinctively paid him; the strong impression which he has made upon the public mind; the impressiveness and originality of his conversation; the dread which his resentment inspired; and the native dignity with which he took his place among the more learned and polished, but less gifted, literary men of his day. With a small or lymphatic brain, such things would have been altogether impossible. "In conversation," says Professor Walker, "he was powerful. His conceptions and expression were of corresponding vigour, and on all subjects were as remote as possible from common places." The same author relates a very characteristic ineident, which took place before Burns had come before the public. "Though Burns," says he, "was still unknown as a poet, he already numbered several clergymen among his acquaintance: one of these communicated to me a circumstance which conveyed more forcibly than many words, an idea of the impression made upon his mind by the powers of the poet. This gentleman had repeatedly met Burns in company, when the acuteness and originality displayed by the latter, the depth of his discernment, the force of his expressions, and the authoritative energy of his understanding, had created in the former a sense of his power, of the extent
This is a good specimen of the old method of accounting for mental phenomena. Sensibility only adds to the activity of existing faculties; and from these faculties it is that virtucs and vices take their origin. Sensibility is sometimes accompanied by eminent virtue, sometimes by strong passions, and sometimes, as in the case of Burns, by a mixture of both. Hence, some other cause than sensibility must be looked for.