« PredošláPokračovať »
Mirthfulness, and Individuality; while wit is more exclusively connected with the second organ." The poet had little gaiety of disposition about himi, except when stimulated by society or otherwise..." His wit,” says Professor Stewart, was ready, and always impressed with the marks of a vigorous understanding; but to my taste, not often pleasing or happy." --> "!.
Imitation is large. I am not aware whether Burns indulged in mimicry but certainly he had'a tendency to imitate the style of such books as he was very familiar with. "He was a successful imitator of the old songs of Scotland. Imitation conferred on him also the dramatic power which characterizes some of his humorous productions, such as The Twa Dogs, The Holy Fair, The Jolly Beggars, and also many of his songs. He had an extraordinary tact in assuming for a time the feelings of individuals -identifying himself with them—and giving expression to those feelings in forcible and striking language. The great excellence of his songs consists in the admirable adaptation of the words to the tune." When his soul," says Sir Walter Scott, " was intent on suiting a favourite air to words bumorous or 'tender, as the subject demanded, no poet of our tongue ever displayed higher skill in marrying melody to immortal verse.” For these talents, Imitation is believed to be indispensable.
The intellect of Burns was of a high order. He was not indeed on a level with such men as Bacon, Shakspeare, or Franklin; but his understanding was nevertheless one of unusual power. The anterior lobe projects much forward, and the frontal sinus probably did not exceed the ordinary size. Individuality seems to have been the largest of the intellectual organs. From this, and Eventuality, which is very little inferior to it, 'originated the remarkable acuteness of his observation, and the vividness of his descriptions. There is nothing general in the pictures which he draws: every object is given with a distinctness and detail which make us almost imagine that the scene itself is before our eyes. Burus's love of knowledge was very strong, and had the same origin. In youth, as his brother Gilbert relates, he read such books as he an avidity and industry scarcely to be equalled." “ No book," it is added, “ was so voluminous as to slacken his industry, or so antiquated as to damp his researches." His penetration into the feelings and motives of others arose from Individuality and Secretiveness, joined to the strength of his own faculties in general. The first gave readiness in noticing and remembering facts; the second enabled him to dive beneath external appearances; and the third furnished the consciousness, and hence the full comprehension, of every faculty which actuates mankind.
There are several of the perceptive faculties, of the manifes
tations of which I am entirely ignorant. He was fond of travelling, and of visiting scenes renowned in history and sung. “ I have no dearer aim," he tells Mrs Dunlop, “than to have it in my power, unplagued with the routine of business, for which Heaven knows I am unfit enough, to make leisurely pilgrimages through Caledonia ; to sit on the fields of her baiiles; to wander on the romantic banks of her rivers ; and to muse by the stately towers or venerable ruins, once the honoured abodes of her beroes." This wish he afterwards in some mensure accomplished. Its prineipal source was his powerful Locality. By means of the same faculty, he is made a good progress” at school in mensuration, surveying, and dialling.
The organ of Tune is full; but I have experienced difficulty in judging of his musical capacity. His teacher mentions that, in childhood, he could hardly distinguish one psalm-tune from another ; but it is evident that, at a later period, he was fully alive to the beauty of the sacred music of Scotland. This is proved by the manner in which he alludes to the subject, in The Cotter's Saturday Night:
“ Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise ;
Or plaintive Marlyrs, worthy of the name :
The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays :
The tickled ears no heart-felt raptures raise;
Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise." Though Burns had no taste for the mere technicalities of music, he was fond of the simple and the expressive. “My pretensions to musical taste," he writes to Mr Thomson, " are merely a few of nature's instincts, untaught and untutored by art. For this reason, many musical compositions, particularly where much of the merit lies in counterpoint, however they may transport and ravish the ears of your connoisseurs, affect my simple lug no otherwise than merely as melodious din. On the other band, by way of amends, I am delighted with many little melodies which the learned musician despises as silly and insipid.” I shall not pretend to say whether the taste of Burns or that of the connoisseurs was the better. The development of the organ of Tune, though not great, is, I think, suflicient to have enabled him to display, after due cultivation, a very respectable amount of musical talent. The faculty, however, was entirely neglected.
Respecting Comparison and Causality I have nothing to remark, except that they are indispensable ingredients in a character so sagacious as that of Burns. There is something ludicrous in the surprise of Dugald Stewart, at the distinct conception which Burns formed of the general principles of association, from a
perusal of Alison's work on Taste. The poet's letter to Mr Alison, on this subject, deserves to be quoted. “I own, sir, that, at first glance, several of your propositions startled me as paradoxical. That the martial elangour of a trumpet had something in it vastly more grand, heroic, and sublime, than the twingle-twangle of a Jew's, barp; that the delicate flexure of a rose twig, when the half-blown flower is heavy with the tears of the dawn, was infinitely more beautiful and elegant than the upright stub of a burdock, and that from something innate and independent of all association of ideas : these I had set down as irrefragable orthodox truths, until perusing your book sbook my faith.” Allan Cunningham; is in doubt whether or not Burns's faith was really shaken. To me it seems evident, from the very nature of the objects contrasted--the trumpet and Jew's harp, the rose and bare stub of a burdock,—that the poet was only complimenting the philosopher, and retained as firmly as ever his original and rational conviction.
Burns had a good deal of logical power, and could trace acutely cause and effect; but it is hardly necessary to observe, that of his reflective faculties he had little opportunity of making any notable display.
I have thus endeavoured to give an impartial account of the character of Burns, and to trace its various features to the radical mental qualities indicated by his skull. The subject is by no means free from difficulty ; and I am conscious of many defects in the foregoing analysis ; but, after what has been said, I may perhaps be allowed to hope that the candid reader will agree with me in regarding the skull of Burns as a striking and valuable confirmation of the truth of Phrenology.
THE PRINCIPLES OF PHYSIOLOGY APPLIED TO THE PRE
SERVATION OF HEALTH, AND TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF PHYSICAL AND MENTAL EDUCATION. By ANDREW COMBE, M. D., Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. 2d Edition, Enlarged and Corrected. Edinburgh: A. & C. Black; and Longman & Co. London. 1834. 12mo.' Pp. 385.
Dr Combe's object in this volume, is to lay before the public a plain and intelligible description of the structure and uses of some of the more important organs of the human body, and to shew how information of this kind may be usefully applied both to the preservation of health, and to the improvement of physical and mental education. The work is divided into ten chapters, in which are considered the usefulness of physiological knowledge,-the structure and functions of the skin,-preservation of the health of the skin,-nature of the muscular system, -effects of, and rules for, muscular exercise, -structure, uses, and health of the bones, respiration and its uses,--the nervous system and mental faculties,-causes of bad health, -and application of the principles of physiology to the amelioration of the condition of the insane. The author has no intention of en. deavouring to make “ every man his own doctor ;" but, in expounding the laws which regulate the corporeal system, aims merely at enabling persons of common sense to take care of their health while it subsists; to perceive why certain circumstances are beneficial or injurious ; to understand, in some degree, the nature of disease, and the operation of the agents which produce and counteract it, and to co-operate with the physician in removing the morbid state when it occurs, instead of defeating, as is now through gross ignorance constantly done, the best concerted plans for the renovation of health. It is commonly objected to the communication of such knowledge to the public generally, that it is sure to do harm by making people constantly think of this and the other precaution, to the utter sacrifice of every noble and generous feeling, and to the certain production of hypochondriacal peevishness and discontent. “ The result, however," observes Dr Combe,“ is exactly the reverse ; and it would be a singular anomaly in the constitution of the moral world were it otherwise. He who is instructed in and familiar with grammar and orthography, writes and spells so easi. ly and accurately as scarcely to be conscious of attending to the rules by which he is guided; while he, on the contrary, who is not instructed in either, and knows not how to construct his sentences, toils at the task, and sighs at every line. The same principle holds in regard to health. He who is acquainted with the general constitution of the human body, and with the laws which regulate its action, sees at once his true position when exposed to the causes of disease, decides what ought to be done, and thereafter feels himself at liberty to devote his undivided attention the calls of bigher duties. But it is far otherwise with the person who is destitute of this information. Uncertain of the nature and extent of the danger, he knows not to which hand to turn, and either lives in the fear of mortal disease, or, in his ignorance, resorts to irrational and hurtful precautions, to the certain neglect of those which he ought to use. It is ignorance, therefore, and not knowledge, which renders an individual full of fancies and apprehensions, and robs him of bis usefulness. It would be a stigma on the Creator's wisdom, if true knowledge weakened the understanding, and led to injurious results. And accordingly, the genuine hypochondriac, whose blind credulity leads him to the implicit adoption of every monstrous specific, is not the person who has gained wholesome knowledge by patient study in the field of nature ; but he, and he alone, who has derived his notions of the human constitution, and of the laws of nature, from the dark recesses of his own crude imagination.
" Those who have had the most extensive opportunities of forming an opinion on this subject from experience, bear unequivocal testimony to the advantages which knowledge confers in saving health and life, time and anxiety. Dr Davies of the East India Company's Depot at Chatham, for example, distinctly states that, for this very reason, the man of mature age, who has been some years at a trade before enlisting, is found to make the most valuable soldier, because he not only conforms with more ease to the system of diet and restraint necessary to subordination, but, having more experience, he is more observant of health, learns sooner how to take care of himself, to avoid or diminish causes of disease, and then ill, he gives more aid in bringing about a state of convalescence.' De Davies adds afterwards, that this knowing how to manage is an invaluable qua
. lification to a saldier embarking for service in a tropical climate;' and if it is invaluable to the soldier, it is assuredly not less safe and advantageous to the civilian.”
As the health of the brain, and consequently the proper performance of the mental functions, is greatly influenced by the condition of the other parts of the body, particularly the skin, lungs, stomach, and blood, it is impossible fully to understand the moral and intellectual phenomena of man, without bestowing attention upon every part of his frame. “It has been the misfortune," says the late Professor John Gregory, “ of most of those who have studied the philosophy of the hunan mind, that they have been liule acquainted with the structure of the human body and the laws of the animal economy; and yet the mind and body are so intimately connected, and have such a mutual influence on one another, that the constitution of either, examined apart, can never be thoroughly understood.” To the phrenologist, therefore, the subjects treated of by Dr. Combe, especially in his chapter on the brain, possess a peculiar interest.
In this second edition is given a chapter in which the principles of physiology are applied to the condition of the insane. As ihe truths which it contains ought to be made known as extensively as possible, and the chapter must be new to such of our readers as have perused the first edition alone, we shall transfer the greater part of it to our pages.
“ Having given the reader some notion of the extent to which human health and happiness depend on the fulfilment of the conditions which the Creator has attached to the exercise of the bodily and mental functions, and shewn that the direct design of suffering and pain is to lead us to a stricter obedience to