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BIRTH-DAY STANZAS TO MY CHILD.
My spirit revels deep in dreams to-day;
I dimly recognize the scenes around; For though thy fairy form is far away,
And still thy father treads this foreign ground, He sees thee in thy native fields at play,
And hears thy light laugh's sweet familiar sound Merry and musical as birds in May !
This is thy natal morn-a date how dear!
How many tender memories mark the time! How oft thy prattle charmed a parent's ear,
And soothed his soul in this ungenial clime ! How oft, when impious discontent was near,
Thy sinless smile hath kindled hopes sublime, And made the gloom of exile seem less drear !
Though now in weary loneliness I learn
What countless miseries broken ties may bring, Though vainly to deserted rooms I turn
For one domestic charm, I will not fling A shade upon this hour, nor idly yearn
For pleasures passed on Time's too rapid wing ; Nor pine at Fate's decrees, however stern.
Dear Child ! to thee devoted is the day,
Thy brethren, (gentle twins,) and she who bears
The small white English cottage sweetly wears
Their tribute-praise, foretel thy future years,
And when the cheerful feast is nearly o’er,
The wine-cup shall be filled, and thy dear name
Regardful of the time; a pleasing shame
Of Birth-day gifts shall childhood's dreams inflame,
And yet, ʼmid all this mirthfulness and pride,
The sudden tears shall dim thy mother's eye,
Thy glittering gauds, and stand in silence by,
On England's happy shores to live or die,
But this blest day no cares shall shade my heart,
Save such as pass like clouds o'er summer skies ;
So now before thy memory sorrow flies;
Dear forms of home, that wake a sweet surprise,
Like visions raised by some enchanter's art ! Calcutta, Oct. 19, 1831.
The lineaments of the body will discover those natural inclinations of the mind which dissimulation will conceal or discipline will suppress.
Lord Bacon. I knew by his face there was something in him.
Shakespeare. I am so apt to frame a notion of every man's humour or circumstances by his looks, that I have sometimes employed myself from Charing-cross to the Royal Exchange in drawing the characters of those who have passed by me. When I see a man with a sour rivelled face, I cannot forbear pitying his wife : and when I meet with an open ingenuous countenance, think on the happiness of his friends, his family and relations,
PAYSIOGNOMY is a science which most people smile at, and which all practise. It is more easily ridiculed than abandoned. The old and the young, the wise and the foolish, the shrewd and the simple, the suspicious and the confiding, all trust more or less, either for good or for evil, to the outward and visible signs of the internal spirit. The philosophical testimonies in favor of this science are sufficiently respectable both in character and number. In the olden time the sages of Egypt and of India cul. tivated it with enthusiasm, and it is supposed that it was from those countries that Pythagoras introduced it into Greece.
Aristotle treated largely of the Physiognomy, not only of man, but of the brute creation. After his time many Greek authors wrote treatises upon the subject, of which a collection was formed and published in 1780. Like Medicine and Astrology it was for a long time associated with divination, and they who followed it as a profession did not confine their scrutiny to the mental character of the countenance, but endeavoured to trace in its lineaments the destiny of the individual, as the fortune-teller of the present day peruses the lines of the hand. It subsequently fell into a temporary disrepute.
It was about the commencement of the eighteenth century that the science was revived. Several treatises on the subject were then published, both in England and on the Continent, by able and learned men ; but Lavater was the first writer of eminence in modern times who made it fashionable and popular. His work on the subject was got up in so splendid a style and with such numerous illustrative engravings, and the author himself was so much esteemed for his many personal virtues, that though he was opposed by a few of the critics of the day he speedily obtained a large body of disciples, and his writings were translated into various languages. A man more truly pious, or more candid and benevolent, the world has rarely known. His character would suffer nothing by a comparison even with that of Fenelon, whom he in many respects resembled. He was not a profound philosopher, but that he was a man of genius no one can have a moment's doubt who has read his celebrated work on Physiognomy, and the autobiographical notices of his early life. It is true that the former is often much too fanciful. It is also too verbose and desultory, and abounds in useless repetitions. These defects must be at once admitted; but they are redeemed by so many acute and ingenious observations, by so many noble sentiments, and by such a pervading spirit of philanthropy and religion, that the author's enthusiasm is almost irresistibly contagious. Though his ardour in the illustration of his favorite science beguiles him occasionally into very untenable positions, and leads him to speak somewhat too decidedly upon points that are purely speculative, his frank acknowledgments of error, and the curious avowal, more than once repeated, that he knows little or nothing of the subject notwithstanding his long study and experience, disarm the anger of the reader, and prepare him to make a liberal allowance for every imperfection.
Lavater introduced the study of osseal physiognomy. All preceding authors confined themselves chiefly to a consideration of what has been called pathognomy, which includes only those moveable or accidental or transient appearances in the muscles or soft parts of the human face which betray the vicissitudes of feeling and of thought, while they neglected those permanent outlines which indicate the general and fixed character of the heart and mind. He was not only a physiognomist in the ordinary and limited sense of the term, but as much of a craniologist as Gall or Spurzheim, though he did not pretend to the same degree of preternatural knowledge; nor attempt, as they did, to divide the mind into distinct and opposite faculties, and assign them their several little bumps or cells.
Lavater advises the student to place a collection of sculls or casts of heads of celebrated or well known persons in one horizontal row.
After comparing these sculls or casts carefully with each other, and each with the intellectual or moral character of the individual, the student may proceed to the consideration of the external conformation of unknown persons. He who after comparing the heads of men of various degrees of mental power can remain of opinion that there is no difference between the sculls of the highest and lowest order of intellect, or in other words that mind leaves no fixed and legible traces upon matter, whether bone or flesh, must have a cranium of his own that would be a puzzle to the phrenologist, were it to indicate any portion of intelligence beyond the merest instinct. Perhaps there is no instance in the whole history of human greatness of a man of magnificent genius with a head, of which the frontal portion was at once both low and narrow. We occasionally indeed meet with persons of considerable capacity whose foreheads may exhibit either the one or the other of these defects ; but never