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princely cradle. All the winged orders their natures (not grief), put back their hovered round, watching when the new-born bright intelligences, and reduce their ethereal should open its yet closed eyes; which, when minds, schooling them to degrees and slower it did, first one, and then the other-with a processes, so to adapt their lessons to the solicitude and apprehension, yet not such as, gradual illumination (as must needs be) of stained with fear, dim the expanding eyelids the half-earth-born; and what intuitive noof mortal infants, but as if to explore its path tices they could not repel (by reason that in those its unhereditary palaces-what an their nature is, toknow all things at once) the inextinguishable titter that time spared not half-heavenly novice, by the better part of its celestial visages! Nor wanted there to my nature, aspired to receive into its underseeming-O, the inexplicable simpleness of standing; so that Humility and Aspiration dreams-bowls of that cheering nectar, went on even-paced in the instruction of the glorious Amphibium.
-which mortals caudle call below.
Nor were wanting faces of female ministrants,—stricken in years, as it might seem, -so dexterous were those heavenly attendants to counterfeit-kindly similitudes of earth, to greet with terrestrial child-rites the young present, which earth had made to heaven.
And myriads of years rolled round (in dreams Time is nothing), and still it kept, and is to keep, perpetual childhood, and is the Tutelar Genius of Childhood upon earth, and still goes lame and lovely.
Then were celestial harpings heard, not in full symphony, as those by which the spheres are tutored; but, as loudest instruments on earth speak oftentimes, muffled; so to accommodate their sound the better to the weak ears of the imperfect-born. And, with the noise of those subdued soundings, the Angelet sprang forth, fluttering its rudiments of pinions-but forthwith flagged and was recovered into the arms of those full-winged angels. And a wonder it was to see how, as years went round in heaven-a year in dreams is as a day-continually its white shoulders put forth buds of wings, but want-but not the same which I saw in heaven. ing the perfect angelic nutriment, anon was A mournful hue overcasts its lineaments; shorn of its aspiring, and fell fluttering-still nevertheless, a correspondency is between caught by angel hands, for ever to put forth the child by the grave, and that celestial shoots, and to fall fluttering, because its birth orphan, whom I saw above: and the dimness was not of the unmixed vigour of heaven. of the grief upon the heavenly, is a shadow or emblem of that which stains the beauty of the terrestrial. And this correspondency is not to be understood but by dreams.
By the banks of the river Pison is seen, lone sitting by the grave of the terrestrial Adah, whom the angel Nadir loved, a Child;
And in the archives of heaven I had grace to read, how that once the angel Nadir, being exiled from his place for mortal passion, upspringing on the wings of parental love (such power had parental love for a moment to suspend the else-irrevocable law) appeared for a brief instant in his station, and, depositing a wondrous Birth, straightway disappeared, and the palaces knew him no more. And this charge was the self-same Babe, who goeth lame and lovely-but Adah sleepeth by the river Pison.
And a name was given to the Babe Angel, and it was to be called Ge-Urania, because its production was of earth and heaven.
And it could not taste of death, by reason of its adoption into immortal palaces: but it was to know weakness, and reliance, and the shadow of human imbecility; and it went with a lame gait; but in its goings it exceeded all mortal children in grace and swiftness. Then pity first sprang up in angelic bosoms; and yearnings (like the human) touched them at the sight of the immortal lame one.
But, by reason that Mature Humanity is too gross to breathe the air of that super-subtile region, its portion was, and is, to be a child for ever.
And because the human part of it might not press into the heart and inwards of the palace of its adoption, those full-natured angels tended it by turns in the purlieus of the palace, where were shady groves and rivulets, like this green earth from which it came; so Love, with Voluntary Humility, waited upon the entertainment of the new-adopted.
And with pain did then first those Intuitive Essences, with pain and strife to
CONFESSIONS OF A DRUNKARD.
I have known one in that state, when he has tried to abstain but for one evening,though the poisonous potion had long ceased
DEHORTATIONS from the use of strong liquors have been the favourite topic of sober declaimers in all ages, and have been received with abundance of applause by water-drink- to bring back its first enchantments, though ing critics. But with the patient himself, he was sure it would rather deepen his the man that is to be cured, unfortunately gloom than brighten it,-in the violence of their sound has seldom prevailed. Yet the the struggle, and the necessity he has felt of evil is acknowledged, the remedy simple. getting rid of the present sensation at any Abstain. No force can oblige a man to raise rate, I have known him to scream out, to the glass to his head against his will. 'Tis cry aloud, for the anguish and pain of the as easy as not to steal, not to tell lies. strife within him.
Alas! the hand to pilfer, and the tongue to bear false witness, have no constitutional tendency. These are actions indifferent to them. At the first instance of the reformed will, they can be brought off without a murmur. The itching finger is but a figure in speech, and the tongue of the liar can with the same natural delight give forth useful truths with which it has been accustomed to scatter their pernicious contraries. But when a man has commenced sot
O pause, thou sturdy moralist, thou person of stout nerves and a strong head, whose liver is happily untouched, and ere thy gorge riseth at the name which I have written, first learn what the thing is; how much of compassion, how much of human allowance, thou mayest virtuously mingle with thy disapprobation. Trample not on the ruins of a man. Exact not, under so terrible a penalty as infamy, a resuscitation from a state of death almost as real as that from which Lazarus rose not but by a miracle.
Begin a reformation, and custom will make it easy. But what if the beginning be dreadful, the first steps not like climbing a mountain but going through fire what if the whole system must undergo a change violent as that which we conceive of the mutation of form in some insects? what if a process comparable to flaying alive be to be gone through is the weakness that sinks under such struggles to be confounded with the pertinacity which clings to other vices, which have induced no constitutional necessity, no engagement of the whole victiin, body and soul?
Why should I hesitate to declare, that the man of whom I speak is myself? I have no puling apology to make to mankind. I see them all in one way or another deviating from the pure reason. It is to my own nature alone I am accountable for the woe that I have brought upon it.
I believe that there are constitutions, robust heads and iron insides, whom scarce any excesses can hurt; whom brandy (I have seen them drink it like wine), at all events whom wine, taken in ever so plentiful a measure, can do no worse injury to than just to muddle their faculties, perhaps never very pellucid. On them this discourse is wasted. They would but laugh at a weak brother, who, trying his strength with them, and coming off foiled from the contest, would fain persuade them that such agonistic exercises are dangerous. It is to a very different description of persons I speak. It is to the weak, the nervous; to those who feel the want of some artificial aid to raise their spirits in society to what is no more than the ordinary pitch of all around them without it. This is the secret of our drinking. Such must fly the convivial board in the first instance, if they do not mean to sell themselves for term of life.
Twelve years ago I had completed my sixand-twentieth year. I had lived from the period of leaving school to that time pretty much in solitude. My companions were chiefly books, or at most one or two living ones of my own book-loving and sober stamp. I rose early, went to bed betimes, and the
faculties which God had given me, I have reason to think, did not rust in me unused.
length opened my eyes to the supposed qualities of my first friends. No trace of About that time I fell in with some com- them is left but in the vices which they inpanions of a different order. They were troduced, and the habits they infixed. In men of boisterous spirits, sitters up a-nights, them my friends survive still, and exercise disputants, drunken; yet seemed to have ample retribution for any supposed infidelity something noble about them. We dealt that I may have been guilty of towards about the wit, or what passes for it after midnight, jovially. Of the quality called fancy I certainly possessed a larger share than my companions. Encouraged by their applause, I set up for a professed joker! I, who of all men am least fitted for such an occupation, having, in addition to the greatest difficulty which I experience at all times of finding words to express my meaning, a natural nervous impediment in my speech!
Reader, if you are gifted with nerves like mine, aspire to any character but that of a wit. When you find a tickling relish upon your tongue disposing you to that sort of conversation, especially if you find a preternatural flow of ideas setting in upon you at the sight of a bottle and fresh glasses, avoid giving way to it as you would fly your greatest destruction. If you cannot crush the power of fancy, or that within you which you mistake for such, divert it, give it some other play. Write an essay, pen a character or description, but not as I do now, with tears trickling down your cheeks.
To be an object of compassion to friends, of derision to foes; to be suspected by strangers, stared at by fools; to be esteemed dull when you cannot be witty, to be applauded for witty when you know that you have been dull; to be called upon for the extemporaneous exercise of that faculty which no premeditation can give; to be spurred on to efforts which end in contempt; to be set on to provoke mirth which procures the procurer hatred; to give pleasure and be paid with squinting malice; to swallow draughts of life-destroying wine which are to be distilled into airy breath to tickle vain auditors; to mortgage miserable morrows for nights of madness; to waste whole seas of time upon those who pay it back in little inconsiderable drops of grudging applause, are the wages of buffoonery and death.
I should repel my readers, from a mere incapacity of believing me, were I to tell them what tobacco has been to me, the drudging service which I have paid, the slavery which I have vowed to it. How, when I have resolved to quit it, a feeling as of ingratitude has started up; how it has put
Time, which has a sure stroke at dissolving all connexions which have no solider fastening than this liquid cement, more kind to
me than my own taste or penetration, at on personal claims and made the demanda
My next more immediate companions were and are persons of such intrinsic and felt worth, that though accidentally their acquaintance has proved pernicious to me, I do not know that if the thing were to do over again, I should have the courage to eschew the mischief at the price of forfeiting the benefit. I came to them reeking from the steams of my late over-heated notions of companionship; and the slightest fuel which they unconsciously afforded, was sufficient to feed my old fires into a propensity.
They were no drinkers, but, one from professional habits, and another from a custom derived from his father, smoked tobacco. The devil could not have devised a more subtle trap to re-take a backsliding penitent. The transition, from gulping down draughts of liquid fire to puffing out innocuous blasts of dry smoke, was so like cheating him. But he is too hard for us when we hope to commute. He beats us at barter; and when we think to set off a new failing against an old infirmity, 'tis odds but he puts the trick upon us of two for one. That (comparatively) white devil of tobacco brought with him in the end seven worse than himself.
It were impertinent to carry the reader through all the processes by which, from smoking at first with malt liquor, I took my degrees through thin wines, through stronger wine and water, through small punch, to those juggling compositions, which, under the name of mixed liquors, slur a great deal of brandy or other poison under less and less water continually, until they come next to none, and so to none at all. But it is hateful to disclose the secrets of my Tartarus.
of a friend upon me. How the reading of me. But out of the black depths, could I be
heard, I would cry out to all those who have but set a foot in the perilous flood. Could the youth, to whom the flavour of his first wine is delicious as the opening scenes of life or the entering upon some newly discovered paradise, look into my desolation, and be made to understand what a dreary thing it is when a man shall feel himself going down a precipice with open eyes and a passive will,-to see his destruction
it casually in a book, as where Adams takes his whiff in the chimney-corner of some inn in Joseph Andrews, or Piscator in the Complete Angler breaks his fast upon a morning pipe in that delicate room Piscatoribus Sacrum, has in a moment broken down the resistance of weeks. How a pipe was ever in my midnight path before me, till the vision forced me to realise it,-how then its ascending vapours curled, its fragrance lulled, and the thousand delicious minister- and have no power to stop it, and yet to feel ings conversant about it, employing every it all the way emanating from himself; to faculty, extracted the sense of pain. How perceive all goodness emptied out of him, from illuminating it came to darken, from a and yet not to be able to forget a time when quick solace it turned to a negative relief, it was otherwise; to bear about the piteous thence to a restlessness and dissatisfaction, spectacle of his own self ruins :-could he thence to a positive misery. How, even now, see my fevered eye, feverish with last night's when the whole secret stands confessed in drinking, and feverishly looking for this all its dreadful truth before me, I feel myself night's repetition of the folly; could he feel linked to it beyond the power of revocation. the body of the death out of which I cry Bone of my bone▬▬ hourly with feebler and feebler outcry to be delivered,—it were enough to make him dash the sparkling beverage to the earth in all the pride of its mantling temptation; to make him clasp his teeth,
and not undo 'em
Persons not accustomed to examine the motives of their actions, to reckon up the countless nails that rivet the chains of habit, or perhaps being bound by none so obdurate as those I have confessed to, may recoil from this as from an overcharged picture. But what short of such a bondage is it, which in spite of protesting friends, a weeping wife, and a reprobating world, chains down many a poor fellow, of no original indisposition to goodness, to his pipe and his pot?
Yea, but (methinks I hear somebody object) if sobriety be that fine thing you would have us to understand, if the comforts of a cool brain are to be preferred to that state of heated excitement which you describe and deplore, what hinders in your instance that you do not return to those habits from which you would induce others never to swerve? if the blessing be worth preserving, is it not worth recovering ?
I have seen a print after Correggio, in which three female figures are ministering to a man who sits fast bound at the root of a tree. Sensuality is soothing him, Evil Habit is nailing him to a branch, and Repugnance at the same instant of time is applying a snake to his side. In his face is feeble delight, the recollection of past rather than perception of present pleasures, languid enjoyment of evil with utter imbecility to good, a Sybaritic effeminacy, a submission to bondage, the springs of the will gone down like a broken clock, the sin and the suffering co-instantaneous, or the latter forerunning the former, remorse preceding action-all this represented in one point of time.-When I saw this, I admired the wonderful skill of the painter. But when I went away, I wept, because I thought of my own condition.
Recovering!-O if a wish could transport me back to those days of youth, when a draught from the next clear spring could slake any heats which summer suns and youthful exercise had power to stir up in the blood, how gladly would I return to thee, pure element, the drink of children, and of child-like holy hermit! In my dreams I can sometimes fancy thy cool refreshment purling over my burning tongue. But my waking stomach rejects it. That which refreshes innocence only makes me sick and faint.
But is there no middle way betwixt total abstinence and the excess which kills you?
Of that there is no hope that it should ever change. The waters have gone over-For your sake, reader, and that you may
never attain to my experience, with pain a song to welcome the new-born day. Now, I must utter the dreadful truth, that there the first feeling which besets me, after is none, none that I can find. In my stage stretching out the hours of recumbence to of habit (I speak not of habits less confirmed their last possible extent, is a forecast of the -for some of them I believe the advice to wearisome day that lies before me, with a be most prudential) in the stage which I have secret wish that I could have lain on still, reached, to stop short of that measure which or never awaked. is sufficient to draw on torpor and sleep, the benumbing apoplectic sleep of the drunkard, is to have taken none at all. The pain of the self-denial is all one. And what that is, I had rather the reader should believe on my credit, than know from his own trial. He will come to know it, whenever he shall arrive in that state, in which, paradoxical as it may appear, reason shall only visit him through intoxication: for it is a fearful truth, that the intellectual faculties by repeated acts of intemperance may be driven from their orderly sphere of action, their clear gives me bread, from harassing conceit of daylight ministeries, until they shall be incapacity. The slightest commission given brought at last to depend, for the faint me by a friend, or any small duty which manifestation of their departing energies, I have to perform for myself, as giving orders upon the returning periods of the fatal to a tradesman, &c. haunts me as a labour madness to which they owe their devasta- impossible to be got through. So much the tion. The drinking man is never less himself springs of action are broken. than during his sober intervals. Evil is so far his good.*
Business, which, though never very particularly adapted to my nature, yet as something of necessity to be gone through, and therefore best undertaken with cheerfulness, I used to enter upon with some degree of alacrity, now wearies, affrights, perplexes me. I fancy all sorts of discouragements, and am ready to give up an occupation which
The same cowardice attends me in all my intercourse with mankind. I dare not promise that a friend's honour, or his cause, would be safe in my keeping, if I were put to the expense of any manly resolution in defending it. So much the springs of moral action are deadened within me.
My favourite occupations in times past now cease to entertain. I can do nothing readily. Application for ever so short a time kills me. This poor abstract of my condition was penned at long intervals, with scarcely any attempt at connexion of thought, which is now difficult to me.
The noble passages which formerly delighted me in history or poetic fiction, now only draw a few weak tears, allied to dotage. My broken and dispirited nature seems to sink before anything great and admirable.
I perpetually catch myself in tears, for any cause, or none. It is inexpressible how much this infirmity adds to a sense of shame, and a general feeling of deterioration.
Behold me then, in the robust period of life, reduced to imbecility and decay. Hear me count my gains, and the profits which I have derived from the midnight cup.
Twelve years ago, I was possessed of a healthy frame of mind and body. I was never strong, but I think my constitution (for a weak one) was as happily exempt from the tendency to any malady as it was possible to be. I scarce knew what it was to ail anything. Now, except when I am losing myself in a sea of drink, I am never free from those uneasy sensations in head and stomach, which are so much worse to bear than any definite pains or aches.
At that time I was seldom in bed after six in the morning, summer and winter. I awoke refreshed, and seldom without some merry thoughts in my head, or some piece of
When poor M-painted his last picture, with a pencil in one trembling hand, and a glass of brandy and water in the other, his fingers owed the comparative steadiness with which they were enabled to go through their task in an imperfect manner, to a temporary firmness derived from a repetition of practices, the general effect of which had shaken both them and him so terribly.
Life itself, my waking life, has much of the confusion, the trouble, and obscure perplexity, of an ill dream. In the day time I stumble upon dark mountains.
These are some of the instances, concerning which I can say with truth, that it was not always so with me.
Shall I lift up the veil of my weakness any further ?-or is this disclosure sufficient?