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In a short time it will be impossible of butes, and an immortal destiny, but us to conceive of such men as Alfred, as being of few days, and full of trouor Lord Surrey, James Crichton, or ble, a petty insignificant creature, full Sir Philip Sidney
of fraud, and deceit, and selfishness, The poetry of life is the sublimated and subject to an infinite variety of essence of human existence, and not diseases and infirmities. Woman is the every-day casualties that surround not the demi-celestial object, without us, and beset us ; consequently an in- whose presence earth would be a wilcessant intercourse with these alope, derness, the paragon of ideal beauty, and the perpetual exercise of the judg- subsisting on the strength of the affecing and reasoning faculties, obliging tions, which bind her to stronger man; the imagination to lie unused and but a necessary part of society, encreasdormant, has a deadening, a chilling, ing its comforts, and keeping up the a withering influence on the mind, race. Childhood is not the state of and tends entirely to obliterate those innocent beauty and simplicity, of pure feelings and aspirations, on which the thoughts and warm feelings, but the
production of poetry depends. The idiocy of our minds, which requires į poetical constitution, above all others, training, and correction, and cultiva
is remarkable for its delicacy, as the tion, to render us sober men, and fineness of its conceptions sufficiently useful citizens. indicates ; and it, no doubt, is as im These are the common opinions of possible to preserve this undestroyed, society, the chilling and disheartening and untainted amid the dull routine truths, which we hear from all lips of the world, as it would be to expect every day, and all day long”-and fleetness and nimbleness in the animal they are unpoetical. How is it to be that has been accustomed to the slow supposed then, that the men who are step, and unvarying paces of a loaded continually exposed to the withering wain. The beauty of the fields and influence of these current maxims, and the sublimity of the mountains, come who, to preserve unanimity, are oblito be considered in no other light, but ged to echo them back, and to concur that of their utility, as being barren in their infallibility-how is it to be of pasture, or rich of grain, what rent supposed, that they are to throw off they bring, and what is the extent of the load that oppresses them-to fortheir acres. The ocean, whose wa- get what they hear every day--and to ters teach“ Eternity,-Eternity, and shut their eyes to every thing that is Power," comes to be regarded, only in passing around them-and, in despite as far as it furnishes a communication of their contracted and desolate view between us and distant lands, for the of human nature, and the external extension of commerce. Man,“ with world, form a bower of happiness for the human face divine,” is not consider themselves, in the paradise of imaginaed so much as a Being of majestic attri- tion?
BRODIE'S INTRODUCTORY LECTURE. Delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons, May 8, 1820. MR BRODIE's name stands deservedly not very numerous class of writers, on high in the world, and in the profes- philosophical subjects, whose works sion of which he is so great an orna- will always be perused with pleasure, ment, not merely from his practical and instruction, because his attention skill, and liberal and benevolent mind, appears directed more to the ascerbut also from the zeal and perseverance tainment of facts, than to the forming with which he is accustomed to devote of brilliant and ingenious theories on the little leisure that can be abstract- hasty and insufficient data. As far as ed from the calls of an arduous pursuit, he proceeds, he may always be relied to the purposes of keen and scientific on as an acute and faithful guide research into subjects which, a cen- his object is truth alone; and though tury or two ago, were scarcely consi we may occasionally differ from him, dered as collateral branches of the sur- he is always intelligible, and certainly gical profession. He is one of that never, intentionally, mişleads. In ena
tering upon his subject, Mr Brodie 'may exist in a kind of dormant state, seems fully aware of the disadvantages independant of any active principle ; under which he labours in performing and we think no one of his instances the arduous duties of the office, which conclusive on the subject. “ In genehe has been so handsomely solicited 'ral,” says Mr Brodie, we see life to fill.-" I cannot,” says he, “but combined with action, and living bebe aware how difficult, and how ex- ings present an endless multitude of tensive is the science of which I am phenomena in perpetual and rapid about to treat; and I am also consci- succession. Life, however, may exist ous of the imperfect nature of my independent of any action which is own qualifications," adding, “that his evident to the senses.
The egg conknowledge of it, is no more than can tinues unaltered, and giving no sign be acquired by an individual who joins of an active principle within it for days the pursuit of science with that of an and weeks ; but its vitality is demonarduous profession.” These difficulties strated by its resisting putrefaction; too have perhaps received some aug and when subjected to the influence mentation from his being the immedi- of a higher temperature, it begins ate successor, in the lectureship of a within itself a series of changes, which gentleman, who, though he has been end in the developement of a new very severely, but somewhat justly, animal. The seeds and bulbous roots 'censured, for rashly indulging in spe- of plants are under parallel circumculations foreign to his purpose, is, stances; and trees are frost-bound in nevertheless, admitted to be a man of the winter, and put forth new leaves high professional character, and of ac and blossoms in the ensuing spring. knowledged ability and genius. A leech, which was immersed in a
It is the object of Mr Brodie, in the cold mixture, was instantly frozen inLecture before us, to treat “ of the to a hard solid substance; at the end Laws which regulate the Phenomena of a few minutes the animal was graof Life, and the changes which Matter dually thawed; the leech revived, and undergoes, and the forms which it as continued to live for thirty-six hours sumes, when it becomes associated after the experiment. A curious illuswith this mysterious and active prin- tration of this subject is afforded by ciple;" and he seems desirous, after the animalcules which occasion the the example of Baron Haller and Mr blight in corn, called by farmers the Hunter, to refer “the phenomena of purples or ear-cockle. These animallife to peculiar laws, instead of ex cules, which are not to be discerned by plaining them as had been done be the naked eye, become distinctly visifore by the mechanical and chemical ble when moistened with a little walaws which operate on dead matter." ter, and placed on a piece of glass in the He admits, “ that matter, when en field of a microscope. They are seen dowed with life, does not lose those in constant motion, and even the ova properties which belong to it in its in- may be detected in the act of escaping organic form;" and adduces many in from the oviduct. If the moisture be stances in support of the assertion, allowed to evaporate, a dry stain is though he considers such properties left on the glass, which is scarcely peras being in combination with others ; ceptible, but, on the addition of a little and that the changes “ which are con- water, the animalcules revive, and, sequent to death, shew not that they move briskly as before. This experiare suspended, but that they are mo ment was repeated by Mr Bauer with dified and counteracted by the influ the same animalcules at intervals of ence of another principle.' His great several months, during a period of object seems to consist in a desire to more than six years, and always preprove that the laws which govern life sented the same phenomena.” Among differ from those “ which govern the the foregoing examples the experiment changes of inorganic matter;" and we of the leech is, perhaps, the inost fathink, that through several pages,
he vourable to Mr Brodie's supposition; has argued the question with great ap but here, it appears to us probable, parent probability and clearness: we from the short time during which the do not, however, quite agree with him leech remained in a frozen state, that when he seems to infer, from certain the active principle was not completely examples which he produces, that life destroyed, and consequently that little
or no conclusion can be drawn from enter into “ the composition of all lithe experiment. In the instance of ving bodies," and of the wonderful efthe egg, our author does not appear to fects produced in the structure of libe aware that a very sensible degree of ving things, by the various combinawarmth exists in what has been called tions of a few simple materials, and the “cicatrice” of an egg not in a state the chemical changes they undergo; of putrefaction ; this warmth is felt " and on the influence of the living more decidedly in fresh laid eggs, than principle.” in those which have been lain for se In speaking of the blood, we do not veral weeks; and any of our readers exactly comprehend the author's meanmay convince themselves of the truth ing, when he tells us, that“ The blood of this, by simply pressing the larger is necessary to life, inasmuch as it supend of an egg to the lips. It is by this plies to the different organs that, withtest that the farmer's wives in some out which life cannot exist-but no parts of England learn to distinguish farther;" and yet, immediately after, a good egg from a bad one. Experi- ' gives the instance of a frog, that lived ments, as to the real existence of heat, and crawled an hour after
the excision cannot well be tried with respect to of the heart, “ by which time, the vesthe purple, or ear-cockle; but, reason sels must have become empty of blood.” ing from analogy, we should feel in. Again, he says, life, in its active clined to believe that the active prin- state, exists no where, except where ciple was never " annihilated,” in the there is access to the atmospheric air;" experiments made by Mr Baüer, al. but, if this be true, and we believe it though, from the extreme minute- to be so, what possible effect can the ness of these animalcules, it would be air have on an animal, when it has difficult, if not absolutely impossible, been entirely deprived of the only meto detect its existence.--As to the dium through which the air can have “ bulbous roots of plants” and “ trees any influence; and may it not be more frost-bound in the winter,” we should reasonable to conclude, in the instance draw a conclusion opposite to our au- adduced, that the blood was never comthor, even from the fact he has him- pletely exhausted till the animal ceased self noticed in a subsequent part of to exist ? It is well known that the his lecture; for if, “ In the midst of animals, instanced by Mr Brodie, are a long-continued frost, a thermometer capable of existing for months, and introduced into the centre of the trunk even for years, in a state of torpidity; of a tree does not sink to the freezing and hence, may it not appear probable point," and again, if, “ The tempera- that they are able to carry on a kind ture of the interior of a tree is said to of temporary life, after they have been be above that of the atmosphere, if almost entirely drained of blood ? The the latter be below 57 of Fahrenheit's real nature of this most important fluid thermometer,” and “ if the tempera- is, and probably ever will remain, one ture of the atmosphere rise above this of the most difficult questions in phypoint, that of the tree does not rise in siology; and, perhaps, the author
may the same proportion.” To what pos- be less clear on the point than usual, sible cause can these phenomena be from his possessing some different, assigned, unless to the absolute exist- though indistinct views of the subject,
ence of some active principle, which which, in the present imperfect state enables the tree so powerfully to resist of the science, he has wisely abstained these various degrees of heat and cold from producing. in the external atmosphere? especially Our limits will not permit us to folas, we believe, no such power of re- low him throughout the whole chain of sistance is observable in a tree actually his admirable reasoning, on the great dead. In remarking on the foregoing question of a “particular creation;" examples, we do not mean to deny the his arguments, in support of it, appear possibility of Mr Brodie's supposition, to us to be conclusive, and absolutely however we may think them insuffici- unanswerable. It has been asserted ent to prove the accuracy of his notion. by some writers, from what is known He proceeds to some of the most re of the nature of parasitic animals, and markable circumstances incident to life from other instances, “that there is in in“ its active state," and gives a very nature the power of forming the lower admirable account of the elements that orders of living beings by an equivocal
generation,” and that “ dead matter ject; but, on this point, we shall leave is, under certain circumstances, capa our author to speak for himself. ble of bursting into life, where life be “We cannot, as in some sciences, fore did not exist.” To these suppo- set out with what is most simple, and sitions Mr Brodie offers the following gradually ascend to what is compliobjections : “ These same animals, cated. In considering one set of phewhen once called into existence, are nomena,
I shall often have occasion to endowed with the generative faculty, refer to others, which I have not had and bring forth young in the usual an opportunity
of explaining, and I manner. Is it probable that the origin shall feel it difficult to say all that I of the parents should be different from would wish to say on these subjects, that of their offspring ? Is it not more without supposing my audience to be reasonable to conclude, that something already possessed of a general informarespecting the production of these mi- tion respecting them. This, I am nute creatures is concealed from our anxious to state in the commencement view, than that they should be produ- of the course, as an apology for many ced in a manner entirely contrary to the things in the subsequent parts of it, analogy of what is observed in other which might otherwise be attributed beings endowed with life, whose larger to a want of method, and a careless arsize makes them more fit subjects of rangement." observation? It is not difficult to be Towards the close of the Lecture, a lieve that their ova may be too small warm and just eulogium is pronounand insignificant to be cognizable to ced on the deep research and splendid our senses--that they exist where their powers of Mr Hunter, who seems to existence is not suspected ; and that it have been the first philosopher who is only when conveyed by accidental emancipated the science of physiology circumstances, into a proper nidus, from the “clumsy mechanical, and that they give birth to the young ani- chemical notions,” under which it had mals.”—Page 27.
so long laboured. The concluding senThe succeeding twenty pages are tences of the Lecture cannot be too chiefly devoted to proving," that an often, nor too seriously reflected on, by animal is something more than a mere those whose business it is to devote assemblage of instruments, which are their time and abilities to the study connected and act in concert with each not only of surgery, but of its collateother.” We shall not attempt to re- ral branches, on the attainment of mark on this part of the lecture, ex- which, so mainly depends the dignity cept by stating generally, that for ac of the profession, and the rank it must curate investigation, sound judgment, hold in society. We suspect, that, in and perspicuous reasoning, it has rarely these observations, Mr Brodie writes been surpassed; while the simplicity from the experience of his own profesof the style, the
total absence of all af- sional career; and, if the distinguishfectation, and the feeling with which ed situation he holds, at an early age, the whole is written, throw a charm be the result of the study and persearound it not often possessed by works vering course which he has undevi. on similar topics, otherwise containing atingly pursued, from the commencegreat intrinsic excellence. Mr Brodie's ment of his public life, we hope it may opinions, on these subjects, form an prove a sufficient stimulus to others of admirable counterpoise to many pre- his profession, zealously and vigorousvalent notions of the day, and do no ly to follow his animating example, in less credit to the soundness of his un- making strenuous endeavours to throw derstanding than to the excellent qua- additional lights upon an art, which is lities of his heart. Some objections of such vital importance to the comfort may possibly be raised to the want of and happiness of human nature. a methodical arrangement of his sub
SKETCHES OF VILLAGE CHARACTER.
The dawning day has scarcely scared the night,
“ 'Tis twelve o'clock”—and expectation lies-
The Aunt-imparted penny, Jessie's all,
* “ Pitlessie Fair,”--the earliest, and in all those graphic excellencies by which the pencil of Wilkie has since been distinguished, perhaps the richest of his future produetions,
" The fairest of her Daughters Eve," is now in the possession of Charles Kinnear, Esq. of Kinnear, Fifeshire.