« EelmineJätka »
true poet: I do not mean a mere dreamer, but the interpreter of Nature to his fellows. This temperament is generally distinguished by a small spare form, delicate features, with a thin upper lip, slender muscles, pallor of countenance, and, too frequently, fragile health.
Your twenty-five-stone men are rarely men of thought or action; but this, like every other rule, has its occasional exceptions. These various temperaments are seldom found pure and unmixed; but are generally more or less blended together in each individual.
We have next to consider the differences caused by sex. And here we find a most beautiful and admirable adaptation of the mental endowments and characteristics to the bodily conformation. The male is formed for power-corporeal and intellectual; the female for gentleness, affection, and delicacy of feel, ing. It is wort of remark that of all the animated creation, woman is the only female possessing the principal share of the beauty of person characterising the race. In man, in conformity with his greater firmness and vigour of body, we find on the mental side the fancy predominant and active; the feelings easily controllable to suit the command of the will; the emotions less overpowering than in woman; and those passions strongest, in general, which are the most founded on intellectual or ideal impulses; such as ambition, love of fame, love of honour, of knowledge, &c. In woman, on the contrary, the nerves are much more excitable; the receptivity is greater, and the reaction less. On the mental side we find feeling predominant; and hence the energy of the judgment and will is impeded: the emotions are very powerful, and exercise the most potent influence; as are those passions which are founded chiefly on the social impulse, such as imitation, desire of pleasing; but above all, love; which is to woman by God's decree the centre of her world of feeling, suffering, and joy. An attempt has been made of
late years, chiefly by writers of the American school, to claim for the female sex what they are pleased to term eqnality with men. They would endeavour to enhance the importance of woman in the social scale by dragging her from the peaceful shade of homethe sphere assigned her by her Maker's fiat-out in the glaring sunlight, amid the toil, the tumult, the contending passions, the clashing spirits of men. They would force her, spite of her natural constitution, into the arena of contest, -of social, political, and literary strife; preventing and destroying her natural instincts and destiny; totally ignoring the indisputable fact, proven by pyschological truth and the teaching of ages—that there is a sex of mind as well as person. They would present to us—instead of the natural state of women, the choicest creations of the Divine goodness-distorted images, deformed things, mental hermaphrodites, partaking of the emblances of each sex; without the uses or the graces of either. Such doctrines will not, I apprehend, ever be widely diffused in England. The clear-sighted and sensible of our countrywomen will always be ready to admit the truth so beautifully expressed by Milton
“O thou, for whom
Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise.
“ For nothing lovelier can be found In woman, than to study household good ;
And good works in her husband to promote." It must appear evident to an unprejudiced mind, that woman was no more intended for the rough mental work of the world, than she is fitted for its physical labour. Her perfection is best displayed in quiet intellectual occupations, and in care and
activity directed towards the happiness of those to whom she is attached. At the risk of offending some of my fair hearers, I must express the opinion, warranted by past history of our race, that woman is greatly inferior to man in reasoning powers, extent of views, originality and grandeur of conception, range of intelligence, permanence of impression, consistency, firmness, and courage (except where a deep affection subsists). It is no answer to this to adduce examples of female eminence--Semiramis, Catherine of Russia, Louisa of Prussia, Madame de Stäel, Mrs. Somerville, H. Martineau, Eliza Cook, Charlotte Bronte, Mrs. Stowe, &c. These scattered exceptions but prove the rule. The literature of ancient and modern days, moreover, presents us with no productions of the female mind that can parallel the brilliant creations of the other sex; nothing that will bear comparison with the lofty flights of Shakspere's genius: the dazzling sublimity of Paradise Lost;" the gorgeous imagery of “Queen Mab;" the profundity of thought displayed by Kant, Comte, and Dr. Brown; the startling insight of the heart shown us by Thackeray; the intense humanity of the author of "Bleak House.” On the other hand, women unquestionably possess more acuteness of sensation, of apprehension, of emotion; quicker insight into human character; more tenderness, affection, and compassion; more of all that is endearing and capable of soothing human woes. They are more credulous, more generous, more constant in love, and more devoted than men. It has been well sung
" A thousand acts in every age will prove,
Women are valiant in a cause they love.
Their name's disgrace!" The diversities of mankind presented by division into races, will next very briefly engage our atten
tin. These are now generally taken by ethnologists as five in number ;-the Ethiopian, the American, the Mongolian, the Caucasian, and the Malay. These present remarkable differences in mental endowments, as well as in physical characteristics. The Ethiopian or Negro, physically known by the bluck skin, protruding lips, and woolly hair, is essentially of the sanguine temperament; his mental attribute is conspicnous sensuality. The American Redman is decidedly of the Lilious temperament, and, tho' highly imaginative, is gloomy in disposition, and of defective reasoning powers. The Bushmen of Caffraria (a sub-division of these) are generally considered to represent the lowest extremity of the scale of humanity
The Mongol, or Asiatic, comes next in the scale of intellectual power; he is known by the olive skin and black hair ; he seems a mixture of the nervous and phlegmatic temperaments, violent and impetuous when excited he has yet a strong and permanent disposition to apathy, indolence, and luxury. The white Caucasian race, besides presenting the most attractive outward form, is pre-eminent in all those mental particulars which distinguish man from the brutes. The intellectual faculties of its individuals are susceptible of the highest cultivation. Philosophy and the fine arts flourish in it, as in their proper soil.
Individual peculiarities, called idiosyncrasies, do not merit much consideration. They are chiefly physical, and more interesting to the physician than the general observer. The different periods of human life, however, have a powerful influence in modifying the relations of the mind and body. In childhood, the mental as well as physical elements, still engaged in self-formation, sensitive to every external influence, are lively, but weak in the re-action. In adult age, the re-action preserves a beautiful equilibrium, with equal vigour and permanency. In old age the energy declines, and only the early pro
found impressions abide, and act with calm thought in the now passive mind. This mental decay slowly progresses, like the lowering of a curtain over a stage scene, until the evening twilight descends upon us, and we fall into the
sere and yellow leaf.” The rapid association of ideas is no longer manifested. The brilliant repartee, the splendid imagery, the poetic fancy which captivated, and the rapid glowing eloquence which enchanted, are no longer at our command, to exercise a magic spell over our listeners.
The functions of the brain are consciousness (sensation), volition, and thought. Sleep is an inactive state of that organ, during which its functions are partly suspended. The faculties of the brain, become wearied by their exertions in the day, and rest is necessary to recruit them during the night by means of sleep. It may thus be defined as a repose of the proper instruments of thought, by which not only these, but the powers of the body also, are refreshed. Lichtenburg truly says, “ The master-piece of creation must for a time become a plant, in order to be enabled to represent for a few consecutive hours, this same master-piece of creation." How eloquently the incomparable Shakspere has described sleep :
"Sleep knits up the ravelled sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Chief nourisher in life's feast."
" Tir'd Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!"