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He looks upon the trophies of his art,
Alas, poor creature, I will soon revenge
Lamb, in a note to the last scene of The Broken Heart, ranks Ford in the first order of poets. " He sought for sublimity,” he says, “not by parcels, in metaphors and visible images, but directly, where she has her full residence in the heart of man; in the actions and sufferings of the greatest minds.” We do not think this is the impression that his works make as a whole ; it is true only of the highwrought grandeur of detached scenes. Ford, in manners and character, seems to have been, like Jaques, melancholy and gentleman-like. Little is known regarding his life. He is supposed to have been a lawyer, and seems to have had a dislike to the reputation of a dramatist, in so far as it confounded him with those who were authors by profession; for, as Dr. Farmer says in reference to Shakspeare, with exquisite meanness of expression, “play-writing, in this poet's time, was hardly considered a creditable employ.” Ford probably had something of the vanity which Congreve manifested to Voltaire, in desiring to be considered rather as a gentleman than as a dramatist. There was much of the " nice man” in his disposition. He evidently belonged not to the school of “ irregular" genius, so far as regarded worldly reputation ; and we can imagine what disdain would have shot from the burning eyes of Marlowe, had that sublime vagabond lived to see a dramatist studious of conventional decorum, and fastidious in small things. A contemporary satire, The Lines, quoted by Gifford, has a thrust at Ford, which illustrates as well as caricatures his peculiarity : -
“Deep in a dump, John Ford by himself gat,
With folded arms and melancholy hat. He wrote sixteen plays, four of which, in manuscript, shared, with eleven of Massinger's, the distinguished honor of being consumed by Mr. Warburton's remorseless cook, for
waste-paper. He seems to have retired to the country or the grave, it is uncertain which, shortly before the breaking out of the civil wars. The date of his last published play, The Lady's Trial, is 1639. We refer the reader to Lamb's Specimens for the celebrated scenes in the fifth act of The Broken Heart.
In this hurried survey of some of the Old English Dramatists, we have not been able to do more than faintly indicate their genius and individual peculiarities. It would be impossible in our limited space to do full justice to the merits of each. Indeed, though separated by individual differences, and influenced by the changes which came over the spirit of their age, they have all a general resemblance. Fletcher and Ford, perhaps, best indicate the gradual relaxation of the old sturdy strength, — that passage of comedy from humorous character into diverting incident, of tragedy from the sterner into the softer passions, - that gradual weakening of the poetic diction by too strong an infusion of sweetness, which distinguish an age slowly sinking from the region of heroic ideas into those merely romantic. But still, all these writers have, more or less, that depth, daring, vitality, comprehension, objectiveness, - that quick observation of external life and nature, and that ready interpretation of both by inward light, — that varied power and melody of versification, at times so soft and lingering, bending beneath its rich freight of delicious fancies, at others so fierce and headlong, glowing in every part with the fire of passion, - that wide sway over the heart's deepest and most delicate emotions, - and that thoroughly English cast of nature, - which associate them all in the mind as belonging to one era of literature, and partaking of the general character stamped upon it. It would be impossible to point out a class of authors, who have appeared in any of the Augustan ages of letters, more essentially brave and strong, -any who have spoken the language of thought and passion more directly from the heart and brain, - any who more despised obtaining fame and producing effects by elaborate refinements and petty brilliancies, — any who have stouter muscle and bone. Whenever English literature has been timid and creeping, whenever the natural expression of emotion has been debased by a feeble or feverish “ poetic diction," it has been to the old dramatists that men have recurred for examples of a more courageous spirit and a nobler style.
Art. III. — An Introduction to Entomology, or Elements
of the Natural History of Insects ; comprising an Account of Noxious and Useful Insects, of their Metamorphoses, Food, Stratagems, Habitations, Societies, Motions, Noises, Hybernation, Instinct, &c. With Plates.
With Plates. By WILLIAM KIRBY and WILLIAM SPENCE. From the sixth London Edition, which was corrected and considerably enlarged. Philadelphia : Lea & Blanchard. 1846. 8vo.
The question, whether the human mind differs from that of the brute in kind, or only in degree, is one that has exercised the wits both of ancient and modern philosophers, though but to little purpose. It is not likely that the doubt will ever be entirely resolved, as we are altogether ignorant of the inward nature, the essential constitution, of both subjects of inquiry. We can compare only the outward acts, and thence dimly infer radical differences of internal organization. The acts, we say, not the qualities ; for as any two material substances are distinguishable from each other only by their attributes or qualities, in other words, by the different impressions which they make on our senses, it would seem at first sight as if we might separate the mental constitution of man from that of the lower animals as easily as the mineralogist divides quartz from feldspar. But it is not so ; intellect differs from instinct, not as chalk differs from flour, but rather as gravitation differs from chemical affinity, or the unknown principle of heat from the equally subtile and obscure essence of light. With respect either to the human or the brute mind, we can ask what it does ; it would be wholly futile to inquire what it is. Now, there is no action whatever, considered merely as a visible fact, as an exercise of nerves and muscles, which many brutes cannot perform nearly or quite as well as men. They walk, leap, run, and climb; they eat, drink, and propagate their species ; they weep, cry, and even articulate. *
Laughter may be considered as an exception to our remark, since the laughing hyena will hardly be admitted as a case in point. We reply, that the word laughter indicates not merely a visible act, but also the feeling of which this act is the exponent. Animals are susceptible of the emotion, and can perform the act, but they combine them differently; they express this particular emotion in a different manner, and this particular act with them
From their outward acts alone, then, it seems impossible to deduce the characteristic feature of their mental nature. Luckily, a third question remains to us, the answer to which directly involves the subject of our present inquiry, while it appears to be within the reach of human investigation. In regard either to instinct or intelligence, though we cannot tell what it is, we may ascertain what it is not. As we affirm without hesitation that mind is not material, so we may find sure reason to believe that it is radically different from instinct. And this is our present object.
The unsatisfactory character of most speculations upon the mind of brutes seems to have proceeded from overlooking the distinction here pointed out, and attempting to discover the cause, instead of merely pointing out the characteristics, of the phenomena in question. It would be well to show what thought, reason, and reflection are, inquiries in which we have the direct testimony of consciousness to aid us, before we grapple with the far more difficult problem respecting the origin and nature of instinct. The pretended solutions of this problem are wholly hypothetical and unsatisfactory. Descartes considers all animals inferior to man as mere machines ; a supposition so extravagant, that some have supposed that his language, though apparently very explicit, has been misunderstood, and that he meant to say only that brutes did not act from their own free will, but were constantly under the guidance of a superior power. This supposition agrees in the main with the doctrine of Newton and Addison, who maintain that animals act only as they are immediately moved by their Creator. The hypothesis is certainly intelligible, though it appears as yet devoid of proof, and it is open to the obvious objection, that many of the arbitrary and purposeless actions of animals appear quite inconsistent with the infinite wisdom which framed their bodies with such marvellous skill, that not a joint, muscle, or fibre exists without an obvious use. To avoid this difficulty, Mr. French supposes that animals act only as they are moved, not indeed by the Deity, but by a class of superior agencies or beings who fill the void between man and the Creator. As this is a mere hypothesis, and a very unsatisfactory one too,
indicates a different emotion. The grin of a beast shows its ferocity, while that of a man indicates merriment. But two dogs gambolling together show mirth as clearly as two men laughing at each other.
since it refers mysterious effects to causes still more mysterious, and wholly beyond the range of human knowledge, it hardly deserves serious refutation.
Mr. Kirby proposes, but with much apparent hesitation, another theory, which really coincides, though the author seems not to be aware of the fact, with the doctrine of Descartes. He
He supposes, that all the phenomena of instinct are produced by physical action upon the varied organization of animals ; that light, heat, electricity, and perhaps other agencies still more subtile, exert as much influence upon the actions of animals as upon the growth of plants. He compares “the sunflower and the hive-bee, the compound flowers of the one, and the aggregate of combs of the other, the receptacle with its seeds, and the combs with the grubs." The analogy here is so far-fetched that it is hardly any analogy at all, for the author compares the body of the sunflower not with the body, but with the works, of the bee. The phenomena of growth have no similarity with those of action ; we might as well compare fermentation with falsehood. The sunflower properly resembles, not the bee, but the hive.
But argument is not needed to expose the futility of such speculations. An attempt to explain the ultimate cause of any phenomena, whether of matter or mind, is a hopeless undertaking ; and it argues only a confusion of ideas, and an ignorance of the proper objects of human inquiry, to make the trial. We investigate the qualities of an object, or determine the character of a phenomenon, with a view only to its proper classification, to determine its relations to other objects and phenomena, and thereby to assign to it a proper place in the scale of things. We now seek to ascertain the true character of instinct, or rather of the brute mind, of which, perhaps, instinct is only one of the manifestations. We narrow the inquiry still further by asking what the mind of animals is, not in itself considered, but in relation to a single class of other phenomena, the manifestations of the human mind. Is instinct only a lower degree of intelligence, or a modification of it, or is it wholly peculiar and distinct, so as not properly to be classed with human reason any more than with electricity ?
It is first necessary to determine the meaning of the word, or to ascertain the phenomena to which the term instinct is usually applied. Some writers speak of physical instincts,"