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most successful in anticipating the uncivilised habits of the tribes, to whom we have but too often imparted only the ills of civilised tyranny, and more than barbarian degradation. In our own most crowded streets they offer asylums from filth and neglect, and present examples of all that is good and happy. Still, infant schools are almost languishing in England for want of public support and good visitation. There are, perhaps, 25,000 children in them, instead of 150,000, who ought to be there. In Westminster, for instance, the centre of public spirit, there are above 8000 children, from two to six years of age, fit for infant schools. During twelve years also, the richer people of Westminster have had before their eyes eminently successful examples of these schools, from their first establishment under Mr. Buchanan, their originator; and the inhabitants possess a rental of more than a million sterling on the one hand, whilst they see a yearly increasing mass of crime and pauperism threatening their peace on the other. Nevertheless, in defiance of this invitation-of this means of enjoying the good, and of the warning given by so much evil, about 1000 only of the children are provided with this excellent corrective to vice.
An infant school in Geneva possesses an advantage deserving of universal adoption. The most valuable part of that establishment is justly described to be the spacious and beautiful garden, of which the children have the use. This is regarded by its instructor, M. Monod, as absolutely indispensable. In it they take their diversions, perform gymnastic exercises, labour with their little rakes, wooden shovels, and wheelbarrows, a roof being made over part of the grounds for exercise in wet weather.
There are now in England, it is thought, above 500 infant schools, the whole number wanted being about 6000. Whatever may be said of other seminaries, to these there seems to be no serious objection. Instead of taking labourers from industry, the absence of infants at school enables their mothers to attend to profitable employment; and most enviable will that Member of a Reformed Parliament be, who shall bring before the legislature the details proper to promote the establishment of institutions, which, duly managed, will secure universal applause.
Thirdly. Primary schools. This title, which should be transferred to infaut schools, designates those with which we are all familiar, under the names of the National, or Bell's schools, and the Lancasterian schools. As it is no part of the present purpose to discuss minute details respecting the management of different modes of instruction, it is sufficient to say, that about 370,000 children now attend the National, and above 60,000 the Lancasterian schools; and it will be cause of much satisfaction if the distinctions heretofore productive of many evils to these establishments, can be removed by an honest and wise union of them all, divested of mutually injurious peculiarities in point of religious minor doctrines.
Fourthly. Sunday schools. These schools are also familiar to every reader. They now contain about one million of scholars, most of whom, however, attend the primary schools; to the statement of which fact we shall only add, that it has been proposed by one of the ablest of those scholars, Mr. Rowland Detrosier, of Manchester, to increase their usefulness by adding to their subjects of study.
Fifthly. Schools of Industry. It has often been objected to the education of the poor, that the profitable employment of their hands is better for them than the intellectual employment of their heads; and if schooling made idle men, there would be much in the objection. Our forefathers were of opinion, however, that schooling is not in itself an evil; and if it can be shown, that profitable labour may be exercised, and habits of industry acquired, at the very time during which learning is being gained, the cause of learning, thus combined with industry, will triumph without a dissentient voice.
For several years past, Fellenberg and others upon the Continent have united various kinds of labour with study; a practice familiar to the most eminent nations of antiquity. In the United States (to go again to North America for examples of good,) this system has of late been most favourably begun at schools called Manual Labour Academies. To Englishmen, who know how
much general and scientific tuition takes place in the Royal Navy at the same time that the midshipmen are also discharging their frequently arduous naval duties, it will be obvious, that to divide the attention in this way, is far from having the effect of blunting the faculties. To what extent it may be carried as an economical process, remains to be tried by experience. Already, however, it has given hope to hundreds of the poor, that the morning of life is not necessarily to be worn away in unmitigated toil, leaving old age either ignorant or pennyless.
Sixthly. Lyceum and Mechanics' Institutions. These institutions are of somewhat a like kind; the latter being of English origin; the former, of American. It is not intended to say more respecting Mechanics' Institutions, than that experience has proved them to be deserving of more extensive use, and their founder, Dr. Birkbeck, to be one of the benefactors of his species.
The American Lyceums being less known, and in some important points of a different character, the following account of them is offered from the volume* before quoted.
The name Lyceum was originally applied to institutions designed to promote the cultivation of natural science, by mutual communication and influence; and a number of these were long since established in the state of New York, whose efforts have done more perhaps for the promotion of science than any other single means. Within a few years, the people of a town in Massachusetts resolved to form an institution for mutual improvement, not merely in natural science, but on all subjects of immediate interest and usefulness, and with a special reference to the promotion of knowledge among themselves, and the extension of the sphere of instruction in common schools, by exciting the taste for knowledge, and showing its value. They assumed the name Lyceum. This example was imitated by other towns. Several towns united to form a County Lyceum, composed of delegates from the towns. The institution spread from county to county. State Lyceums have ultimately been formed in several States, designed to embrace the County Lyceums, and others are soon to be formed.
In this way, the term Lyceum has been applied to associations for mutual improvement, by means of discussions and public lectures, and the collection of libraries, apparatus, and objects of natural history. In this application of the term, which has now become too general to be changed, the Lyceum is essentially a social institution, availing itself of the social principle to call forth the resources of every individual, for the benefit of the community. The subjects of discussion and lectures will, of course, vary with the resources, and with the disposition of the members. In this way, topics are treated which the wants and taste of the community demand; and all are interested in it as a means of amusement, as well as of instruction.
More questionable means of amusement are thus excluded; and a new and improving direction is given to the thoughts and conversation of all its members in their social intercourse.
These institutions have actually produced these effects to a very considerable extent. In some towns, collections in natural history, libraries, and apparatus have been purchased. In others, buildings have been erected for the Lyceum, which have been at the same time used for other public purposes. In some instances, public spirit has been awakened by means of these associations, which has shown itself in the promotion of other public objects of great importance.
Such are the associations which have united in resolving to form a National Lyceum, designed to consist of delegates from State Lyceums, in order to combine their efforts, and watch over the interests of these institutions throughout the country. Simple and republican in their character, adapting themselves to the wants and conditions of every community, and leading to combined operations for public objects, we think they are. among those means of usefulness which deserve the patronage of every friend of improve
The particulars of grammar schools and colleges, and their proper connexion with the institutions now noticed, together with the manner in which this whole system of national education may be established in England, so that we may be one people, and of one mind, will be the subjects for a future paper.
• American Annals of Education for 1831. No. V. Supplement, p. 9. We are glad of this opportunity of stating that this very valuable publication may be purchased at the house of Mr. Rich, 12, Red Lion-square, London.
CONVERSATIONS WITH AN AMBITIOUS STUDENT
CONVERSATION THE EIGHTH.—Continued.
A. THERE seems to have been in Young's mind a remarkable turn towards the ambitious. His poetry and his life equally betray that certain loftiness of desire and straining after effect-which both in composition and character we term ambitious.
L. It is rather a curious anecdote in literary history that the austere Young should have attempted to enter Parliament under the auspices of that profligate bankrupt of all morality, public and private, Philip Duke of Wharton. Had he succeeded-what difference might it have made not only in Young's life but in his character! Is it not on the cards that the grandest of all theological poets, (for neither Milton nor Dante are in reality theological poets, though they are often so called,) might have become, in that vicious and jobbing age of parliamentary history, a truckling adventurer or an intriguing placeman?
A. The supposition is not uncharitable when we look to his afterlife, and see his manœuvres for ecclesiastical preferment. For my own part I incline to suspect that half the sublime melancholy of the poet proceeded from the discontent of the worldling.
L. It is certainly possible that not even the loftiest sentimentsthe fullest mind-the most devout and solemn fervour of religion may suffice to chase away the poor and petty feelings that in this artificial world fasten themselves around the heart, and are often the base causes of the most magnificent efforts of genius. The blighting of a selfish ambition produced the Gulliver of Swift-and possibly also deepened the ebon dies of the verse of Young. A morbid discontent-an infirmity of constitution-breathed its gloom into the "Rasselas" of Johnson, and the "Childe Harold" of him who loved to be compared with Johnson. When the poet flies, after any affliction in the world, to his consolatory and absorbing art, he is unaware that that affliction which inspires him is often composed of the paltriest materials. So singular and complex, in short, are the sources of inspiration, so completely and subtly are the clay and the gold moulded together, that, though it may be a curious metaphysical pleasure to analyse, and weigh, and sift, the good and the evil therein, it is not a labour that it is very wise in us to adopt. Let us drink into our souls the deep thought and lofty verse of Lucretius, without asking what share belonged to the philtre and what to the genius.
We may remark that the contemplation exhibited in the poetry of the Ancients turns usually towards a gay result, and sighs forth an Epicurean moral-the melancholy is soft, not gloomy, and brightens up at its close.
Vina liques, et spatio brevi
Spem longam reseces; dum loquimur, fugerit invida
Life is short-while we speak it flies-enjoy then the present and
forget the future-such is the chief moral of ancient poetry, a graceful and a wise moral-indulged beneath a southern sky, and well deserving the phrase applied to it-" the philosophy of the garden❞— telling us of the brief and fleeting life of the flowers that surround us, only to encourage us to hang over their odours while we may. But it must be observed that this, the more agreeable, shape of melancholy is more remarkable among the Romans than the Greeks. Throughout the various philosophies of the latter the dark and saddening doctrine of an irresistible Fate flows like a bitter stream;— and an unrelieved and heavy despondency among the less popular of the remains of Greek poesy often comes in startling contrast to the gayer wisdom of that more commonly admired. Turn from Anacreon to the fragments of Mimnermus, collected by Stobæus— it is indeed turning from the roses to the sepulchre beneath. "Life is short-we learn from the Gods neither evil nor good-the black fates are before us-death and old age at hand. Not one among mortals whom Jupiter heaps not with afflictions," &c. It is chiefly from this more sombre order of reflection that the English contemplative writers deduce their inspiration. Lord Sackville, in the "Mirror of Magistrates," may furnish no inadequate notion of the exaggerating extent to which we have carried despondency. He therein makes Sorrow in hell, introducing the reader to the principal characters in our history! With our earlier writers Young was intimately acquainted and deeply imbued. But of all great poets his plagiarisms are the least naked. Drummond says—
"This world a hunting is ;
The prey poor man-the Nimrod fierce is death."
Burst law's enclosure, leap the mounds of right,
Till Death that mighty Hunter earths them all.”
The love of common and daily images is very remarkable in Young; but when we come to examine the works of the greater poets, we shall generally be surprised to find that those poets who abound in the most lofty and far-fetched images, invariably furnish also the most homely. It is the genius in whom we miss the one that avoids the other. We may be quite sure when we open Shakspeare that the sublimest metaphor will be in the closest juxtaposition with what in any one else we should not hesitate to call the most vulgar
"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
The way to dusty death-Out-out, brief candle!"
It is too much the cry to accuse Young, as a peculiarity in his genius, of being too bombastic, and turgid, and peregrinate in his metaphors-fond of conceits and addicted to exaggeration. Doubtless he is so; but as the man in the play exclaims-" your great geniuses can never say a thing like other people"-and it certainly is noticeable, though common-place or uninvestigating critics have
said the contrary, that in all modern literature it is the loftiest order of genius that will furnish examples of the most numerous exaggerations and the most grotesque conceits. Among the Italians we all know how prevalent they are. Even the cold rules of the French drama do not banish them, and Corneille still, beyond all comparison the grandest of the French poets, is also the most addicted to extravagances.
"Ma plus douce esperance est de perdre l'espoir"*
is one among a thousand. You recollect, of course, those extravagances which Addison selects from Milton, and the many others in that great poet which Addison did not select; in short, when we blame Young for a want of strict taste in his metaphors, we blame him for no fault peculiar to himself, but one which he shares with the greatest poets of modern times in so remarkable a degree that it almost seems a necessary part of their genius. And I am not quite certain whether after all it is they, or we the critics, who are in the wrong. I think that had a list of their conceits been presented to Milton and to Young, they would have had a great deal to say in their defence. Certainly, by the way, Dr. Johnson, in his hasty and slurring essay on Young's poetry, has not been fortunate in the instances of conceits which he quotes for reprobation. For example, he says of a certain line applied to Tyre in Young's Merchant" Let burlesque try to go beyond him." The line is this—
"Her Merchants Princes and each deck a throne!"
It is at least doubtful whether the words that seem so ridiculous to Johnson, do not, on the contrary, body forth a very bold and fine image; and it is quite certain that the critic might have selected at least a hundred far more glaring specimens of conceit or tumidity. One great merit in Young, and also one great cause of his exaggerations is his habit of embodying feelings, his fondness of personifying. For instance :
"My Hopes and Fears
Start up alarmed, and o'er life's narrow verge
This vivifying the dread inmates of the human heart, and giving the Dark Invisible a shape and action, is singularly fine in the above passage. Again :
"Thought-busy Thought-too busy for my peace
Through the dark postern of Time long elapsed,
Led softly by the stillness of the night,
Led like a murderer
Of my departed joys."
meets the Ghosts
There is here a dim and sepulchral life breathed into the Thought that wanders and the Joys it meets, that belongs only to the highest order of creative poetry; and sometimes a few lines testifying of
* The Cid.