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Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 353, March 1845   By:

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BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NO. CCCLIII. MARCH, 1845. VOL. LVII.

CONTENTS.

SUSPIRIA DE PROFUNDIS: BEING A SEQUEL TO THE CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM EATER, 269

MRS POOLE'S "ENGLISHWOMAN IN EGYPT," 286

PRACTICAL AGRICULTURE STEPHENS' BOOK OF THE FARM, &C., 298

STANZAS, 314

LORD MALMESBURY'S DIARIES AND CORRESPONDENCE 315

GERMAN AMERICAN ROMANCES. PART II., 331

BRITISH HISTORY DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, 353

NORTH'S SPECIMENS OF THE BRITISH CRITICS. NO. II DRYDEN AND POPE, 369

EDINBURGH: WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET; AND 22 PALL MALL, LONDON To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed. SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.

BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NO. CCCLIII. MARCH, 1845. VOL. LVII.

SUSPIRIA DE PROFUNDIS: BEING A SEQUEL TO THE CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM EATER.

INTRODUCTORY NOTICE.

In 1821, as a contribution to a periodical work in 1822, as a separate volume appeared the "Confessions of an English Opium Eater." The object of that work was to reveal something of the grandeur which belongs potentially to human dreams. Whatever may be the number of those in whom this faculty of dreaming splendidly can be supposed to lurk, there are not perhaps very many in whom it is developed. He whose talk is of oxen, will probably dream of oxen: and the condition of human life, which yokes so vast a majority to a daily experience incompatible with much elevation of thought, oftentimes neutralizes the tone of grandeur in the reproductive faculty of dreaming, even for those whose minds are populous with solemn imagery. Habitually to dream magnificently, a man must have a constitutional determination to reverie. This in the first place; and even this, where it exists strongly, is too much liable to disturbance from the gathering agitation of our present English life. Already, in this year 1845, what by the procession through fifty years of mighty revolutions amongst the kingdoms of the earth, what by the continual development of vast physical agencies steam in all its applications, light getting under harness as a slave for man,[1] powers from heaven descending upon education and accelerations of the press, powers from hell (as it might seem, but these also celestial) coming round upon artillery and the forces of destruction the eye of the calmest observer is troubled; the brain is haunted as if by some jealousy of ghostly beings moving amongst us; and it becomes too evident that, unless this colossal pace of advance can be retarded, (a thing not to be expected,) or, which is happily more probable, can be met by counter forces of corresponding magnitude, forces in the direction of religion or profound philosophy, that shall radiate centrifugally against this storm of life so perilously centripetal towards the vortex of the merely human, left to itself the natural tendency of so chaotic a tumult must be to evil; for some minds to lunacy, for others to a reagency of fleshly torpor. How much this fierce condition of eternal hurry, upon an arena too exclusively human in its interests, is likely to defeat the grandeur which is latent in all men, may be seen in the ordinary effect from living too constantly in varied company. The word dissipation , in one of its uses, expresses that effect; the action of thought and feeling is too much dissipated and squandered. To reconcentrate them into meditative habits, a necessity is felt by all observing persons for sometimes retiring from crowds. No man ever will unfold the capacities of his own intellect who does not at least chequer his life with solitude... Continue reading book >>


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