the publication, or rather with the preservation of the
The Aristotelian MSS. transmitted by Theophrastus
(into whose hands they fell immediately after the death
of the illustrious author) to his heir Nileus, were plac-
ed in a cellar at Ssepsis, to conceal them from the king
of Pergamus, who was then collecting a library. In
this cellar, they remained for more than a hundred
years. At length, these precious MSS. fell into the
hands of a peripatetic, and were conveyed to Athens,
where the injuries done them by the damps of their
temporary tomb, were remedied, or, perhaps, aggrava-
ted, by attempts at emendation and restoration. When
Athens was taken by the dictator, Sylla, the Aristotelian
MSS. were carried to Rome. No attention was paid to
Aristotle's analytics by the Greek philosophers. — The
public mind had been pre-occupied by the sublime and
imaginative doctrines of Plato ; so that Aristotle's works
were kept, comparatively, out of view.
These works were unknown for so long a period af-
ter the death of their author, that all feelings of person-
al attachment must have been swept away when his
work at length appeared. After these works had been
removed to Rome, the same indifference continued for
some time to prevail. At length, however, great and
increasing attention was paid to the works of Aristotle ;
— but a deluge ot barbarous invaders swept from the
whole Roman empire all that was beautiful in art — no-
ble in science — or brilliant among the productions of
The ages of darkness followed. And to the harmo-
ny of social order, the peace of civilized life, the pro-
tection of wholesome laws, and the consequent encour-
agement of the calm pursuits of literature — succeeded
— the jar of feudal dissension, the wars of semi-barbar-
ous tribes, the evils of unbounded licence and unrestrain-
ed rapacity, and the consequent destruction of literature,
the extinction of science, and the banishaient of philos-
From about the sixth, to the eleventh century, know-
ledge seemed extinguished. The little learning which
then existed, was confined to the great ecclesiastical
establishments of the d;iy : the work^ of classical anti-
quity were forgotten or corrupted ; and the remains of
ancient learning, neglected or despised.
We are not, however, to suppose that even the dark
affes were destitute of men who devoted their time t©
study, and followed the pursuits of learning: the scho-
lastic philosophy grew up amid the darkness of the age :
this system derived its name from the circumstance that
it was taught in the public schools then annexed to
cathedral and monastic establishments. The respect
naturally paid to Aristotle's philosophy — proceeding
from a land where the human mind had reached the
highest pitch of cultivation, and the universality of his
genius, which rendered his works a library of them-
selves, recommended his productions to general atten-
tion. The scholastic philosophers had habituated them-
selves to dispute on subjects at once abstruse and trifling.
They, therefore, caught, with avidity, at Aristotle's an-
alytics — a system which, by the niceness of its distinc-
tions, and the multiplicity of its rules, may sometimes
conceal frivolity, under the mask of profound learning ;
and hide absurdity, under the appearance of consum-
The analytics, therefore, were separated from the
other works of the distinguished author : and instruc-
tion in them formed the principal branch of a learned
education. No inconsiderable portion of this success
is, perhap?, attributable to the conquests achieved by
the Saracens in Europe : the conquest of Egypt had put
them in possession of the works of Aristotle, and these
works they had deeply studied — so that, With their arms,
they introduced their arts — and, among the rest, logic,
or the art of thinking, into this part of the world. But
other causes concurred to raise to its highest pitch the
Jiterary madness. About the beginning of the sixteenth
century, events which took place in the east, threw a
new flood of intellectual light over the European conti-
nent. About the same time, a better and purer light
rose upon that part of the world which was involved in
the darkness of popery. The church of Rome, thus as-
sailed, needed defenders ; and as some of her adversa-
ries were protected from the torture and the stake,
which she inflicted on those within her reach ; it became
necessary to provide some other antidote, to stop the cir-
culating poison of heretical doctrine. The friends of the
church seized the weapons of logical controversy, in
which early education had rendered them generally ex-
pert. Luther, Calvin, and the other reformers, saw
that the intricacy of logic stood in the way of their usual
plain statements, and simple but cogent argument ; and
they consequently indulged in frequent invectives against
a system, which they considered the opponent of truth.
But the church was determined not to desert the lo-
gicians — its tried friends and faithful auxiliaries. Aca-
demical honors were, therefore, conferred on the suc-
cessful disputant ; and the highest place assigned him in
the estimation of literary men. But empty honors were
not the only rewards set before the aspiring logician. Ev-
ery reward, from the simple benefice to the mitre, and
from the mitre to the triple crown, had been attained ;
and, therefore, was attainable by skill in tlie art of logic.
The interests of some men, the passions of others, and
the prejudices of almost all, tended to support the reign-
ins: delusion. But it was from Lord Bacon that the an-
cient system received its death-wound. On taking a
retrospective view of science and philoso])hy, he was
grieved to observe that, although much genius and in-
genuity had been displayed in the frivolous disputes of
the schools, yet that no solid object had ever been at-
tained — no useful end answered — no wise purpose ef-
fected — no brilliant discovery made. Not satisfied, how-
ever, with an opinion formed on a hasty survey, he
traced the history of all the arts and sciences ; marked
their present state of advance ; and ascertained the
point at which their progress had terminated. He found
that this extensive process strengthened him in his pre-
viously-received opinion ; and he perceived that the
stunted appearance of knowledge at that period, was in
a great measure owing to the exclusive attention paid
to the syllogism.
Lord Bacon now boldly asserted that the ancient logic
was not fitted for the discovery of truth. Not content,
however, with destroying the old edifice, he determined
to erect a new and nobler structure. He perceived
that the conclusion of the syllogism was contained in
the premises ; and, as a consequence, that no new truth
could be discovered by the ancient method of reason-
ing. After these preparatory steps, he presented to
the consideration of mankind his new instrument of in-
vestigation. He did not assume the merit of invention or
originality — he professed, that his sole aim was to bring
mankind back to the natural method of conducting their
inquiries. This great philosopher saw that the follow-
ers of Aristotle, in attempting to use the syllogism as
an instrument of discovery, were inverting the order of
Lord Bacon's system,* then, is founded on the princi-
ple, that we must proceed from particulars up to gen-
* In an Essay, written the next year while in the Ethic class,
which shows a considerable innprovenjent in composition, entitled,
" Causes of error ; as enumerated in Lord Bacon's Aphor-
isms, 78 and 93 inclusive,— J\''oimot Organum, Lib. pri.''^ William
says, " When he observed (ha/ servile admiration for antiquity by
which past ages had been characterised — the satisfaction with
which men in general were likely to regard a progress, which,
however inferior to what might have been effected, was yet suf-
ficient to surprise the superficial— the arts of those who had been
initiated in the mysterious learning of the period — the deadening
influence of superstition — the constitutions of old and prejudiced
corporations, who, although endowed for (he purjiose of promot-
ing the interests of knowledge, set themselves against every thing
that did not tally with their pre-conceived, and, what one may
term, hereditary notions— and, above all, that despair, the off-
spring of indolence, and the nursling of pride, by which all that a
few favourite masters had left enveloped in obscurity, was at once
pronounced inscrutable — he could easily account for the fact
which attracted his attention, and excited his curiosity.
Such was the state of things when Lord Bacon wrote ; and
those very writings, the origin of which may be traced to this sur-
vey, accelerated the event their great author had foreseen.
Happily, the light of a better day has dawned upon us. The
old system of dialectics do longer retains its magical influence
over the minds of men. Discoveries, which have evinced the su-
periority of the moderns, have destroyed that blind veneration for
antiquity, which obstructed the progress of science. SujicrsfitioD,
inveterate prejudice, and a bigotted attachment to intolerant
creeds, are confined to a few old richly endowed incorporations,
within which they can ferment, and fester, and rankle, without in-
fecting, with a kindred gangrene, the body of the political and lit-
erals ; so that when we observe, in many individual
substances, properties and powers common to ail of
them ; we ascribe the properties and powers to the
whole class, of which the individuals observed form
parts. It is, indeed, by no means easy to determine the
point at which our experiments should cease, and when
we may safely sit down, contented with the extent of
our induction. This must, however, be left to the per-
severance and good sense of the individual.
At length, the eyes of mankind began to be opened ;
and after the fever of admiration had a little subsided,
some bold individuals stepped forward, and ventured to
attack the system. Ramus, a philosopher of France, ex-
piated his temerity with his blood : the strong arm of
secular power was, in that country, repeatedly called
in to crush the good sense of mankind ; and the Aristo-
telian system might still longer have defended itself be-
hind the barrier thus erected, had it not been assailed
by the keen and polished shafts of elegant ridicule.
The chains which had so long bound the human
mind, seemed, on the promulgation of Lord Bacon's sys-
tem, to drop off; while philosophy, both natural, and
mental, began to advance with a rapidity before un-
known. But the old system still kept its footing among
ancient literary incorporations. Some real advantages,
and a thousand venerable associations, gave it immense
influence in these ancient seats of learning, and it con-
tinues, even now, to form a part of academical educa-
I should now conclude with pointing out the relations
which logic bears to other branches of knowledge: but
the enumeration would include the whole circle of sci»-
ences : for what operation of intellect is there in which
either clear notions, or methodical arrangement, or
sound reasoning are not desirable ?
Or, HUMAN MISERY.
I KNOW not how it was — if on my breast
A more than wonted load of sorrow prest;
Or if such thoug-hts as sometimes force their way,
Tho' all around be happy, bright and gay;
If such had dwelt within my soul, until
My heart retained the sad impression still.
When sleep had snapt the soberer chain of thought,
And wearied nature found the rest she sought ;
I dream'd of horrors — for in dreams the mind
Stretches her mighty pinions unconfined ;
Smiles at her new-found freedom : — from on high
Draws the first breath of immortality ;
Just opes the curtain of the other world,
Eternity's broad map sees half unfurl'd.
Expatiates boldly in her wide domain,
And sways the sceptre of her mighty reign.
I thought I ranged Creation unconfin'd,
Rock'd on the storm, or borne upon the wind ;
As if some viewless influence urg'd my flight,
Dispers'd the shades, and made ev^n darkness light ;
* The fanciful remarks by wliich the youthful poet introduct
ed this fragment, aud those which followed it, are here omiltpd.
And, where the sunshine gleam'd, or frown'd the storm
Bade human wo, in every Proteus-ibrm
Of grief and pain, remorse and shame and fear,
With every shape of agony appear.
Stript of its veil, the human heart was shown
Depriv'd of every coloring not its own :
While grief, regret, and care, without control,
Reign'd undisputed sovereigns of the soul.
I know not if it shall be thus, when death
Asserts his empire o'er our fleeting breath ;
If, unrestrain'd, the ever-living soul
.Shall pierce the centre, or shall reach the pole ;
Or view the shifting scenes, the varying strife,
In all the winding, wildering paths of life ;
And mark each wandering, in a different way,
T'ward the last narrow dwelling-house of clay —
How this may be, we know not : but the mind
Sometimes " leaves dull mortality behind,"
Forgets the interests of the passing hour,
And gives some presage of her future power.
I thought I heard the ocean's dreadful roar,
Its billows swung against the rocky shore ;
While o'pp the darken''d heavens the lightning flies,
Now sinks — now covers the resplendent skies —
Ah! while the tempest thunders all around.
What shriek of horror mingles with the sound?
— A ship has struck ! — I hear a second call, —
The cry of many, and the dirge of all.
And then 'twas silent quite — except alone
Some mighty swimmer's solitary groan ;
Or faintly borne upon the fitful blast.
The cries of those who clung about the mast.
Yet one there was, who, in the dashing sea,
Still flung the mighty waves back gallantly :
His was a life of sin ; and from their lair,
Conscience had rous'd the hell-hounds of despair ;
And now, at last, in this the trying time,
He lost the settled hardihood of crime ;
And would have pray'd for mercy ; — but the word
He must not speak — that prayer could ne'er be heard
For in his ears the cries of orphans rung,
And many a curse from many a widow's tongue —
He sunk — he rose — he grasp'd a rock, — and then,
Borne by the refluent surge, he sunk again, —
Again he rose, and strain'd to reach the shore.
He pants — he gasps — he sinks — and all is o'er.
There was a change.— And now I thought no more
Of bounding billows, or the wave-lashed shore :
I dreamed the moon was up — her orb on high
Sail'd through a cloudless azure deep of sky ;
In faint blue outline distant hills were spread.
And mightier mountains rear'd their snowy head.
It was the eve of battle. — On the plain
The victors slumbered — slumbered too the slain.
Wolves savage tore the beating heart away,
And vultures screaming, flapp'd o'er living prey.
The cold night wind blew keen — the dreadful smart
Made ev'n the dying man with anguish start;
The wounded felt the fever's burning pain,
And pray'd for water, but they cried in vain ;
Or thought of home ; and, rising from the ground,
While bloody torrents pour'd from ev'ry wound,
Delirious strove to reach th' accustomed place.
Catch the dear glance, and share the lov'd embrace.
But one upon the bloody ground there lay,
His gore, through many a gash, ebb'd fast away ;
And while he felt the swelling current flow,
And life's poor embers almost cease to glow ;
The thoughts that haunted him were thoughts that
O'er the dark closing scene a darker hue — [threw
Thoughts of the ra'o who, silver'd o'er with years.
Hoped for his guidance through the vale of tears —
His to support their steps, and his the power
To bear the storm, or else avert the shower.
But with the rest, a tenderer image came,
To make his gory bed a couch of flame.
Must she, too, wander through life's gloomy way,
No eye to cheer her, and no arm to stay ?
Was it some trance, that o'er the senses steals
When strength is failing, and when reason reels
Absorbs the soul, and, wildly mingling, shows
A gleam of pleasure with a world of woes?
Or did he see that angel form flit by.
To call back lustre to his fading eye ?
Yes ! — for one moment all his pains are fled,
And half he rises from his bloody bed :
But death's dark hand was heavy — and the tide
Swelled in black torrents from his wounded side ;
And then he named her — but the whispers slip
Unheard, unnoticed, from his dying lip; —
Again he strove to speak — but made alone
The hollow murmur of a dying groan.
Oh ! then 1 saw the gathering black despair,
And then the falt'ring half-convulsive prayer;
While faint and fainter came the sinking breath,
Stopp'd by the cold, the freezing touch of death.
Just when the last expiring spark was dying,
Just when the latest flame of life was flying.
Just when the vulture, scar'd no more away
In airy circles flew, to mark his prey ;
At death's cold touch, when all was still'd forever,
And ev'n the quivering lip had ceased to quiver — -
Just then I saw a lady, who had trod,
With fearless steps, along the bloody sod ;
Her had one hope, one fear, one thought possess'd,
And quell'd each shuddering tremor of the breast.
But hope and fear alike were over now,
The moon-beam stream'd upon that pallid brow.
'Twas all she sought — and if her all were found
Stretch'd cold and lifeless on the gory ground,
The battle plain must be their bridal bed.
Death their grim priest — their marriage -train the
Forward she sprung : Oh ! life mi^hf yet remain ,•
Sure 'twould return, and meet her once ag'nin ;
'Twould light his eye, before it quite departed,
And left her hopeless, helpless, broken-hearted !
Then she could lay her on his marble breast,
Her last cold pillow of eternal rest !
She pressM his cheek in frantic agony —
No whisper stole, no soft responsive sigh —
And the late hope, whose momentary light
Shone like a star amid the shades of night.
Now sunk in darkness ; — and its fleeting gleam, —
The bright illusion of a troubled dream;
Or like the flashing, varying lights that fly,
In stormy weather, o'er the northern sky, —
Was gone. In Summer's bright meridian blaze
We scarcely heed the sun's unclouded rays ;
But watch, when Winter's scowls the sky deform,
To catch a gleam of light athwart the storm :
So Hope's last radiance, as it dies away,
Seems dearer ev'n than pleasure's brightest ray;
But if it set forever, sadly roll
Deep, dark, unvarying sorrows o'er the soul ;
Like ihe wide shoreless waste of waters huri'd,
By heaven's excited vengeance, on the world.*
Her heart was wasted, and the tie that bound
■ Her sympathies to all the world around
Was snapt — I thought her brightly-glancing eye
In pensive rapture wanderd t'ward the sky :
* Gen. vii. 18, 19.
But her's was not the idiot's soulless stare,
That strangely fixes, and he knows not where:'
Her's was a glance that spoke of thoughts on high
Her mind had learned to people vacancy ;
And then so sweetly, wildly soft she sung,
I could have thought the notes of angels rung —
But that 1 heard some plaintive sounds, to show
The strain was human — for it spake of wo !
In vain they spread this couch for thee,
And threw this bloody mantle o'er.
For here the choicest flowers shall be,
And tears shall wash away the gore ;
And thou wilt smile to see me spread
The blooming chaplet on thy head.
Oh ! did I see thy heavenly smile ?
And wilt thou leave me here below
To wait and weep, and sigh the while,
And wander through the vale of wo ;
Nor stoop, and help thy love to rise
With thee to yonder brilliant skies?
If o'er the world spread light or gloom,
The world to me is cold and drear —
This little sacred spot, — thy tomb —
The only ground to me that's dear.
Here will 1 bid the wild flower wave,
And roses blush above thy grave.
Then take me from this earth away, '
And we will come on wings of light,
Spread the soft flow'ret o'er thy clay,
And gem it with the dew of night;
Then leave this worthless world, and go
Where mourner's tear shall never flow.
But if with thee I may not fly,
Oh ! hover still around thy love.
Whisper in zephyr's gentle sigh,
And tell me we shall meet above!
And when some days of grief are fled,
I'll lay with thine my weary head.
Then let me stop the tears that start,
And be the rising sigh supprest ;
And if 1 feel a bleeding heart, ''
The burden of this throbbing breast —
Pour o'er my soul a heavenly balm.
Her griefs assuage, her troubles calm !
There was a change. I saw a curtained room ;
A light stole in, that scarcely chased the gloom.
With looks of anxious care, around the bed,
Attendants stood- — to prop the sick man's head,
To soothe his pangs, or transient ease impart.
By all the softest antidotes of art.
And those who loved him most, and therefore caught
At every change disease's progress wrought.
Stood trembling round his bed, yet hoping still,
At every new vicissitude of ill.
Hoping, it might betoken that, at last,
The deadly crisis of disease was past.
And now that hope was higher, and a smile
Shone thro' the tears, that trickled all the while— ^
Tears — but not such as sorrowers learn to shed.
When joy hath vanished, and even hope is dead —
These spoke that softer tumult of the soul,
W^hen joy and fear assert a mixed control.
He sweetly slept — and nature's potent balm
Might the tumultuous force of torture calm ;
And slumber's streams oblivious coolly flow,
Till burning fever ceased, at length, to glow.
And those who loved him watched his bed ; for there
In silence sat the partner of his care :
She only did not weep : for hourly fears,
Long days of sorrow, and long nights of tears
Had trained her to companionship of wo.
Or dried the fountain whence the tear should flow.
Yet the expression of her faded eye
Was humble, quiet, patient constancy.
Each chastening stroke, acutely, formed to feel ;
Severely suffer, yet submissive kneel ;
She fixed on that emaciated form
A look intent, solicitou?, and warm ;
And speaking all the fullness of a heart
That feared they must, yet felt they could not, part.;
Still o'er her features, trembling hope could throw
A transient gleam, an evanescent glow,
Hope, which amid the darker scenes of grief,
Suggested comfort and supplied relief.
No more with fever throbbed his burning brain ;
And placid Sleep proclaimed a truce with pain ;
Judgment would not th' illusive charm destroy j
Love's brilliant coloring made it look like joy ;
Grief almost smiled to see the doubtful ray,
And Hope's fair magic brightened it today.
Over the sick man's couch his daughter hangs,
To mark his sufferings and relieve his pangs ;
Catch, vainly catch, at every dubious ray
That came, and then forever passed away.
Each transient gleam, that gave a short relief,
Ease to her woes, and solace to her grief,
To lean on hope, till hope itself decayed.
And left the heart forsaken and betrayed.
Now from the sick man pain was gone : his eye
Was closed in gentle slumber peacefully ;
Such silence all around, that you might hear
Almost the falling of the gushing tear;
And then so deep, so gentle his repose.
So sweet the soothing quiet of his woes,
That sorrow lighted up her cheerless eye,
And half repressed her long accustomed sigh.
There was a shudder — then a deep drawn breath-
Then still— still—silent all Can this be death ?
Oh! if the feeble hand of youth might dare
To trace the deeper workings of despair,
Then would I tell the widow's mute dismay,
When from the body forc'd at length away ;
Describe the orphan's sobs — the answers given
To those who, pointing to the will of heav'n,
Of calmness talk, or words of comfort pour,
While the heart, bleeding, does but bleed the more-
Mark the vain efforts to impart relief.
And paint each dread concomitant of grief.
There was a change. — I saw a narrow cell.
The moonlight pale through dismal gratings fell,
And yet enough had struggled in to show
The dark interior of this house of wo :
The stony walls were bare, save where was spread
The busy insect's finely-woven thread ;
While from the damp low roof, with plashing sound,
The constant droppings fall upon the ground.