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ambitiously for a north-west passage, instead
of circumnavigating all the capes and headlands
I had doubled in my outward voyage, I came
suddenly upon such knotty problems of alleys,
such enigmatical entries, and such sphinx's
riddles of streets without thoroughfares, as
must, I conceive, baffle the audacity of porters,
and confound the intellects of hackney-coach-
men. I could almost have believed, at times,
that I must be the first discoverer of some of
these terras incognitos, and doubted whether
they had yet been laid down in the modern
charts of London. For all this, however, I
paid a heavy price in distant years, when the
human face tyrannized over my dreams, and
the perplexities of my steps in London came
back and haunted my sleep, with the feeling
of perplexities moral or intellectual, that
brought confusion to the reason, or anguish
and remorse to the conscience.

Thus, I have shown that opium does not, of
necessity, produce inactivity or torpor; but
that, on the contrary, it often led me into
markets and theatres. Yet, in candour, I will
admit that markets and theatres are not the
appropriate haunts of the opium-eater, when
in the divinest state incident to his enjoyment.
In that state crowds become an oppression to
him; music even, too sensual and gross. He
naturally seeks solitude and silence, as indis-
pensable conditions of those trances, or pro-
foundest reveries, which are the crown and
consummation of what opium can do for human
nature. I, whose disease it was to meditate
too much, and to observe too little, and who,
upon my first entrance at college, was nearly
falling into a deep melancholy, from brooding
too much on the sufferings which I had wit-
nessed in London, was sufficiently aware of
the tendencies of my own thoughts to do all I
could to counteract them. I was, indeed, like


a person, who, according to the old legend,
had entered the cave of Trophonius; and the
remedies I sought were to force myself into
society, and to keep my understanding in con-
tinual activity upon matters of science. But
for these remedies I should certainly have be-
come hypochondriacally melancholy. In after
vcars, however, when my cheerfulness was more
fully re-established, I yielded to my natural
inclination for a solitary life. And, at that
time, I often fell into these reveries upon tak-
ing opium ; and more than once it has happened
to me, on a summer night, when I have been
at an open window, in a room from which I
could overlook the sea at a mile below me, and
could command a view of the great town of

L , at about the same distance, that I have

sat, from sunset to sunrise, motionless, and
without wishing to move.


I know not whether others share in my
feelings on this point; but I have often thought
that if I were compelled to forego England,
and to live in China, and among Chinese man-
ners and modes of life and scenery, I should
go mad. The causes of my horror lie deep;
and some of them must be common to others.
Southern Asia, in general, is the seat of awful
images and associations. As the cradle of the
human race, it would alone have a dim and
reverential feeling connected with it. But
there are other reasons. No man can pretend
that the wild, barbarous, and capricious super-
stitions of Africa, or of savage tribes elsewhere,
affect him in the way that he is affected by the
ancient, monumental, cruel, and elaborate re-
ligions of Indostan, &c. The mere antiquity
of Asiatic things, of their institutions, histories,
modes of faith, &c., is so impressive, that to
me the vast age of the race and name over-
powers the sense of youth in the individual.
A young Chinese seems to me an antediluvian
man renewed. Even Englishmen, though not
bred in any knowledge of such institutions,
cannot but shudder at the mystic sublimity of
cast.es that have flowed apart, and refused to
mix, through such immemorial tracts of time;
nor can any man fail to be awed by the names
of the Ganges or the Euphrates. It contri-
butes much to these feelings, that Southern
Asia is, and has been for thousands of years,
the part of the earth most swarming with hu-
man life; the great offic'ma gentium. Man is
a weed in those regions. The vast empires also,
into which the enormous population of Asia
has always been cast, give a further sublimity

to the feelings associated with all Oriental
names or images. In China, over and above
what it has in common with the rest of South-
ern Asia, I am terrified by the modes of life,
by the manners, and the barrier of utter abhor-
rence and want of sympathy placed between
us by feelings deeper than I can analyze. I
could sooner live with lunatics or brute ani-
mals. All this, and much more than I can
say, or have time to say, the reader must enter
into before he can comprehend the unimagin-
able horror which these dreams of Oriental
imagery and mythological tortures impressed
upon me. Under the connecting feeling of
tropical heat and vertical sunlights, I brought
together all creatures, birds, beasts, reptiles,
all trees and plants, usages and appearances,
that are found in all tropical regions, and as-
sembled them together in China or Indostan.
From kindred feelings, I soon brought Egypt
and all her gods under the same law. I was
stared at, hooted at, grinned at, chattered at,
by monkeys, by parroquets, by cockatoos. I
ran into pagodas: and was fixed, for centuries,
at the summit or in secret rooms; I was the
idol; I was the priest; I was worshipped; I
was sacrificed. I fled from the wrath of Brama
through all the forests of Asia: Vishnu hated
me: Seeva laid wait for me. I came suddenly
upon Isis and Osiris: I had done a deed, they
said, which the ibis and the crocodile trembled
at. I was buried, for a thousand years, in
stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in
narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyra-
mids. I was kissed, with cancerous kisses, by
crocodiles; and laid, confounded with all un-
utterable slimy things, amongst reeds and
Nilotic mud.

I thus give the reader some slight abstrac-
tion of my Oriental dreams, which always filled
me with such amazement at the monstrous
scenery, that horror seemed absorbed, for a
while, in sheer astonishment. Sooner or later
came a reflux of feeling that swallowed up the
astonishment, and left me, not so much in ter-
ror, as in hatred and abomination of what I
saw. Over every form, and threat, and pun-
ishment, and dim sightless incarceration,
brooded a sense of eternity and infinity that
drove me into an oppression as of madness.
Into these dreams only it was, with one or
two slight exceptions, that any circumstances
of physical horror entered. All before had
been moral and spiritual terrors. But here
the main agents were ugly birds, or snakes, or
crocodiles; especially the last. The cursed
crocodile became to me the object of more
horror than almost all the rest. I was com-



pelled to live with him; and (as was always
tne case almost in my dreams) for centuries.
I escaped sometimes, and found myself in
Chinese houses, with cane tables, &c. All the
i'eet of the tables, sofas, &c., soon became in-
stinct with life: the abominable head of the
crocodile, and his leering eyes, looked out at
me, multiplied into a thousand repetitions:
and I stood loathing and fascinated. And so
often did this hideous reptile haunt my dreams,
that many times the very same dream was
broken up in the very same way: I heard gentle
voices speaking to me (I hear everything when
I am sleeping); and instantly I awoke: it was
broad noon; and my children were standing,
hand in hand, at my bedside; come to show
me their coloured shoes, or new frocks, or to
lat me see them dressed for going out. I
protest that so awful was the transition from
the crocodile, and the other unutterable mon-
sters and abortions of my dreams, to the sight
of innocent human natures and of infancy,
that, in the mighty and sudden revulsion of
mind, I wept, and could not forbear it, as I
kissed their faces.

I thought that it was a Sunday morning in
May, that it was Easter Sunday, and as yet
very early in the morning. I was standing,
as it seemed to me, at the door of my own cot-
tage. Right before me lay the very scene
which could really be commanded from that
situation, but exalted, as was usual, and sol-
emnized by the power of dreams. There were
the same mountains, and the same lovely val-
ley at their feet; but the mountains were raised
to more than Alpine height, and there was in-
terspace far larger between them of meadows
and forest lawns; the hedges were rich with
white roses; and no living creature was to be
seen, excepting that in the green churchyard
there were cattle tranquilly reposing upon the
verdant graves, and particularly round about
the grave of a child whom I had tenderly loved,
just as I had really beheld them, a little before
sunrise in the same summer, when that child
died. I gazed upon the well-known scene,
and I said aloud (as I thought) to myself, "It
yet wants much of sunrise; and it is Easter
Sunday ; and that is the day on which they
celebrate the first-fruits of resurrection. I
will walk abroad; old griefs shall be forgotten
to-day; for the air is cool and still, and the
hills are high, and stretch away to heaven;
and the forest-glades are as quiet as the church-
yard; and, with the dew, I can wash the fever
from my forehead, and then I shall be unhappy
no longer." And I turned, as if to open the

garden gate; and immediately I saw upon the
left a scene far different; but which yet the
power of dreams had reconciled into harmony
with the other. The scene was an Oriental
one; and there also it was Easter Sunday, and
very early in the morning. And at a vast dis-
tance were visible, as a stain upon the horizon,
the domes and cupolas of a great city an
image or faint abstraction, caught perhaps in
childhood from some picture of Jerusalem.
And not a bowshot from me, upon a stone, and
shaded by Judean palms, there sat a woman;
and I looked; and it was Ann! She fixed
her eyes upon me earnestly; and I said to her
at length: "So then I have found you at last."
I waited, but she answered me not a word.
Her face was the same as when I saw it last,
and yet again how different! Seventeen years
ago, when the lamplight fell upon her face,
as for the last time I kissed her lips (lips, Ann,
that to me were not polluted), her eyes were
streaming with tears: the tears were now wiped
away; she seemed more beautiful than she was
at that time, but in all other points the same,
and not older. Her looks were tranquil, but
with unusual solemnity of expression; and I
now gazed upon her with some awe, but sud-
denly her countenance grew dim, and, turning
to the mountains, I perceived vapours rolling
between us; in a moment all hud vanished;
thick darkness came on; and, in the twinkling
of an eye, I was far away from mountains, an
by lamplight in Oxford Street, walking again
with Ann just as we walked seventeen years
before, when we were both children.

As a final specimen, I cite one of a different

The dream commenced with a music which
now I often hear in dreams a music of pre-
paration and of awakening suspense; a music
like the opening of the Coronation Anthem,
and which, like that, gave the feeling of a vast
march of infinite cavalcades filing off and
the tread of innumerable armies. The morn-
ing was come of a mighty day a day of crisis
and of final hope for human nature, then suf-
fering some mysterious eclipse, and labouring
in some dread extremity. Somewhere, I knew
not where somehow, I knew not how by
some beings, I knew not whom a battle, a
strife, an agony, was conducting, was evolv-
ing like a great drama, or piece of music; with
which my sympathy was the more insupport-
able from my confusion as to its place, its
cause, its nature, and its possible issue. I, as
is usual in dreams (where, of necessity, we
make ourselves central to every movement),



bad the power, and yet had not the power, to
decide it. I had the power, if I could raise
myself, to will it: and yet again had not the
power, for the weight of twenty Atlantics was
upon me, or the oppression of inexpiable guilt.
"Deeper than ever plummet sounded," I lay
inactive. Then, like a chorus, the passion
deepened. Some greater interest was at stake;
some mightier cause than ever yet the sword
had pleaded, or trumpet had proclaimed. Then
came sudden alarms; hurryings to and fro:
trepidations of innumerable fugitives, 1 knew
not whether from the good cause or the bad:
darkness and lights: tempest and human faces:
and at last, with the sense that all was lost,
female forms, and the features that were worth
all the world to me, and but a moment allowed
and clasped hands, and heart-breaking part-
ings, and then everlasting farewells ! and
with a sigh, such as the caves of hell sighed
when the incestuous mother uttered the abhor-
red name of death, the sound was reverberated
everlasting farewells! and again, and yet
again reverberated everlasting farewells!

And I awoke in struggles, and cried aloud
"I will sleep no more!" Confessions of an
English Opium-Eater.



Believe not that your inner eye
Can ever in just measure try
The worth of hours as they go by.

For every man's weak self, alas!

Makes him to see them, while they pass,

As through a dim or tinted glass :

But if in earnest care you would
Mete out to each its part of good,
Trust rather to your after-mood.

Those surely are not fairly spent,
That leave your spirit bowed and bent
In sad unrest and ill-content.

And more, though free from seeming harm,
You rest from toil of mind or arm,
Or slow retire from pleasure's charm,

If then a painful sense comes on
Of something wholly lost and gone,
Vainly enjoyed, or vainly done,

Of something from your being's chain
Broke off, nor to be linked :igain
By all mere memory can retain,

Upon your heart this truth may rise.
Nothing that altogether dies
Suffices man's just destinies:

So should we live, that every hour
May die as dies the natural flower,
A self-reviving thing of power;

That every thought and every deed
May hold within itself the seed
Of future good and future meed ;

Esteeming sorrow, whose employ
Is to develope not destroy,
Far better than a barren joy.



I love to pore over old china and to specu-
late, from the images, on Cathay. I can fancy
that the Chinese manners betray themselves,
like the drunkard's, in their cups.

How quaintly pranked and patterned is their
vessel! exquisitely outlandish, yet not bar-
barian. How daintily transparent! It should
be no vulgar earth that produces that super-
lative ware, nor does it so seem in the ena-
melled landscape.

There are beautiful birds; there, rich flowers
and gorgeous butterflies, and a delicate clime,
if we may credit the porcelain. There be also
horrible monsters, dragons, with us obsolete
and reckoned fabulous; the main breed, doubt-
less, having followed Fohi (our Noah) in his
wanderings thither from the Mount Ararat.
But how does that impeach the loveliness of
Cathay? There are such creatures even in

I long often to loiter in those romantic para
discs studded with pretty temples, holiday
pleasure-grounds the true Tea-Gardens. I
like those meandering waters, and the abound-
ing little islands.

And here is a Chinese nurse-maid, Ho-Fi,
chiding a fretful little Pekin child. The
urchin hath just such another toy, at the end
of a string, as might be purchased at our own
Mr. Dunnett's. It argues an advanced state
of civilization where the children have many
playthings; and the Chinese infants, witness
their flying fishes and whirligigs, sold by the
stray natives about our streets, are far gone in
such juvenile luxuries.

But here is a better token. The Chinese
are a polite people; for they do not make
household, much less husbandry drudges, of
their wives. You may read the women's for-


tune in their tea-cups. In nine cases of ten,
the female is busy only in the lady-like toils
of the toilette. Lo! here, how sedulously the
blooming Hyson is pencilling the mortal arches
and curving the crossbows of her eyebrows.
A musical instrument, her secondary engage-
ment, is at her almost invisible feet. Are such
little extremities likely to be tasked with la-
borious offices? Marry, in kicking they must
be ludicrously impotent; but then she hath a
formidable growth of nails.

By her side the obsequious Hum is pouring
his soft flatteries into her ear. When she
walketh abroad (here it is on another sample)
he shadeth her at two miles off" with his um-
brella. It is like an allegory of love triumph-
ing over space. The lady is walking upon one
of those frequent pretty islets, on a plain as
if of porcelain, without any herbage, only a
solitary flower springs up, seemingly by en-
chantment, at her fairy-like foot. The watery
space between the lovers is aptly left as a blank,
excepting her adorable shadow, which is tend-
ing towards her slave.

How reverentially is yon urchin presenting
his flowers to the Gray-beard! So honourably
is age considered in China! There would be
some sense, there, in birth-day celebrations.

Here, in another compartment, is a solitary
scholar, apparently studying the elaborate
didactics of Con-Fuse- Ye.

The Chinese have, verily, the advantage of
us upon earthen-ware! They trace themselves
as lovers, contemplatists, philosophers: where-
as, to judge from our jugs and mugs, we are
nothing but sheepish piping shepherds and


Why so pale and wan, fond lover?

Prithee why so pale ?
"Will, when looking well can't move her,

Looking ill prevail ?

Prithee why so pale?

Why so dull and mute, young sinner?

Pritliee why so mute?
Will, when speuking well can't win her,

Saying nothing do't?

Prithee why so mute?

Quit, quit, for shame ; this will not move,

This cannot take her;
If of herself she will not love,

Nothing can make her :

The devil take her.



The evening of Thursday, the 15th of Feb-
ruary, 1827, was one of the most delightful I
ever remember to have spent. I was alone;
my heart beat lightly; my pulse was quickened
by the exercise of the morning; my blood
flowed freely through my veins, as meeting
with no checks or impediments to its current;
and my spirits were elated by a multitude of
happy remembrances and of brilliant hopes.
My apartments looked delightfully comfortable,
and what signified to me the inclemency of the
weather without. The rain was pattering upon
the sky-light of the staircase; the sharp east
wind was moaning angrily in the chimney;
but as my eye glanced from the cheerful blaze
of the fire to the ample folds of my closed win-
dow curtains as the hearth-rug yielded to
the pressure of my foot, while beating time to
my own music, I sung, in rather a louder tone
than usual, my favourite air of "Judy O'Flan-
nigan;" the whistling of the wind and the
pattering of the rain only served to enhance,
in my estimation, the comforts of my home,
and inspire a livelier sense of the good fortune
which had delivered me from any evening
engagements. Men married men may ex-
patiate if they will, in good published sen-
tences, on the delights of their firesides, and
the gay cheerfulness of their family circles;
but I do not hesitate to affirm that we, in our
state of single blessedness, possess not only all
the sweets of our condition, but derive more
solid advantages from matrimony itself than
any of these solemn eulogists of their own
happiness can dare to pretend to derive from
it. We have their dinners, without the expense
of them; we have their parties, without the
fatigue of those interminable domestic dis-
cussions which are inseparable from the pre-
liminary arrangements; we share the gay and
joyous summer of their homes when they are
illuminated for company, and escape the inter-
vening winter of darkness and economy; and
having participated in the sunny calm, the
halcyon hours of the establishment, we depart
before the unreal and transitory delusion is
dispersed, and leave the husband to contem-
plate the less brilliant changes of the lady's
countenance and temper, and to maintain a
single combat against the boisterous perversi-
ties of her offspring. No man can be really
chez sol can be in the full enjoyment of all
the accommodation afforded by his own house,
and fireside, and furniture, and presume to
exercise the right of a master over them, unless



he be independent of the fetters of wedlock.
No man, I repeat it, can be in the entire enjoy-
ment of life unless he be a young, unmarried
man, with an attached elderly valet to wait
upon him, I am so thoroughly persuaded of
this fact, that nothing on earth but my love
for you, Maria, could persuade me to relinquish
"my unhoused, free condition. " Nothing but
my adoration of such a union of various
beauties, and almost incongruous mental ac-
complishments, could have induced me to
abandon my present state of luxurious inde-
pendence; but, under my peculiar and most
favoured circumstances, I only pass from a
lower to a higher degree of happiness: True,
the idle, the downy, the somewhat ignominious
gratifications of celibacy are sacrificed; but
they are exchanged for the pure and dignified
enjoyment of labouring to secure an angel's
happiness, beneath the cheering influence of
her exhilarating smiles.

I thrust my hands into the pockets of my
dressing-gown, which, by-the-by, is far the
handsomest piece of old brocade I have ever
seen a large running pattern of gold holly-
hocks, with silver stalks and leaves, upon a
rich, deep, Pampadour-coloured ground and
walking slowly backwards and forwards in my
room, I continued "There never was, there
never can have been, so happy a fellow as my-
self! What on earth have I to wish for more ?
Maria adores me I adore Maria. To be sure,
she's detained at Brighton; but I hear from
her regularly every morning by the post, and
we are to be united for life in a fortnight.
Who was ever so blessed in his love? Then
again John Fraser my old school-fellow! I
don't believe there's anything in the world he
would not do for me. I'm sure there's no
living thing that he loves so much as myself,
except perhaps his old uncle Simon, and his
black mare."

I had by this time returned to the fireplace,
and reseating myself, began to apostrophize
my magnificent black Newfoundland, who,
having partaken of my dinner, was following
the advice and example of Abernethy, and
sleeping on the rug as it digested " And you
too, my old Neptune, aren't you the best and
handsomest dog in the universe?"

Neptune finding himself addressed, awoke
leisurely from his slumbers, and fixed his eyes
on mine with an affirmative expression.

"Ay, to be sure you are; and a capital
swimmer too."

Neptune raised his head from the rug, and
beat the ground with his tail, first to the right
hand and then to the left.

"And is he not a fine faithful fellow? And
does he not love his master?"

Neptune rubbed his head against my hand,
and concluded the conversation by again sink-
ing into repose.

" That dog's a philosopher," I said. "He
never says a word more than is necessary.
Then, again, not only blessed in love and
friendship, and my dog; but what luck it was
to sell, and in these times too, that old lum-
bering house of my father's, with its bleak,
bare, hilly acres of chalk and stone, for eighty
thousand pounds, and to have the money paid
down on the very day the bargain was con-
cluded. By-the-by, though, I had forgot: I
may as well write to Messrs. Drax and Dray ton
about that money, and order them to pay it
immediately in to Coutts's, mighty honest
people and all that: but faith, no solicitors
should be trusted or tempted too far. It's a
foolish way, at any time, to leave money in
other people's hands in anybody's hands
and I'll write about it at once."

As I said, so I did. I wrote my commands
to Messrs. Drax and Drayton to pay my eighty
thousand pounds into Coutts's; and after de-
siring that my note might be forwarded to
them the first thing in the morning, I took my
candle, and accompanied by Neptune, who al-
ways keeps watch by night at my chamber door,
proceeded to bed, as the watchman was calling
"past twelve o'clock," beneath my window.

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