The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 567 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb Volume 2.

Good-morrow to my Valentine, sings poor Ophelia; and no better wish, but with better auspices, we wish to all faithful lovers, who are not too wise to despise old legends, but are content to rank themselves humble diocesans of old Bishop Valentine, and his true church.

IMPERFECT SYMPATHIES

I am of a constitution so general, that it consorts and sympathized with all things, I have no antipathy, or rather idiosyncracy in any thing.  Those national repugnancies do not touch me, nor do I behold with prejudice the French, Italian, Spaniard, or Dutch.—­Religio Medici.

That the author of the Religio Medici, mounted upon the airy stilts of abstraction, conversant about notional and conjectural essences; in whose categories of Being the possible took the upper hand of the actual; should have overlooked the impertinent individualities of such poor concretions as mankind, is not much to be admired.  It is rather to be wondered at, that in the genus of animals he should have condescended to distinguish that species at all.  For myself—­earth-bound and fettered to the scene of my activities,—­

  Standing on earth, not rapt above the sky,

I confess that I do feel the differences of mankind, national or individual, to an unhealthy excess.  I can look with no indifferent eye upon things or persons.  Whatever is, is to me a matter of taste or distaste; or when once it becomes indifferent, it begins to be disrelishing.  I am, in plainer words, a bundle of prejudices—­made up of likings and dislikings—­the veriest thrall to sympathies, apathies, antipathies.  In a certain sense, I hope it may be said of me that I am a lover of my species.  I can feel for all indifferently, but I cannot feel towards all equally.  The more purely-English word that expresses sympathy will better explain my meaning.  I can be a friend to a worthy man, who upon another account cannot be my mate or fellow.  I cannot like all people alike.[1]

I have been trying all my life to like Scotchmen, and am obliged to desist from the experiment in despair.  They cannot like me—­and in truth, I never knew one of that nation who attempted to do it.  There is something more plain and ingenuous in their mode of proceeding.  We know one another at first sight.  There is an order of imperfect intellects (under which mine must be content to rank) which in its constitution is essentially anti-Caledonian.  The owners of the sort of faculties I allude to, have minds rather suggestive than comprehensive.  They have no pretences to much clearness or precision in their ideas, or in their manner of expressing them.  Their intellectual wardrobe (to confess fairly) has few whole pieces in it.  They are content with fragments and scattered pieces of Truth.  She presents no full front to them—­a feature or side-face at the most.  Hints and glimpses, germs and crude essays at a system, is the utmost

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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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