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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 86 pages of information about A Defence of Poetry and Other Essays.

Metaphysics may be defined as an inquiry concerning those things belonging to, or connected with, the internal nature of man.

It is said that mind produces motion; and it might as well have been said, that motion produces mind.

III—­DIFFICULTY OF ANALYSING THE HUMAN MIND

If it were possible that a person should give a faithful history of his being, from the earliest epochs of his recollection, a picture would be presented such as the world has never contemplated before.  A mirror would be held up to all men in which they might behold their own recollections, and, in dim perspective, their shadowy hopes and fears,—­all that they dare not, or that, daring and desiring, they could not expose to the open eyes of day.  But thought can with difficulty visit the intricate and winding chambers which it inhabits.  It is like a river whose rapid and perpetual stream flows outwards;—­like one in dread who speeds through the recesses of some haunted pile, and dares not look behind.  The caverns of the mind are obscure, and shadowy; or pervaded with a lustre, beautifully bright indeed, but shining not beyond their portals.  If it were possible to be where we have been, vitally and indeed—­if, at the moment of our presence there, we could define the results of our experience,—­if the passage from sensation to reflection—­from a state of passive perception to voluntary contemplation, were not so dizzying and so tumultuous, this attempt would be less difficult.

IV—­HOW THE ANALYSIS SHOULD BE CARRIED ON

Most of the errors of philosophers have arisen from considering the human being in a point of view too detailed and circumscribed He is not a moral, and an intellectual,—­but also, and pre-eminently, an imaginative being.  His own mind is his law; his own mind is all things to him.  If we would arrive at any knowledge which should be serviceable from the practical conclusions to which it leads, we ought to consider the mind of man and the universe as the great whole on which to exercise our speculations.  Here, above all, verbal disputes ought to be laid aside, though this has long been their chosen field of battle.  It imports little to inquire whether thought be distinct from the objects of thought.  The use of the words external and internal, as applied to the establishment of this distinction, has been the symbol and the source of much dispute.  This is merely an affair of words, and as the dispute deserves, to say, that when speaking of the objects of thought, we indeed only describe one of the forms of thought—­or that, speaking of thought, we only apprehend one of the operations of the universal system of beings.

V—­catalogue of the phenomena of dreams, as connecting sleeping and waking

1.  Let us reflect on our infancy, and give as faithfully as possible a relation of the events of sleep.

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