Puslapio vaizdai

When desire of reputation passes into love of fame or glory, its consequences are of a more mixed nature. In common with other passions, it expels all languor of mind, all fanciful evils, rouses the energies of the soul, and leads especially to noble deeds. Generally speaking, these deeds are useful to mankind as well as glorious to the individual; and if not always, it is owing to the circumstance above mentioned, that admiration may be obtained by high and rare talents, apart from moral worth. Hence a passion which was meant to urge us to all that is truly great and excellent, has sometimes proved a scourge as fatal as ambition itself, with which it is frequently united; and, along with the latter, has helped to desolate the earth. When love of glory becomes separated from desire of virtuous reputation, it may lead to any extravagance, and terminate in mere love of notoriety, notoriety for good or ill; a passion which caused the burning of the temple of Ephesus. In such instances the passion becomes no better than madness, and deserves only hard diet and a strait waistcoat. And well would it have been for the world if many of those conquerors who have waded through blood to glory had been put under close confinement, and fed upon meagre fare, till their ardour had somewhat cooled; for a passion, which the tears of humanity could not soften, might have yielded to restraint and hunger. Sometimes this passion for glory, apart from virtue, may seize upon a whole nation, and render it as formidable to its neighbours as a volcano to the villages beneath, liable to be buried under a flood of lava or showers of cinders. We may deplore

the fate of those ancient cities overwhelmed by an eruption of Vesuvius, but we must curse the memory of the monarch who could waste with fire the Palatinate.

But we should not allow ourselves to fall down before a mighty idol, and be blinded to the general utility of the passion by a few glaring instances to the contrary. At At every turn we must guard against that powerful spell, which leads the judgment captive by drawing all our attention to a few illuminated spots. Love of glory, like love of power, sometimes leads to gigantic mischief; but the general operation is salutary, though this be less observed; for if admiration may be sought and gained by means which morality disclaims, it is much more commonly won in ways that virtue approves. It is only extraordinary ability that so captivates men as to make them forget whether it be well employed; and less brilliant talents that wish for admiration must, at the same time, seek for esteem. Don Juan may be read and admired, but Faublas excites disgust; and though the greatness of Cæsar or Napoleon may often blind us to their crimes, how many less gifted adventurers are remembered with hatred or scorn! Finally, love of fame, when combined with a regard to virtue, leads to the highest excellence in every department, in science, letters, and the arts, and is one of the constant causes of the improvement of the human race.

SECTION VI.-Desire of Knowledge, or Curiosity.

In the whole range of the passions none seems to have been treated in general with greater favour than Desire of Knowledge, or Curiosity; though even this has not entirely escaped the attacks of those who appear determined to run down every propensity of human nature. Few have dared openly to avow themselves the apostles of ignorance, but by depreciating one branch of knowledge after another, many have singularly narrowed the sphere of intellectual exertion, while some religious zealots have not scrupled to decry all profane learning, as opposed to devotion in general, and especially to humility.' Scarcely any precept of the inspired writers has been more dwelt upon than that whereby we are told not to allow ourselves to be spoilt by philosophy, and to avoid oppositions of science falsely so called; and not unfrequently the word false has been dropped, and philosophy, in whatever form, been assailed with indiscriminate obloquy. That desire of knowledge has its dangers we shall presently see, but what propensity of our nature is free from them? and he who should seriously object to curiosity on that account, ought, likewise, to discourage benevolence as well as religion, because the one is often misplaced, while

1 See, in particular, the famous work of Thomas à Kempis De Imitatione Christi. The forty-third chapter of the third book is thus entitled, Contra vanam et secularem scientiam.

the other gave birth to the crusades, and nerved the arm of Ravaillac.

What are the elements of the pleasure of knowledge, and hence of the desire connected with that pleasure? It is certain that as we are formed by nature to delight in knowledge for its own sake, independently of its results or practical application, as well as to be grieved at conscious ignorance, so are we prompted incessantly to seek the one and shun the other. This desire is properly called curiosity, and it is a simple feeling, not susceptible of decomposition or analysis.

True it is that knowledge leads to innumerable improvements in social life; that it is the grand source of power over nature, animate and inanimate, and is our guide in the present, our ground of hope in the future condition of mortality. On account of this utility, public as well as private, knowledge is highly prized; as also on account of the distinction which attends those who have made more than usual proficiency. In short, knowledge may be desired as the means of palpably benefiting ourselves or others, or as a token of superiority. But genuine curiosity pursues not knowledge as the means by which other propensities may be gratified. Here knowledge itself is the end in view, and though considerations of private interest, or public utility, may afterwards occur, and increase our ardour in study, yet these encourage or accompany, rather than constitute, curiosity. Desire of wealth, of fame, of influence, or perhaps general benevolence, may combine with curiosity to rouse our intellectual energies, or may direct and cherish it,

but they are altogether different, and look to different objects, though they happen to meet by the way; as two or more travellers may chance to be thrown together and may lend mutual assistance, though one journey for business, another for the mere pleasure of the trip. It is seldom that men follow any great object from one motive alone, for when the ruling desire has pointed out the course, secondary advantages present themselves, giving rise to new motives, which may even outlive the original. Thus many a one who in youth was prompted to acquire learning chiefly by curiosity, may in after life pursue it as leading to fortune.

And this brings me to remark, that curiosity is not only very different in degree in different persons, but is generally strongest in youth, and, unlike ambition or avarice, is apt to decline with age. As men differ from each other in the intensity of their desires for power, fame, or wealth, so likewise in their desire for knowledge; and the same individual may scarcely less differ from himself at distant periods of life. In some, curiosity may certainly amount to a strong and durable passion, and suffice to determine a career; but in general it is less to be relied on than the desires above enumerated. It seldom altogether deserts us, but it is apt soon to tire of one thing, and requires to be fed by novelty. At times it is so intense as to drive us into danger with a force not to be resisted, as when it urged Franklin to draw down lightning from the clouds. How many chemists have exposed their lives in making new and hazardous experiments! and how many run into scenes of tumult purely from curiosity! Young medical students have

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