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In analyzing our sins we may distinguish (1) sins of original defect, or inherent sin; (2) acquired sins; and (3) the sins of senility, when, however willing the spirit, the flesh has become too weak to obey its dictates; and (4) offences acting from without against the individual
Now we can make, and are accustomed to make, a like division of disease. We recognize inherited morbid states, acquired disease, senile degenerations and disorders, and, speaking broadly, traumatic conditions, the results of gross injury.
It is the second of these groups which especially deserves attention. It is the largest group and includes the everyday diseases of mankind. And what is of interest is that the most common and most numerous of the conditions here included are infectious conditions, from the common cold down to the most malignant case of cholera, or, to come nearer home, typhoid fever. With the remarkable work of the bacteriologist and hygienist during the last thirty years, the clearer has become the demonstration that many, perhaps all of these conditions are preventable, that with proper precautions they can be avoided, and that, when contracted, nature itself may possibly have provided in every case a remedy. It would be false to say that this anticipation of a law of relief rests on fact, but so many infections have been brought almost under control that it is not unreasonable to assume that the cause of all will be discovered, and that once the cause is known, the remedy may be as easily effected as in the elimination of yellow fever by protection from mosquito bite. It is of course merely a hope, not yet a belief, that the day will come when some prophylactic will be discovered to shield us from threatened disease and some antitoxin found to counteract the poisons now killing poor helpless humanity."
Discussing the subject with another eminent pathologist, Dr. Ewing, he argued:
"I cannot fully accept your view that all disease is the result of the infraction of laws, or of sin, inherited, or committed by ourselves. This is true of many diseases. But Nature seems to look out for all her created species as well as for man, better for many than for man. Thus the tubercle bacillus is a strict parasite growing only in the animal body and Theobald Smith thinks that Nature will see that it always finds a way to grow there. Many protozoan parasites, as malaria, must pass one stage of their existence in blood, and Nature provides a most delicate and exact method of perpetuating them. Nature seems to intend the existence of many low forms of life at the expense and detriment of higher forms. The higher they are the more difficult their existence. This view, however, does not stand against the probability that Nature provides a remedy against bacterial diseases in the way you develop that idea. Yet how is it with many nonbacterial diseases? These are in a sense natural phenomena of decay. All life in animal form is mortal and many diseases are but the varied expression of phases of natural degeneration, for which Nature intends no remedy. Man appears truly as Diety when by Intelligence he overrides Nature and provides relief, correcting the maladjustments of Nature. My solution of the riddle is—Natural conditions tend strongly to develop the spiritual in Man, but do not provide him invariable or special privileges as an earthly animal. That is not his abiding place. You emphasize, in a way which is original to me, the ground for hope that Man can find a remedy for many natural ills. Nature struggles against and Mind abhors decay. Hence why not help these tendencies ? Especially, why not help them by psychical influences, as He did, as well as by all the physical means at our command? The cancer process has often been compared to 'tissue winning against organism' by selfish, aimless overgrowth. We have yet to learn the conditions favoring that sinning overgrowth.
“I think your argument favors the larger realization by physicians and investigators that practice or research, with faith and hope of success, will accomplish much more than has yet been done with apparently hopeless disease."
OBERT Bridges, the new Poet Laureate, was born in 1844, and so is now sixty-nine years of age.
He was educated at Eton and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. While in Oxford, according to Andrew Lang who was a contemporary, he concealed his courtship of the Muse, and was renowned instead for his prowess as stroke of Corpus boat. After taking his degree he travelled in Europe. Finally he settled down to the study of medicine and becoming a medical doctor, filled various important positions in the London hospitals. In 1882, at the age of thirty-eight he retired from active life after no more than ten years participation in it. Since that time he has lived in or about Oxford in such a quiet manner as very well befits a scholar and artist.
Mr. Bridges published his first book of verse in 1876. It consisted of twenty-four of the sonnets now included in "The Growth of Love.” From that year onwards he has published at intervals a number of volumes: “Prometheus The Fregiver" in 1883, "Eros and Psyche" in 1885, “Achilles in Sycros" in 1890, “Shorter Poems" (in a collected form) in 1890, "New Poems" in 1899, etc., etc. Most of these were issued privately from the Daniel Press, Oxford.
Mr. Bridges, as I have said, has lived in retirement for the last thirty-one years: that is, he has withdrawn from the whirl of life as much as ever Cowper or Gray did. The retirement in his case, however, seems to have been deliberately made, whereas in theirs it was a consequence of over-sensitiveness. Of his reasons for it we get a glimpse in his poems. In "Invitation to the Country” he declares that the greatest and happiest man is he who makes known the secrets of nature, or does big deeds.
“Thrice happy he, the rare
In "Wintry Delights"-a poem in classical prosody-he extols the soldier at the expense of the clerk; and suggests that the keener the zest of life in a man, the better he is. Why does one who thinks the highest rewards go to those who “lay new realms of nature bare," put them aside and cultivate instead the pleasures of solitude? The answer is that he feels himself unfitted for the labours of a Promethean man, and rather than wreck his life by trying to shoulder them, he will live idly and joyfully in company with Nature and Art. He has found the sphere through which he can move equably and without loss of self-command, and as far as lies with him, he will allow no eruption into it of mysterious forces whose effects he cannot calculate.
Far sooner I would choose
So, then, this poet deliberately narrows the realm of his art. He shuts himself up with his ideal, fearing the Untried and the Unknown. No desire to feel the quickening sting which the winds acquire as they pass over the cities of men and breathe upon their sorrows, will tempt him from it into the open. That desire made Milton arrogant beyond endurance; it handed over Spenser and Keats slaves to sensuous delight; it made fire and ashes of Shelley's life. But it will not be allowed to disturb the fair well-balanced order of this poet's mind. Far be from him the consuming inspiration which shook the Sybil!
This is his desire for life; and as far as one can gather, he has been able to satisfy it. But there are one or two lyrics into which Sorrow unbidden comes stalking, in which you hear the voice of the Unknown crying. The best of them is "Winter Nightfall."
The day begins to droop,-
An engine pants and hums
A tall man there in the house
He thinks of his morn of life,
Of darkness and tears. To live apart from the world in such a fashion as will let his individual activities come to their best growth—that is Bridges' ideal. A narrow one, you say; and at this time especially, unworthy. It may be so. It has at least, however, brought into being poems which will outlast the stormy cryings of many poets of our times, who have miscalculated their genius and matched themselves against powers, no more likely to be overcome by them than by grasshoppers. Then, too, if its walls are narrow they are well adorned. In its many cupboards are "tons of music”: a myriad volumes in which you may hear the rumour of all the world's discoveries, load its bookshelves. It has an observatory turret above which nightly the stars circle and dip. And chiefest of all its adornments, green fields stretch up to its windowsill, and the nightingale in summer and the robin in winter make the air populous about it. A narrow ideal but a beautiful one! Nature, Art and Philosophy adorn it.
The main stuff of his poetry comes from the first of these, Nature.
For Nature can delight