Previous Index Next
Page 127
(previous) (Page 000127) (next)


“ Lastly, physical investigation more than any thing besides helps to teach
us the actual value and right use of the Imagination—of that wondrous
faculty, which, left to ramble uncontrolled, leads us astray into a wilderness of
perplemities and errors, a land of mists and shadows ; but which properly con-
trolled by experience and reflection, becomes the noblest attribute of man .° the
source of poetic genius, the instrument of discovery in Science, without the aid
of which Newton would never have invented fluxions, nor Davy have decom-
posed the earths and alkalies, nor would Columbus have found another 00n-
tinent.”-—Address to the Royal Society by its President, Sir Benjamin
Brodie, November 30, 1859.

I CARRIED with me to the Alps this year the heavy
burden of this evening’s work. In the way of new inves-
tigation I had nothing complete enough to be brought
before you; so all that remained to me was to fall back
upon such residues as I could find in the depths of con-
sciousness, and out of them to Spin the fibre and weave the
web of this discourse. Save from memory I had no direct
aid upon the mountains; but to spur up the emotions, on
which so much depends, as well as to nourish indirectly the
intellect and will, I took with me two volumes of poetry,
Goethe’s “ Farbenlehre,” and the work on “ Logic” recently
published by Mr. Alexander Bain.1 The spur, I am sorry
to say, was no match for the integument of dulness it had

1 One of my critics remarks, that he does not see the Wit of calling

Goethe’s “Farbenlehre” and Bain’s “Logic,” “ two volumes of poetry.”
Nor do I.

Previous Index Next