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astic fancy, as well as the pensive breathings of the contemplative muse, owe their highest power over the mind, to the associations which the towering piles of ecclesiastical glory, and the gloomy honors of monumental devotion, have, at all times, kindled in the poet's head and heart.
To conclude these observations, we deprecate the imputation of appearing, in any way, the advocates of the superstitions, the tricks of imposture and fraud, which, more or less, disgraced monastic establishments in common with almost every other institution of an uncivilized age, or of the principles of religion or economy on which they were founded;-we only protest against trying their merits by considerations and principles which owe much of their truth and expediency to a totally different order of society;—we deprecate indiscriminate censure against foundations, merely because they may, with the light of the present age, be easily shown to be inconsistent with good government or sound policy, by those who choose to forget that one anomaly is often the most efficient counterbalance of another; and we call on all, before they pronounce a sweeping self-sufficient anathema on the weaknesses of their forefathers, to pause, and if they will not go as far as to admit the absolute wisdom of such institutions, at least to give some prominency of relief to the fairer parts of their results, and to allow us to trace the tendency of some even of the most obvious imperfections in the system to the production of great countervailing good.
"The sacred taper's light is gone,
The bell has ceas'd to toll.
The long-ribb'd aisles are burst and shrunk ;
God's blessing on his soul!"
But that sacred taper, (we are proud to reflect) before it expired, lit the flame of a more pure and rational devotion-that altar-stone preserved and sanctified amidst barbarous nations and times, a worship corrupted, indeed, but under any shape conducive to the best and dearest interests of humanity-the holy image, in its rudest form, stimulated the humble devotee to the revival and cultivation of the fine arts-those long-ribbed aisles and holy shrines remain the wonder and admiration of posterity, the unrivalled models of majestic grandeur and sublimity -and many a pious monk has, indeed, deserved the blessing which we breathe over his remains, as the historian and philoso
pher of his age, and the benefactor not only of his day and country, but of all time.
With all our esteem, however, for monastic institutions, and our desire to see ample justice done to their merits, we are not inclined to dispute that many of their failings, and we may add their innocent peculiarities, afford a legitimate mark for the arrows of ridicule. We have never refused to participate in the merriment, excited by the thousand humorous tales of welldirected satire which characterized the æra of the Reformation, as well as the two or three preceding centuries; and we shall not refuse to do justice even to the motives of those who exerted an equally powerful though less charitable talent, in convincing the world, that the time had arrived when such establishments, however advantageous they might have been in other stages of society, had lost almost all their usefulness, and were becoming only the cloaks of hypocrisy and vice. We need not call our reader's attention to these works: many of them must be fresh in every one's recollection; they have, like Don Quixote, survived the temporary purpose in which they originated: but the little work which heads this article has lately fallen in our way, and we have wished to introduce it to our readers, being as we believe very little known, though it has considerable merit, at any rate for the novelty of its conception.
The author, a German Baron, who exerted his talents in a work on Conchology, here deviates from the usual course of his researches into the treasures of nature, for the purpose of an excursion into the animal kingdom; and has conceived the notion of applying the Linnæan system to analysing, classifying, and describing the nature, dress, and habits of the living lumber, by which he considered his country infested under the appellation of Monks.
With this view, he offers very modestly, not a complete system, but an attempt, a Specimen Monachologia, in which he endeavours to show the practicability of reducing, into a scientific form and nomenclature, a race of infinite variety and complexity.
His object is thus avowed, in a motto selected from Linnaus de noxa insectorum.
"I exceedingly rejoice, that in my country, considerable attention should have been excited, among other studies, to investigating, describing, and distinguishing (monastic) insects.-Unless so pleasing an idea misleads my judgment, I should foretell that in the result we shall every where perceive the most perfect skill and wisdom, even in the formation of the meanest things:-and if with this pious view we bend our attention to the subject, it is my opinion, that we shall discover remedies for all the mischiefs that are occasioned by insects,
(monks) of every sort; moreover that we may hope to succeed in turning them, as well as other things, by the divine favor and assistance, to those uses, and which if we could always discover them, would lead us to a conviction, that no part of creation exists otherwise, than for an useful and beneficent purpose."
Then follows a Latin address to the reader, which we shall thus translate.
"Ever since philosophy was purged from the sophisms of the peripatetics, and the trifling of the middle ages, and restored to that state of primitive dignity which becomes the mother of all the arts, the study of natural history has excited great attention.-The ablest men have felt the attractions of this most delightful science, and have cultivated and freed it from the load of idle fable by which it was obscured: they have more accurately examined the various classes of natural productions, the substances which vegetate on the face of the earth, or form within its bowels; have communicated the progress of their discoveries to the world; and have so developed and illustrated, in philosophical treatises, the substances which nourish, protect, or heal us from our diseases, that little remains to be done, except, as at the conclusion of the harvest, to pick up here and there the scattered ears of corn that the reapers have left.
"This would be abundantly manifest, if I were merely to mention the men who have deserved well at our hands, for collecting, defining, and distributing the various works of nature, or indeed, only to enumerate the names of those who have handled a single class, or a solitary genus of organic bodies. But I will not conceal from the candid reader, that I (who have ever felt the strongest impulse towards similar pursuits) had made up my mind, that nearly all the materials for writing on the subjects were exhausted, and that there was scarcely any thing, with the whole detail of which we were not intimately acquainted; when by some accident I fell upon the memorable saying of Solon, Know thyself!
"Prompted by this golden precept, I directed my attention to man, and an inquiry into his nature and physiology: I compared with him the various anthropomorphic species, when, behold, I unexpectedly detected a new genus, which intimately connects man, the most perfect of created beings, with the ape, the most foolish of animals, and occupies the great hiatus between the two; I allude to the Monk, a genus which appears in the form of man, although widely different in essential particulars.
"I by no means wish to reflect on the inadvertency of those, who profess to cultivate the science of natural history, and yet have neglected, to the present hour, to examine the tribe of monks which every where swarms under their very noses; for the monks' assumption of the human countenance and figure easily excuses error, and when men, whose knowledge is acknowledged by all, have overlooked the subject, there will be no difficulty in obtaining pardon for a similar omission in the more humble votaries of science. I cannot, however, for
bear congratulating myself, on having had the good fortune to crown my own studies by the opening of so ample a field, in which the lovers of nature may ramble and exercise their industry.
"I do not mean to arrogate to myself the power to digest all the materials, and to reduce into a compendious form the innumerable host of monks; especially, when I consider, that in the first place, the true characters of the genus, and its different species, are yet to be discovered, and all those particulars to be collected, which characterize each individual variety; and that the work can never be completed, till its cultivators have described the different monks, whom they have seen or heard of, according to the rules of some correct system.
"In the mean time, until the attention of physiologists is excited to the study of Monachology, I offer to the reader this specimen of a few species of monks, whom I have attempted to describe in the Linnæan method.
"Nor will he deem my labor useless or premature, when he considers, that princes, who formerly employed themselves in opposition to the whole economy of nature, in exterminating the wolf, the hawk, the sparrow, and other animals injurious to sporting or agricultural pursuits, now turn all their attention to extirpate the race of monks, so noxious to the human species; and that the writers of the present age would be accused by posterity of the grossest negligence, if they should omit to notice a race, which is fast disappearing from the earth; and if future ages, for want of an adequate knowledge of the characters of each species, should in vain seek, with the aid of the vague and contradictory descriptions which at present exist, to decipher and distinguish, by their proper names, those figures of monks, which might chance to be handed down by the medium of sculpture or painting."
Having thus opened his subject, and the plan he had in contemplation for its execution, the author, for the purpose of instructing those who should be inclined to collect materials for the new science, in the mode of classification and description, which he makes mainly to depend, not on arbitrary principles but on dress and habits, and having reached the scientific part of his work, we shall take the liberty of placing before our readers, what follows, which we quote in the original Latin, inasmuch as the main humour consists in the parody of a scientific phraseology to such a subject, and to translate it would be to invent a new nomenclature.
"Si Hierarchia universa ad methodum Mammalium Linnæi ordinanda esset, monachi ad bruta referendi mihi viderentur. Sed filo ariadneo munitum esse oportet eum, qui ex hoc labyrintho extricare sese posset; genus monachorum fors in familias tres, seu in monachos arcophagos, ichtyophagos, & phytiphagos distribuendum?
"Characteres specierum desumendi a capite, pedibus, ano, cucullo, vestitu.
"CAPUT est vel pilosum vel setosum, vel rasum; variat capillitio hemisphærico, corolla pilosa, sulcata, mento imberbi vel barbato.
"PEDES calceati, subcalceati, nudi.
"CUCULLUS aut versatilis, aut laxus, aut mobilis: & dein acuminatus, infundibuliformis, cordatus, brevis, elongatus, apice truncato, vel subulato, &c.
"ANUS nudus, semitectus, tectus.
"VESTITUS. Vestis & tunica, in qua adnotetur panni species, color, & an lata aut stricta. Scapulare, an latum, strictum, pendulum, ligatum, obtusum, laticaudum? Collare, adsutum tunica, latum, rigidum, nullum; scutum seu appendix cuculli, pectoralis & dorsalis, ejusque figura; manica, æqualis, angustata, larga, saccosa: pallium, longum, breve, plicatum, æquale. Tegmenta interiora, indusium, interula, &c. Cingulum, latum, teres, coriaceum, laneum, linteum, nodosum, &c.
"Observetur porro: Clamor seu sonus, an melodus vel ingratus, cantans vel orans; gutturalis vel nasalis; clamosus vel murmurans ; flebilis vel hilaris; gruniens vel latrans? &c. Incessus, an tardigradus, festinans, ignavus, durus?-&c. Habitus totius monachi: num austerus vel lascivus, rusticus vel gracilis; gravis vel levis, modestus vel hypocrita, &c. Mores: tempus clamoris, silentii probationis, occupatio. Victus et potus; odor; locus habitationis; metamorphoses; species hybridæ, e. g. servita septentrionalis; varietates sub diverso climate; addatur historia speciei, ortus, abolitionis, et differentiæ sexus.
To those, who, like us, have felt the labour of wading, for practical purposes, through the ponderous volumes of Helyer's Histoire des Ordres Religieux, or the folio records of Dugdale and his compeers, in order to acquire a mere outline of the dress, character, and habits of a particular order, it is no small discovery, to find a system capable of defining and classing every variety in a few comprehensive terms.
Three tables contain a nomenclature of the varieties into which the five points above enumerated divide themselves, and these are illustrated to the eye, by three ingenious sheets of engravings, which would do credit to the neatest botanical manual, and which it would give us pleasure to be able to exhibit to our readers.
The main portion of the work now opens with the scientific definition and description of the genus Monachus, its difference from man, and finally its apparent use. We believe this is tolerably translatable.
"Definitio.-An animal, anthropomorphic-hooded-howling by night-thirsting.
"Descriptio.-Body, erect, biped-back curved-head depressed -always hooded, and clothed in every part, (si in speciebus quibusdam caput, pedes, anum, manusque nudas excipias)-covetous, fetid,