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I was about to pull a butterfly to pieces, to subject the most beautiful love story which was ever written, to the dissecting knife of anatomical criticism ; and yet I can safely say that I am not more insensible than my neighbours to the pathos of the play. But the work of dissection on which I was engaged, has tended to call my attention to a fact in the economy of the human mind, which, though sufficiently well known, is also perhaps sufficiently often overlooked to make it worth mentioning. It is this, that few things tend more effectually to destroy (for the time being) our feelings, whether of pain or pleasure, than the endeavour to analyse them ; e.g. to inquire into the materials of which our happiness is composed, tends to injure that happiness. Again, to analyse our religious faith, tends, for the time being, almost to destroy it. So also in respect of painful feelings. Burton wrote his anatomy of melancholy, in order to relieve melancholy. Some persons have thought that he had better have taken to reading light literature. But possibly he may have been the best judge of what was good for him. There are times when we cannot divert our thoughts from what is painful ; and at those times we have no resource but to look our pain in the face and conquer it, because we cannot run away from it. I would not, as a general rule, encourage the egotistical habit of writing down our feelings, and making ourselves the heroes of a tragedy ; but extreme cases sometimes call for extreme remedies, and the plan I have mentioned may occasionally be resorted to as

a last resource. and may prove successful. Tennyson in writing “In Memoriam,” works himself out of sorrow into triumphant joy; and whether or no we follow his example and put down our thoughts in writing, we may at all events, by judiciously handling our griefs and disappointments, discover the purpose for which they were sent, and extract from them materials for ultimate happiness. In the simple words of the poet Cowper

" The tear that is wiped with a little address,
May be follow'd perhaps by a smile."







Sub-Dean of the Chapel Royal.

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