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was still a locomotive, rushing to and fro, and jerking out his syllables with the disjointed accent peculiar to a steam-engine. His mouth had turned to brass, like mine, and his hand raised the pitcher to his lips in the attempt to moisten it; but, before he had taken a mouthful, set the pitcher down again with a yell of laughter, crying out, How can I take water into my boiler, while I am letting off steam ?'”
Mr. Taylor tells us that he was too far gone to fall into the absurdity of this. He felt himself sinking deeper and deeper into unutterable agony and despair. There was nothing resembling ordinary pain; but a distress, from tension of nerve, which could not be described, because unlike any previous experience, and which was far worse than any pain. The remnant of the will was gradually disappearing, without any corresponding diminution of consciousness; and a dreadful fear arose that what he was now suffering was real and permanent insanity. Indeed, it appears from a fact mentioned by Dr. Madden in his Travels in Turkey, &c., that this fear was not so groundless as Mr. Taylor afterwards came to regard it. Dr. Madden assures us that out of thirteen male inmates of a Turkish madhouse, no fewer than four had gone mad from over-doses of hashish. The rest of this profoundly interesting and vividly-expressed description, which we have reluctantly abridged, must be given in Mr. Taylor's words :
“ The thought of death, which also haunted me, was far less bitter than this dread. I knew that in the struggle which was going on in my frame, I was borne fearfully near the dark gulf; and the thought that, at such a time, both reason and will were leaving my brain, filled me with an agony, the depth and blackness of which I should vainly attempt to portray. I threw myself on my bed, the excited blood stiil roaring wildly in my ears, my heart throbbing with a force that seemed to be rapidly wearing away my life, my throat dry as a potsherd, and my stiffened tongue cleaving to the roof of my mouth. My companion was approaching the same condition; but as the effect of the drug upon him had been less violent, so his stage of suffering was more clamorous. He cried out to me that he was dying, and reproached me vehemently because I lay there silent, motionless, and apparently careless of his danger. Why will he disturb me?' I thought. He thinks he is dying, but what is death to madness ? Let him die; a thousand deaths were more easily borne than the pangs I suffer.' While I was sufficiently conscious to hear his exclamations, they only provoked my keen anger; but after a time, my senses became clouded, and I sank into a stupor. As pear as I can judge, this must have been three o'clock in the morning, rather more than five hours after the hashish began to take effect. I lay thus all the following day and night, in a state of blank oblivion, broken only by a single wandering gleam of consciousness. I recollect hearing François' voice. He told me afterwards that I rose, attempted to dress myself, drank two cups of coffee, and then fell back into the same death-like stupor; but of all this I did not retain the least know. ledge. On the morning of the second day, after a sleep of thirty hours, I awoke again to the world, with a system utterly prostrate and unstrung, and a brain clouded with the lingering images of my visions. I knew where I was, and what had happened to me; but all that I saw still remained unreal and shadowy. There was no taste in what I ate, no refreshment in what I drank; and it required a painful effort to comprehend what was said to me, and return a coherent answer. Will and reason had come back, but they still sat unsteadily on their thrones. My friend, who was much further advanced in his recovery, accompanied me to the adjoining bath, which I hoped would assist in restoring me. It was with great difficulty that I preserved the outward appearance of consciousness. In spite of myself, a veil now and then fell over my mind; and after wandering for years, as it seemed, in some distant world, I awoke with a shock to find myself in the steamy halls of the bath, with a brown Syrian polishing my limbs. . . . A glass of very acid sherbet was presented to me; and after drinking it, I experienced instant relief. Still the spell was not wholly broken, and for two or three days I continued subject to frequent involuntary fits of absence, which made me insensible for the time to all that was passing around me. I walked the streets of Damascus with a strange consciousness that I was in some other place at the same time, and with à constant effort to reunite my divided perceptions. Previous to the experiment, we had decided on making a bargain for the journey to Palmyra. .. But all the charm which lay in the name of Palmyra, and the romantic interest of the trip, was gone. I was without courage and without energy, and nothing remained for me but to leave Damascus.
Yet, fearful as my rash experiment proved to me, I did not regret having made it. It revealed to me deeps of rapture and of suffering which my natural faculties never could have sounded. It has taught me the majesty of human reason and of human will, even in the weakest; and the awful peril of tampering with that which assails their integrity.”
The action of hashish, like that of opium, is very different with different persons. We have heard of several attempts to excite the fantasia proving utter failures ; indeed, failure seems to be far more frequent than success. Probably the experience of M. de Saulcy and his friends, recorded in his Journey round the Dead Sea, would be that of at least nine English, or French, hashish-eaters out of ten. “The experiment,” says this traveller, “ to which we had recourse for an amusement, proved so extremely disagreeable, that I may say with certainty that none of us is likely to wish to try it again. Hashish is an abominable poison, ... which we had the folly to take in excessive doses one New-Year's day. We expected a delightful evening; but were nearly killed through our imprudence. I, who had taken the largest dose, remained insensible for above twenty-four hours; after which I woke to find myself completely shattered in nerves, and subject to nervous spasms and incoherent dreams, which seemed to last hundreds of years."
It is to be observed, that almost all the foregoing experiments were made with doses far greater than are usually taken by habitual hashish-eaters in the East. According to Dr. O'Shaughnessy, half-a-grain is considered a sufficient quantity to be taken at a time in India. There is no proof that, when taken with moderation, and with the purpose only of causing the gentle exhilaration produced by a prudent use of wine or tea, the one would be more damaging than the others. The testimonies of Dr. Burnes, Dr. Macpherson, and Dr. Eatwell (quoted by Johnston), concerning the amount of effect produced by opium in countries where it is habitually taken, might probably stand good for hashish also. Dr. Burnes, long resident at the court of Scinde, writes, that“ in general the natives do not suffer much from the use of opium. It does not seem to destroy the powers of the body, or to enervate the mind, to the degree that might be imagined.” Dr. Macpherson observes of the Chinese, that “ although the habit of smoking opium is universal among rich and poor, yet they are a powerful, muscular, and athletic people; and the lower orders more intelligent, and far superior in mental acquirements, to those of corresponding rank in our own country.”
Dr. Eatwell writes : “ The question to be determined is, not what are the effects of opium used in excess, but what are its effects on the moral and physical constitution of the mass of individuals who use it habitually, and in moderation, either as a stimulant to sustain the frame under fatigue, or as a restorative and sedative after labour, bodily or mental ? Having passed three years in China, I can affirm thus far, that the effects of the abuse of the drug do not come very frequently under observation; and that when cases do occur, the habit is frequently found to have been induced by the presence of some painful chronic disease, to escape from the sufferings of which the patient has fled to this resource. There are doubtless many who indulge in the habit to a pernicious extent, led by the same morbid influences which induce men to become drunkards in even the most civilised countries; but these cases do not, at all events, come before the public eye. As regards the effects of the habitual use of the drug on the mass of the people, I must affirm that no injurious results are visible. . . . I conclude, therefore, that proofs are wanting to show that the moderate use of opium produces more pernicious effects upon the constitution than the moderate use of spirituous liquors; whilst, at the same time, it is certain that the consequences of the former are less appalling in their effects upon the victim, and less disastrous to society at large, than the consequences of the abuse of the latter.” Pharmaceutical Journal, vol. xi.
Hashish is now in considerable use as a medicament, under the name of Cannabis indica; and its therapeutic application seems destined to be much extended, particularly in connection with nervous derangements, as its properties become better understood. Indeed, the above statements with reference to the comparative innocuousness of moderate opium-eating, and the facts, that hashish is habitually used by between two and three hundred millions, and that it is, if any thing, less injurious than opium, and much more generally palatable, suggest the possibility of its one day becoming an article of extensive consumption among us. Its effects, when moderately taken, greatly resemble those of tea; and it is a curious fact, that the effects of tea, in excessive strength, are not unlike those of hashish. Most persons have their nervous system unstrung and shattered for a time by excess in the beverage “which cheers but not inebriates," and such seems to be the effect-on most persons of too much hashish; but furthermore, insensibility and hallucination are produceable by tea as well-as hashish. The friend who supplied us with his hashish-experiences also supplies us with the following account of the result of an excess in tea-drinking. The resemblance to some of the most peculiar effects of hashish in large doses will strike all who have read the foregoing pages :
“Being under an unusual stress of work, which demanded great activity of brain, I had recourse, as usual, to tea for excitement. For several days successively I took a basin of very strong tea four or five times a-day. One night, as I was sitting alone with my mother and writing, I felt a sudden dizziness overcome me immediately after a draught of tea stronger than any I had taken yet, and requested my mother to get me a glass of sherry from the sideboard. Consciousness of surrounding objects left me, and I fell into a dream, which I can only describe by saying that it was indescribably terrific. It seemed to last for ages, and I awoke with the horror of a soul which had been an eternity in hell. My mother was standing before me with the sherry. I asked her how long I had been insensible. She asked me what I meant; she had just returned with the sherry, not having been absent half-a-minute.”
ART. V.-BEN JONSON.
Poetical Works of Ben Jonson. Edited by Robert Bell. London:
John W. Parker and Son, 1856. The Works of Ben Jonson. With Notes, &c. By W. Gifford, Esq.
The American lady who insists upon merging the existence of Shakespeare in the philosophy of Bacon is not entirely without excuse for her infatuation. Shakespeare is an impalpable sort of being. Among the men of his own time, he shows like tradition does by the side of history. He was born at Stratfordon-Avon. Did he poach some deer? He went to London. Perhaps he was a link-boy; undoubtedly he was a player. He used to be witty at the Mermaid. He married a wife. He died, and is buried. He disliked the idea of his bones being disturbed, or somebody else disliked it for him. There is a bust of him; we wonder if it is like. He wrote a vast number of personal sonnets, which tell us nothing of his own life ;-of many of the best of them we cannot say whether they are addressed to man or woman.
We want to know how his name is spelled, and find he spelled it different ways himself. The most persevering bloodhounds of biography have been on his trail for a hundred years — every clue has been unravelled, every hint exhausted, and the result has been a few minute details which in every other case would have been considered unworthy the chronicling. Many ingenious suppositions have been vented; but the sum of the matter is, we know nothing about him. Of what the man himself was, “ in his habit as he lived,” we can form no idea beyond a certain faint lustre about him of cheerful companionship and gentle equanimity, Of the sort of temperament and genius he must have possessed his works give us a sufficient idea; but as to the actual human character, as displayed in life, we are utterly in the dark. Far different is the case with Jonson. Shakespeare is the name of a number of plays. Ben Jonson is the name of a man in the flesh-a burly man, who wrote The Fox and Drink to me only with thine eyes.
It is of the very essence of the two men's genius that they should be thus distinguished. The one was like a mountainlarge, strong, deep-rooted—which all the world's changes leave unmoved in its massive independence: the other was like the light-diffused, all-penetrating, setting forth all shapes, displaying all hues, a vesture of interpretation to the world;