Monday, 30 March 2015

The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Why do so many readers of The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses find Stephen Dedalus unlikable? Michael Chabon thinks him a pill, a hard to take bolus. Bloom is more to his liking now.

Reading it at twenty, I had identified with Stephen Dedalus, a grave mistake. Stephen Dedalus is a pill. Doubtless I was kind of a pill myself at twenty, but that didn’t make Stephen any more appealing even then.

His reading of Bloom is a common sentimental one which does not correspond to the archetype of the violent expulsion of the suitors. The malleable (Mollyable) assent of Molly hardly counts as affirmation.

. Where a bachelor had seen Bloom’s devotion to Molly as pathetic, a husband saw it as noble and, at the same time, as simply her due.

Leaving Bloom aside and focusing on Stephen D. for the moment I see in Joyce’s writing an element of the Ignatian exercises which as a good Jesuit boy he would be familiar with. Visualisation is an important aspect of this spiritual discipline. But why would an unbeliever adopt the M.O. of a medieval priest?

—It is a curious thing, do you know, Cranly said dispassionately, how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve. Did you believe in it when you were at school? I bet you did.

Whether he did or not his teachers are saturated in the synaesthesic method with yearly month long retreats. This has formed their minds and this mind they transmit in a perfectly conscious way. Joyce was aware of this so there was no indoctrination in his case. He adopted it in the ‘Portrait’. Consider the First Day of the Third Week:

The first prelude is taken from the his tory: how Christ sent from Bethania to Jerusalem the two Disciples to prepare the Supper, whither Himself also, with the others, afterwards went; and there, after the eating of the Paschal Lamb, and supper finished, He washed all their feet, and gave them His most sacred Body and Blood. Lastly, He preached to them after the departure of Judas, who was about to sell Him.
The second, from the composition of the place, by considering the said way as rough or smooth, short or long, with the other circumstances which might belong to it ; then viewing the place of the Sup per as wide or narrow, plain or adorned, and the like........

The first point will be, to see them that are at supper, and draw something to my profit.
The second, to hear the same, what they are saying, arid thence gather fruit.
The third, to attend to what they are doing, and profit by everything.

Gentle reader for your edification I have abstracted from the ‘composition’ of hell elements which are replicated in the famous sermon of Chapter 3:

The first prelude is here the forming of the place; which is
to set before the eyes of the imagination the length, breadth, and depth of hell.
The second consists in asking for an intimate perception of the punishments which the damned undergo ; that, if at any time I should be forgetful of the love of God, at least the fear of punishment may re strain me from sins.
The first point is, to see by the imagination the vast fires of hell, and the souls inclosed in certain fiery bodies, as it were in dungeons.*
The second, to hear in imagination the lamentations, the howlings, the exclamations, and the blasphemies against Christ and His saints, thence breaking forth.
The third, to perceive by the smell also of the imagination, the smoke, the brim stone, and the stench of a kind of sink or filth, and of putrefaction.
The fourth, to taste in like manner those most bitter things, as the tears, the rot tenness, and the worm of conscience.
The fifth, to touch in a manner those fires by the touch of which the souls themselves are burnt.

Elsewhere the template of the Spiritual Exercises is applied. There is the ‘examen’ (examination of conscience and consciousness), there is the self-abnegation. Dedalus feels himself humiliated and mocked, oppressed by bosthoons (ignorant churls). The girl that he is attracted to flirts with a priest:

 And thus there arise three degrees of perfection ; namely, poverty, self-abasement, and humility; which are diametrically opposed to riches, honour, and pride, and introduce at once to all virtues.

He admires Davin’s rack of well made boots, and is tripped by his broken heel on a grating to the mocking of a ‘young wan’. Done, done, done.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

James Joyce and Walter Pater

"To see the object as in itself it really is," has been justly said to be the aim of all true criticism whatever, and in aesthetic criticism the first step towards seeing one's object as it really is, is to know one's own impression as it really is, to discriminate it, to realise it distinctly. The objects with which aesthetic criticism deals—music, poetry, artistic and accomplished forms of human life—are indeed receptacles of so many powers or forces: they possess, like the products of nature, so many virtues or qualities. What is this song or picture, this engaging personality presented in life or in a book, to me? What effect does it really produce on me? Does it give me pleasure? and if so, what sort or degree of pleasure? How is my nature modified by its presence, and under its influence? The answers to these questions are the original facts with which the aesthetic critic has to do; and, as in the study of light, of morals, of number, one must realise such primary data for one's self, or not at all. And he who experiences these impressions strongly, and drives directly at the discrimination and analysis of them, has no need to trouble himself with the abstract question what beauty is in itself, or what its exact relation to truth or [ix] experience—metaphysical questions, as unprofitable as metaphysical questions elsewhere. He may pass them all by as being, answerable or not, of no interest to him.
(from the preface to The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry by Walter Pater

When James Joyce followed those strictures of Pater and submitted to beauty all was well but his intellectual pride that would bind by a scholastic formula fought that surrender and left him a victim of arid schemata. The sunny irony of Ulysses was occasionally marred by them, Finnegans Wake entirely botched. When he loses that alert sense of outward things which Pater ascribes to Botticelli his strength goes with it. The vision of his anima embodied in the form of the girl standing in the water on Dollymount strand in the 'Portrait’ is like that of Venus rising from the waves without the strange coolness which Pater notices:

The light is indeed cold—mere sunless dawn; but a later painter would have cloyed you with sunshine; and you can see the better for that quietness in the morning air each long promontory, as it slopes down to the water's edge. Men go forth to their labours until the evening; but she is awake before them, and you might think that the sorrow in her face was at the thought of the whole long day of love yet to come. An emblematical figure of the wind blows hard across the grey water, moving forward the dainty-lipped shell on which she sails, the sea "showing his teeth," as it moves, in thin lines of foam, and sucking in, one by one, the falling roses, each severe in outline, plucked off short at the stalk, but embrowned a little, as Botticelli's flowers always are. Botticelli meant all this imagery to be altogether pleasurable; and it was partly an incompleteness of resources, inseparable from the art of that time, that subdued and chilled it. But this predilection for minor tones counts also; and what is unmistakable is the sadness with which he has conceived the goddess of pleasure, as the depositary of a great power over the lives of men.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Pramanas as valid means of knowledge or valid means of cognition

Have you ever wondered why there is such variance as to the number of pramanas? Some say one, some say 2 and and others three and six. Surely we ought to know how many ‘hands’ we have. As possibly a result of the creeping force of the illative I’ve lately begun to notice the different translations for pramana generally as ‘valid means of knowledge’ or ‘valid means of cognition’. Therein may lie the core of variance.

Knowledge it seems to me is part of the established mental store. This is the stuff we are sure of and this very right to claim knowledge is the entry point of the sceptical wedge. This has been the focus of discussion about 'justified true belief’ , Moore’s paradox and so forth. Now Indian epistemology has focused on empirical rules of thumb as it were, which are sound ways of getting to the point where you might claim knowledge but yet prescind from certainly as to whether it is. For example you were using a valid means of cognition or cognising normally when you spotted a coin. However when you bent to pick it up it was only a piece of silver paper. Knowledge evaded you for the moment in one respect but in another you now know that it was just silver paper. A lose/win situation sort of.

Is the reduction of the number of pramanas to just two, perception and inference, the result of two forms of apphension viz. physical and mental. We grasp the particular in the physical and abstract the universal mentally. There seems a basic robust modesty about this view unlil we consider that an important element of the definition of pramana is that it is a means of knowledge that cannot be reduced to any other. Ignoring that is to change the conversation.

Ethan Mills has a note on Dignaga's view:

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Nigel and the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I was reading Lila by Marilynne Robinson and finding it dull and ananda deficient decided to turn towards James Joyce and beat my breast in the house of The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. There’s leela (playful miracle) for you. Joyce is the Master no question. Irish writers have made him their template standing behind him like the Cavan poultry farmer behind the Japanese chicken sexer not knowing how he does it but somehow learning it. How can you learn what your teacher doesn’t understand? Of course there’s a shadow cast by Joyce but it’s not a gloom. I think of Nigel H. when he was at school.

Nigel was a long time in the confessional and the lads were wondering. Then they heard the shout of the priest -
- What, what, get out you blackguard, get out you scut.
With that cry he jumped out of his central box of audition of the sins of Nigel who had been winding him up like an 8 day clock, blurting his way towards incest and having unordered parcels delivered to members of the higher and the lower clergy. Father MacT. wrenched open the door of the box where Nigel was sitting inside with a straois (canine grin) on him. He easily dodged the lob and fled out under the arm of the priest who chased him up the chapel with his soutane hitched up bunching the berry buttons of it. On the way out through the porch Nigel paused to dip the font and bless himself.

More on the ‘Portrait’ when I’ve re-read it.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Partial Eclipse

Today there was a darkness on the face of the earth. We had a partial eclipse. I was glad when it was over. The greenish dusk that came on from 9A.M. was unpleasant and unlike the natural sinking of the sun. I could easily imagine the eerie power of such fading, without definite extinguishment, on the men working on the Newgrange job. Sacrifices would have to be made and permission to continue sought. Elders that had seen the big one would be consulted, then the work would go on.

In the unprecedented cloudy conditions of this morning there was not perfect viewing but I had an occasional glimpse of the bite. The flares that rise from the surface of the sun were not apparent. A robin thinking it was bed time rested in the fuchsia bush.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Homo Habilis: Improved Buck Saw

What’s improved about that bucksaw? I added a handle to the frame which allows the saw to be presented to the wood at a flat angle instead of the steep one which is inevitable if you grasp the frame. Due to the aggressive nature and extreme sharpness of the peg teeth presented like that there is a tendency of the saw to grab, bounce out of the cut and spoil your tattoos. The handle made out of the same stock (white oak) 1.75"x.75 as the frame is attached with two biscuits. You could also cut a slot in some square stock to fit over the frame and secured in a shallow channel on both sides. The throat of the saw is 8ins. and it weighs 2lbs. Blade length is 24ins. The weight means that you just have to move it back and forward for it to cut in both directions without the need for downward pressure. Very fast and comfortable in use. No bouncey.

Note the curved shoulder of the mortice and tenon which allows the windlass to tension the blade fully. The tenon has rounded ends.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Will and Shall

Eric Winsberg is puzzled:
I should

I've been watching a few episodes of the BBC drama series "Foyle's War." Its a decent show, but what interests me right now is just an expression that the main character, Christopher Foyle, often uses that I had never heard before. It works like this: someone will ask him if he thinks that they ought to ____, or if he wants them to ____, and he replies "I should!"
For example "Do you want me ask all the jewelery stores in town if they've seen this necklace before?"; "I should!" or "Do you think I should check the oil in my car?"; "I should!".

Even Joseph Conrad didn’t quite get the difference between ‘will’ and ‘shall’. In a nutshell ‘will’ is optative or within the boundary of your own personal wishes; ‘should’ is normative; you are subjecting yourself to a situation or force outside yourself. Foyle as a good cop is prescinding from the personal and allowing the force of external circumstances to dictate his actions. The state of the car is the important factor as is the memory of a particular necklace. He responds to those external forces. Foyle is a righteous man.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington

When did American novels start to get bloated? Contrary to life on the physical plane they took to jogging, it may have been in the 50‘s and the narrative energy was dissipated. The English episodic novels are also long yet the need for a hook at the end of each instalment keeps the thing moving forward. Alice Adams published in 1921 and Pulitzer Winner in 1922 has a plot that could be written on the back of an envelope but is not without its strange deeps. Booth Tarkington wrote against his own moneyed class, their assumptions and their modes of control and exclusion. Alice Adams daughter of a chief clerk in the firm of Lamb and Sons is an outsider but is refusing to accept her fate. I see the key to her predicament in the concluding paragraph to Chapter VII which sums up the debacle of a dance at the house of Mildred Palmer:

She had learned it during the last two years; she was twenty when for the first time she had the shock of finding herself without an applicant for one of her dances. When she was sixteen "all the nice boys in town," as her mother said, crowded the Adamses' small veranda and steps, or sat near by, cross-legged on the lawn, on summer evenings; and at eighteen she had replaced the boys with "the older men." By this time most of "the other girls," her contemporaries, were away at school or college, and when they came home to stay, they "came out"—that feeble revival of an ancient custom offering the maiden to the ceremonial inspection of the tribe. Alice neither went away nor "came out," and, in contrast with those who did, she may have seemed to lack freshness of lustre—jewels are richest when revealed all new in a white velvet box. And Alice may have been too eager to secure new retainers, too kind in her efforts to keep the old ones. She had been a belle too soon.

Alice in her teens being vivacious and pretty was popular enough to overcome the deficiencies of her place on the social ladder but later, help me Margaret Mead, the rules of association turned her into a hanger on. Mildred Palmer and Henrietta Lamb are 'snippy’ with her. Great word that for verbal cutting off and dismissal. Alice’s mother is a social realist who realises that their relative lack of means puts a brilliant match out of reach even with long arms. She has a plan for the enrichment of the family. Virgil the Daddy years before under the direction of old Lamb researched and developed a glue. His associate in this venture was a chemist that died without issue and therefore the unpatented secret formula can she thinks be produced in a factory of Virgil’s own to enrich them. Come unstuck, sticky end - we don’t wish to know that, kindly leave the stage. At this point Mr. Adams is sick at home, unspecified man vapours, but that does not prevent Mrs. from bringing on the glue plan to harry him, poor devil. He knows that using the secret formula without clearance from Lamb is sharp practice. He has misgivings but the rationalisation occurs to him that after all he has improved the formula since then and anyway Lamb is not very interested in doing anything with the process. Lamb is introduced to us when he calls on the Adamses to see how Virgil is getting over his illness.

The fine old gentleman revealed when she opened the door was probably the last great merchant in America to wear the chin beard. White as white frost, it was trimmed short with exquisite precision, while his upper lip and the lower expanses of his cheeks were clean and rosy from fresh shaving. With this trim white chin beard, the white waistcoat, the white tie, the suit of fine gray cloth, the broad and brilliantly polished black shoes, and the wide-brimmed gray felt hat, here was a man who had found his style in the seventies of the last century, and thenceforth kept it. Files of old magazines of that period might show him, in woodcut, as, "Type of Boston Merchant"; Nast might have drawn him as an honest statesman. He was eighty, hale and sturdy, not aged; and his quick blue eyes, still unflecked, and as brisk as a boy's, saw everything.
I believe we are in the presence of that sort of flinty benign despot that we met in The Last Puritan by George Santayana. Hard but fair and a twinkler not to be bested.

A newcomer in town, a rich young man, Arthur Russell, who danced with Alice at Mildred’s house has become fascinated with her and there begins a courtship which is on the verge of an engagement to marry. A coarse analysis of the novel would place our heroine as a social climber which I believe is harsh and not the central intent of the author. Alice knows that her brilliant years are over but a good match with a man that she likes is about to happen. Then it all comes apart and here I think the assurance of the authorial voice may be misplaced.

After any stroke of events, whether a happy one or a catastrophe, we see that the materials for it were a long time gathering, and the only marvel is that the stroke was not prophesied. What bore the air of fatal coincidence may remain fatal indeed, to this later view; but, with the haphazard aspect dispelled, there is left for scrutiny the same ancient hint from the Infinite to the effect that since events have never yet failed to be law-abiding, perhaps it were well for us to deduce that they will continue to be so until further notice.

Russell is dining at the house of Mildred Palmer who fancies him and to her chagrin has discovered that Alice is winning him over. The way in which the conversation comes round to Virgil Adams and the glue factory he is setting up could be egregious leverage or authorial misprision as it were. Arthur hasn’t been in their house for a long time. They know that their daughter would marry him if asked, he is a suitable victim. How would they know about Alice and her manouvers? The Irish answer, they’d know less is apposite.

Mr. Palmer, mildly amused by what he was telling his wife, had just spoken the words, "this Virgil Adams." What he had said was, "this Virgil Adams—that's the man's name. Queer case."

"Who told you?" Mrs. Palmer inquired, not much interested.

"Alfred Lamb," her husband answered. "He was laughing about his father, at the club. You see the old gentleman takes a great pride in his judgment of men, and always boasted to his sons that he'd never in his life made a mistake in trusting the wrong man. Now Alfred and James Albert, Junior, think they have a great joke on him; and they've twitted him so much about it he'll scarcely speak to them. From the first, Alfred says, the old chap's only repartee was, 'You wait and you'll see!' And they've asked him so often to show them what they're going to see that he won't say anything at all!"

"He's a funny old fellow," Mrs. Palmer observed. "But he's so shrewd I can't imagine his being deceived for such a long time. Twenty years, you said?"

"Yes, longer than that, I understand. It appears when this man—this Adams—was a young clerk, the old gentleman trusted him with one of his business secrets, a glue process that Mr. Lamb had spent some money to get hold of. The old chap thought this Adams was going to have quite a future with the Lamb concern, and of course never dreamed he was dishonest. Alfred says this Adams hasn't been of any real use for years, and they should have let him go as dead wood, but the old gentleman wouldn't hear of it and insisted on his being kept on the payroll; so they just decided to look on it as a sort of pension. Well, one morning last March the man had an attack of some sort down there, and Mr. Lamb got his own car out and went home with him, himself, and worried about him and went to see him no end, all the time he was ill."

"He would," Mrs. Palmer said, approvingly. "He's a kind-hearted creature, that old man."

Her husband laughed. "Alfred says he thinks his kind-heartedness is about cured! It seems that as soon as the man got well again he deliberately walked off with the old gentleman's glue secret. Just calmly stole it! Alfred says he believes that if he had a stroke in the office now, himself, his father wouldn't lift a finger to help him!"

Mrs. Palmer repeated the name to herself thoughtfully. "'Adams'—'Virgil Adams.' You said his name was Virgil Adams?"


She looked at her daughter. "Why, you know who that is, Mildred," she said, casually. "It's that Alice Adams's father, isn't it? Wasn't his name Virgil Adams?"

"I think it is," Mildred said.

Mrs. Palmer turned toward her husband. "You've seen this Alice Adams here. Mr. Lamb's pet swindler must be her father."

Mr. Palmer passed a smooth hand over his neat gray hair, which was not disturbed by this effort to stimulate recollection. "Oh, yes," he said. "Of course—certainly. Quite a good-looking girl—one of Mildred's friends. How queer!"

They know their Arthur. Good book. What Alice does next shows her mettle.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Arthapatti not Abduction

I see that Elisa Freschi resists the idea that arthapatti is inference to the best explanation.
not I.B.E.
That I think is correct because arthapatti in traditional examples is if anything inference to the only explanation, that is to say the only explanation that will answer in the court of common sense. Plump Devadatta may be a great yogi who is taking his prana directly from sunlight without the necessity of the vulgar medium of food. Of course he could also be a shape shifting alien. ‘The best explanation’ implies a selection but in that pramana you have a simple switch and a reliable result. It may be the ‘atom’ out of which ‘molecular’ abduction is built. Arthapatti is simple and the data which I.B.E. seeks to explain is complex.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Arthatpatti// Language goes on holiday

Elisa Freschi was discussing the pramana (means of valid knowledge) arthapatti
It has been variously translated as ‘postulation’ and ‘presumption’. One commentor ‘Bama’ preferred ‘presumption’. Elisa offered a palette of terms including ‘cogent evidence’. This led me to thinking - maybe arthapatti is too simple for words.

My first bit of philosophical semaphore was:
We know how arthapatti works. It’s a bit like a switch where there is disjunction between the two values, on/off, true/false, yes/no. Plump Devadatta does not eat during the daylight hours therefore he must be eating at night. If one state is known i.e. alive and not at home then the other state is immediately know i.e. outside the home somewhere. Postulation does not apply. Postulation may be shown to be correct or it may be impossible to show whether or not it is. Think of Hig’s Boson and Kant’s Transcendental Postulate. We are attempting to reach towards a picture of how things must fundamentally be for things to appear as they do. Arthapatti is not tentative in any sense.

I can see where ‘assumption’ or ‘presumption’ may not be a perfect fit for what arthapatti does. There is no ‘before’ for arthapatti, there is no ‘after’ for arthapatti. Implication doesn’t fit. Knowing that plump Devadatta is fasting during the day is knowing that he eats at night. Implications have to be worked out so this is not one. Arthapatti has a bi-polar nature. It is basic and irreducible.

to which I added as an afterthought:
I wrote the following paragraph before I read your response. There is a general difficulty in the explanation of basic powers. Ostensive definition has the problem of knowing what it is you are pointing at. (I admit to being an unreconstricted Wittgensteinian)

If I might add. Even if the Sanskrit has the sense of apatti – artha then it too is explaining the simple in terms of the more complex and that cannot be a good explanation. Here as Wittgenstein wrote – ‘my spade turns’. If the complex has the simple embedded in it then circularity ensues. Simply by having a human mind you get ‘switches’ in the ‘kit’.

The ‘ostensive definition’ entry in the index to Philosophical Investigations is worth looking at. Here the well known ‘logos’ occurs (38)
For philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday.

Language has stopped doing what it normally does when it tries to express something that is too simple for language. Switch then may express the cybernetic aspect of arthapatti, or what in Advaita is called the inert nature of mind, its mechanical quality.

Connected with this cybernetic notion in my understanding of it is the counterpositive pratiyoga concept. Broadly speaking the illusory is founded on there being an actual reality. It works like figure and ground and it is again a mechanical thing. The counterpositiveness.......abiding in the illusory silver, is characterised by conventional reality(from Vedanta Paribhasa on Perception)

You haven’t heard the last of this.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Of the Feeling of Immortality in Youth by William Hazlitt / Two Versions Compared

I read in a biography of William Hazlitt that his practice, once fortified with stewed tea, was to take so many sheets of paper, fold them into a booklet that filled would be of essay length for whatever periodical he had in mind and setting to would write steadily without emendation until the job was done. Geoffrey Keynes in Selected Essays (pub.1930) follows Hazlitt’s final editing as the definitive version and I became aware of variants purely by chance as I looked up the famous essay On the Feeling of Immortality in Youth. The difference between the essay as given in Twenty-Two Essays of Wm. Hazlitt (selected by Arthur Beatty) pub.1920 and that of Keynes’ collection published to mark the centenary of his death is quite marked. Gutenberg Project has this final version in the collection of Hazlitt’s son Winterslow -Essays and Characters written there (pub.1850).

New improved Hazlitt seems ironic scoffing but in an observation about the willingness of youth to pore over what fascinates, his method is clarified.

A wrinkle in Rembrandt or in Nature takes whole days to resolve itself into its component parts, its softenings and its sharpnesses; we refine upon our perfections, and unfold the intricacies of nature. What a prospect for the future! What a task have we not begun! And shall we be arrested in the middle of it? We do not count our time thus employed lost, or our pains thrown away; we do not flag or grow tired, but gain new vigour at our endless task. 

You start with a detail, some characteristic quirk and from that a cosmos grows under your hand. You are always in the middle of it.

In the earlier version
though still excellent of course discursive diffusion predominates:

I remember to have looked at a print of Rembrandt for hours together, without being conscious of the flight of time, trying to resolve it into its component parts, to connect its strong and sharp gradations, to learn the secret of its reflected lights, and found neither satiety nor pause in the prosecution of my studies. The print over which I was poring would last long enough; why should the idea in my mind, which was finer, more impalpable, perish before it? At this, I redoubled the ardour of my pursuit, and by the very subtlety and refinement of my inquiries, seemed to bespeak for them an exemption from corruption and the rude grasp of Death.

His hopes for a general 'French Revolution’:
For my part, I started in life with the French Revolution, and I have lived, alas! to see the end of it. But I did not foresee this result. My sun arose with the first dawn of liberty, and I did not think how soon both must set. The new impulse to ardour given to men’s minds imparted a congenial warmth and glow to mine; we were strong to run a race together, and I little dreamed that long before mine was set, the sun of liberty would turn to blood, or set once more in the night of despotism. Since then, I confess, I have no longer felt myself young, for with that my hopes fell.

For my part, I set out in life with the French Revolution, and that event had considerable influence on my early feelings, as on those of others. Youth was then doubly such. It was the dawn of a new era, a new impulse had been given to men's minds, and the sun of Liberty rose upon the sun of Life in the same day, and both were proud to run their race together. Little did I dream, while my first hopes and wishes went hand in hand with those of the human race, that long before my eyes should close, that dawn would be overcast, and set once more in the night of despotism--"total eclipse!" Happy that I did not. I felt for years, and during the best part of my existence, heart-whole in that cause, and triumphed in the triumphs over the enemies of man! At that time, while the fairest aspirations of the human mind seemed about to be realized, ere the image of man was defaced and his breast mangled in scorn, philosophy took a higher, poetry could afford a deeper range.

I get the feeling there of a Times leader, ‘considerable influence’, ‘dawn of a new era’, dawn overcast/night of despotism - total eclipse’. Could do better, did do better. Even if we count the number of jumpers that Madame Dafarge knitted this was his feeling. The one is as brisk as the descent of the skewed blade, the other hacks.