Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/700

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that intellectual greatness is "beset with mental and moral infirmity," or that genius is merely an expression of a morbid mind, akin to madness.

Imagination gives to genius—which is the intellectual scout of progress, and the Titan force which organizes the factors of civilization—a realm wherein the soul throbs and burns with the fervor which comes only when a new truth cleaves the darkness and illumines a pathway hitherto unrevealed; and where the clash and turmoil of cerebral action excite the highest pleasure, though at the same time they often weary and exhaust.

In this century, when the fierce blaze of modern thought has filled the world with unparalleled glory, and the inventive genius of man has made the earth a vast workshop of industrial arts, wherein the human brain is "master-workman" over all, how rare is it that the brain-worker feels the oppression of a "mind diseased," except when, like the wage-worker, he frets and worries under the burdens of a weary life, and falls by the wayside because the struggle for existence—keen, sharp, and relentless—has taken from him the inspiration, the strength of hope!

Mental stagnation, personal or domestic sorrow, social inthrallment, religious excitement, crushed hopes, and poverty, are the chief moral causes which contribute so largely to the mental infirmities of man.

In conclusion, I hesitate not to say that the most illustrious names of ancient or modern times—in all departments of human thought or activity—have been, with but few exceptions, loyal to the sovereign rule of sane reason; and the sweep of their imagination has been in curves which rounded in the bright empyrean of truth and beauty.



IF we examine the bright bow of Iris painted on the heavens by the sunbeams that break through the parting storm-clouds, no matter how closely we may scan it, we shall not be able to determine where the colors begin or end. As in this arch the blue gradually passes over into a green, and the green in turn changes insensibly into a yellow, even thus we find, in the countless forms in which Nature delights, the most delicate gradations, the most gradual transitions. Natura non facit saltus: this saying of Linné's is realized everywhere in the ever-changeful realm of life.

How difficult a matter it is to decide whether the lung-fish of Brazil and Senegambia belong to the amphibia or to the fishes, which in other instances are known to always breathe by their gills! In the rainless season of the year the swamps, the homes of these animals, dry