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NOTES TO PART I.
Note (a) — page 17.
“God said— Let there be Light, and forth it shone.”. “ Let there be Light !” This sublime passage being quoted from the Mosaic description of the Creation, it is quite unnecessary to assail the judgment of any intellectual being, belonging to a civilized country, with any comment, further than drawing their especial attention to its divine beauty, and particularly to this portion, which calls so powerfully into existence the inestimable blessing of Light, the charm of which is less known to those who possess it, than the absence of it is painfully felt by those for ever shut out from its glory. This passage has always been viewed as one of great beauty, and has also been long and eloquently known through the transcendant musical composition of the inspired Haydn-“Darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and God said, “Let there be Light !—and there was Light.””
Note (b) – page 18.
“How radiant was the youthful sun-beam then,
Tho' yet unsmiled on by the eyes of men."
may here remark that Light was the first act of God, when he premeditated the order of the Creation; another proof of its unspeakable value. But this light is not then said to consist of sun, moon, and stars; we find it does not assume that order until the fourth day: however, it was created, and the different orbs appointed their proper stations, previous to the formation of man. These remarks, of course, have no reference to any speculative theory given by Geologists—a modern science now becoming so very popular.
Note (c) — page 20.
“ Found the blanch'd eye-ball, and in dire despair,
Took up his sad, unchangeable abode .!”' At the fifth meeting of the “Indigent Blind visiting Society," held in Exeter Hall, London, May 1839,-The noble chairman The Right Honourable Lord Ashley, said “Of all the privations to which man was subjected, he knew of none so dreadful as the privation of sight, except, perhaps, that of alienated understanding. It was therefore their duty to do all that could alleviate this most dreadful suffering, to which so many of our fellow-creatures were subjected.”
Note (d) - Page 22.
“ Celestial music! ess ce of the spheres !
Distilld from Heaven to ravish mortal ears."
What passions cannot music produce! It softens to love, it excites to battle!
“ The man that hath not music in his soul,
And is not moved with concord of sweet sounds
SHAKSPEARE. The notion and understanding which the Blind have of music is far more acute than ours; and I have seen the wonderful Paganini and other great performers on the violin, actually close their eyes when they were playing the pathetic or piano part of a piece, that the whole soul might be engaged in the effort. The same thing may be often observed in great vocalists.
While in Dublin, in visiting many of the blind harpers, in company
friend James Harris, Esq. of Parliament Street, we both discovered that those who played best even shut those eyelids, through which no light at any time could pass—as if to call the wandering imagination from any idea foreign to the strain, which was afterwards explained similarly to us by themselves.
Note (e) — page 23. “ The ear of Blindness is a Second Sight." There is a gentleman calls at Mr. Z.T. Purday's, musicseller, London, who can positively tell, from the sound of the voice, any man's complexion, age and stoutness. We all know how easy it is for us to tell the size of a carriage and almost its build, on hearing it pass ; so do we know the foot of a friend for whom we are waiting, as described so beautifully in that truly original song—“There's nae luck about the house".
“ His very foot has music in't
When he comes up the stair.” No wonder, then, that the ear of the Blind should be so acute.
Note (f) - page 25.
“ But found his soul too bright, and dash'd thy sceptre by!”
“ Milton's intense application to study had brought on an affection of the eyes, which at last ended in total blindness. His intellectual powers, however, suffered no eclipse, as he afterwards pursued both his official and poetical occupations." —Dr. Aikin's Preface to the British Poets.
“ And young and princely hearts have join'd the throng,
Who all the anguish which thou can'st bestow-
Prince George, of Cambridge, son of Ernest First, King of Hanover, and heir hereditary to that throne, has long been blind, and has suffered many severe operations, which, however, have only been partial in their success. The Duke of Sussex has also suffered much, but a late operation has considerably relieved him.
“ Great Saul, our Saviour's persecuting foe!
When warn’d by Heaven, his Roman soul did melt,
“As Saul journeyed, he approached Damascus, and suddenly there shone round him a light from Heaven : And he fell to the earth and heard a voice saying unto him-Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord ? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest ! And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a noise, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth, and they led him by the hand into Damascus, and he was THREE DAYS WITHOUT SIGHT, and neither did eat nor drink.” Acts, chap. ix.
Note (h) - page 26.
“Such pity show'd our Saviour for the Blind,
That while the Jews,-fired with one base intent,
“ And as Jesus passed, he saw a man, who was blind from his birth, and he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittal, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said, Go wash in the pool of Sent. He went his way, therefore, and came seeing." St. John, chap. ix.