Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/231

This page has been validated.
219
ON BRAIN-FORCING.

he may have any measure of each of these states in various proportions.

Goethe, whose life and character are so well known to us, seems to have possessed all these faculties in marvelous combination. His insight or brain quality was vast and penetrating; his stores of nervous energy were inexhaustible, burning with steadfast heat or flaming in passion; his faculties were infinite in variety, and they were under a control rarely in the world's history known to have harmonized endowments so manifold and so potent. To take in like manner a few more names by way of illustration, we may consider Lord Byron as one in whom quality and tension of nervous force were more remarkable than quantity, though this in him was not inconsiderable, and in whom variety was less manifest and control defective. Schiller, again, had high quality, tension, and control, but was defective in endurance and in variety. In Keats we recognize quality, tension, and variety, in high degrees; control in less measure, and quantity in defect. His brain, inconstant in current, was worn out ere it was built up. Macaulay was, if the word be permitted to me, a remarkable "all-round" man, and presented an equable development of quality, quantity, tension, variety, and control, though of course he is not to be compared to the former examples in quality. Brougham had still less quality, but quantity in overflow and at high tension. Sir James Simpson, again, always seemed to me a good instance of a man lacking the higher complexities of brain, but abounding in mental force at high tension. In him also variety was striking, more striking than control. One of the most vivid instances of nervous energy at high tension to be found in modern history is perhaps Admiral Korniloff, as described by Mr. Kinglake, in the fourth volume of the cabinet edition of his "History of the Crimean War" (page 108). He says of Korniloff:

"It can hardly be shown that this chief was gifted with original genius, still less with piercing intellect; nor was Korniloff to be called precisely an enthusiast. Our knowledge of Korniloff must rest upon a perception of what people did when they felt the impulsion he gave. At a time when there seemed to be room but for despair and confusion, he took that ascendant which enabled him to bring the whole people in this place—inhabitants, soldiers, sailors—to his own heroic resolve. In a garrison town of an empire which had carried the mania of military organization to the most preposterous lengths, all those straitened notions of rank and seniority, and, in short, the whole network of the formalisms which might have been expected to hinder his command, flew away like chaff at the winnowing. By the fire of his spirit there was roused so great an energy on the part of thousands of men as has hardly been known in these times; and he so put his people in heart, that not only the depression created by defeat, but the sense of being abandoned and left for sacrifice by the evading army, was succeeded by a quick growth of warlike pride, by a wholesome ardor for the fight, by an orderly, joyous activity."

We may compare with this the description by the same fine hand of General Todleben, in whom quality and quantity of brain, variety of