I am reading

Draft of 2005.10.05 ☛ 2015.03.27

May include: readings&c.

Name these books. You may use the Distributed Proofreaders system to cheat. They’re all P1 projects. [more to be added as I work through the pages]

…and à fortiori, all the other contents of the mind, are innate. Or, to state the matter in accordance with the views previously expounded, that they are products of the inherent properties of the thinking organ, in which they lie potentially, before they are called into existence by their appropriate causes.

But if all the contents of the mind are innate, what is meant by experience?

It is the conversion, by unknown causes, of these innate potentialities into actual existences. The organ of thought, prior to experience, may be compared to an untouched piano, in which it may be properly said that music is innate, inasmuch as its mechanism contains, potentially, so many octaves of musical notes. The unknown cause of sensation which Descartes calls the “je ne sais quoi dans les objets” or “choses telles qu’elles sont,” and Kant the “Noumenon” or “Ding an sich,” is represented by the musician; who, by touching the keys, converts the potentiality of the mechanism into actual sounds. A note so produced is the equivalent of a single experience.

All the melodies and harmonies that proceed from the piano depend upon the action of the musician upon the keys. There is no internal mechanism which, when certain keys are struck, gives rise to an accompaniment of which the musician is only indirectly the cause. According to Descartes, however–and this is what is generally fixed upon as the essence of his doctrine of innate ideas–the mind possesses such an internal mechanism, by which certain classes of thoughts are generated, on the occasion of certain experiences. Such thoughts are innate, just as sensations are innate; they are not copies of sensations, any more than sensations…

Well, that was easy. Try this:

A London reviewer speaking of the first number, says, “the idea is excellent, and the twelve vocal airs which this first number of the work contains, are tastefully arrayed by sir John Stevenson, and happily provided with language by Mr. Moore.

“We are happy (continues the reviewer) to find that even where Mr. Moore’s subject is amatory, his poetry is very little in the style of those baneful effusions which are undergoing so rigorous an examination. His verse is here fanciful and gentlemanly, full of his subject, and, as far as our English souls can judge, faithfully expressing it. Nothing can be more pathetic than “Oh! breathe not his name;” nothing more brilliant than “Fly not yet, ‘tis just the hour;” and nothing more poetical than “As a beam o’er the face of the waters may glow.” We must be indulged in quoting one of those effusions of Mr. Moore’s genius; and we can find none more elegant or natural than the following:


Oh! think not my spirits are always as light,
And as free from a pang as they seem to you now,
Nor expect that the heart-beaming smile of tonight,
Will return with tomorrow to brighten my brow.

No, Life is a waste of wearisome flowers,
Which seldom the rose of enjoyment adorns;
And the heart that is soonest awake to the flowers,
Is always the first to be touch’d by the thorns.

But send round the bowl, and be happy awhile;
May we never meet worse in our pilgrimage here
Than the tear that Enjoyment can gild with a smile,
And the smile that Compassion can turn to a tear.

The thread of our life would be dark, heaven knows!
If it were not with friendship and love intertwined;
And I care not how soon I may sink to repose,
When these blessings shall cease to be dear to my mind!

You’ll have a very hard time with that one, even with Google….


…heroic fireman descending from the burning chamber, with a beautiful child clasped in his arms, which he has rescued from the raging element. Kneeling on the step outside of the door are the parents of the child; their hands are clasped and raised upward, their eyes fixed on the doorway, countenance expressing intense excitement. Two firemen in the foreground are seen holding a hose pipe and hose; two others, at the extreme end of the stage, are screwing the other end of the hose to a hydrant; another stands ready with an axe to break in the windows. The captain’s position is on the step of the house; he holds a trumpet in his hand, and is giving orders to his men. The firemen should be dressed in full uniform, the mother in white, and hair hanging loose over the shoulders; the father’s costume should be dark, and the child dressed in a long white robe. The scenery of this piece consists of a frame the width of the stage, and rising from the floor to the ceiling, painted to represent brick, with mouldings, frame, cornice, &c. A door may be placed in the centre, and a window on each side. The stairs should be as wide as the door, and run up five feet, and covered with carpeting; fire and smoke must be painted as coming from the windows. A red fire burned behind the back scene will light it up with fine effect. The light for the front of the picture should be of medium brightness, and come from the side of the stage. Fire bells can be imitated in the ante-rooms. …

And also:



Unless artesian irrigation is introduced extensively in the central part of both Dakotas, their future, unlike their skies, will be heavily clouded. True, the valley of the Sioux, a strip about seventy-five miles wide from the eastern border, of which Sioux Falls is the chief city, and the valley of the lower Missouri about the same extent south of this, of which Yankton is the metropolis, have never had a crop failure. Also, the Red River Valley in North Dakota, about ten thousand square miles, which contains the famous Dalrymple farm and produces the best wheat in the world, has the same unblemished record as an agricultural area. But these fertile and fortunate sections suffer from the general effect on the country of the drouths in the Jim Valley adjacent, which have been severe for four years and are increasing in severity. In the James or Jim Valley, as it is generally called, the year 1887 showed a partial crop failure, 1888 a little more, 1889 and 1890, a total loss.

Of course, every country is liable to crop failure at times, and must be till man makes his own weather, which will, no doubt, some day be done to an extent now unguessed. Nor is the record of three grievous years out of ten in the agricultural history of a section so very bad, except just in the way it has happened here, with a continuous and cumulative effect. But the central Dakotans have been disheartened, and the cumulative and often, perhaps, exaggerative, reports of their condition spread over the country have checked immigration into the States for the past two years, and thus retarded the growth of the fortunate valleys.

This deplorable condition lately attracted the attention of a young Yale graduate, who is editing an evening paper in Sioux Falls, and he began to collect the views of experts on the question of artesian irrigation. …

And from a novel you cannot have read before:



Jacobi was come: Gabriele complained jestingly to her mother, “that the brother-in-law-elect had almost overturned her, the little sister-in-law-elect, in order to fly to his Louise.”

Louise received Jacobi with more than customary cordiality; so did the whole family. That which Jacobi had lost in worldly wealth he seemed to have won in the esteem and love of his friends; and it was the secret desire of all to indemnify him, as it were, for the loss of the parsonage. Jacobi on this subject had also his own peculiar views; and after he had refreshed himself both with the earthly and the “angels’ food,” which Louise served up to him in abundance, and after he had had a conference of probably three hours’ length with her, the result of the same was laid before the parents, who looked on the new views thus opened to them not without surprise and disquiet.

It was Jacobi’s wish and intention now immediately to celebrate his marriage with Louise, and afterwards to go to Stockholm, where he thought of commencing a school for boys. To those who knew that all Jacobi’s savings amounted to a very inconsiderable capital; that his yearly income was only fifty crowns; that he had displeased his only influential patron; that his bride brought him no dowry; and thus, that he had nothing on which to calculate excepting his own ability to work–to all those then who knew thus much, this sudden establishment had some resemblance to one of those romances with their “diner de man cœur, et souper de mon âme,” which is considered in our days to be so infinitely insipid.

But Jacobi, who had already arranged and well considered his plans, laid them with decision and candour before the parents, and besought their consent that he might as soon as possible be able to call Louise his wife. Elise gasped for breath; the Judge made sundry objections, but for every one of these Jacobi had a reasonable and well-devised refutation.

“Are Jacobi’s plans yours also, Louise?” asked the Judge, after a momentary silence; “are you both agreed?” …

Here’s one with licentiousness!

…prevalent obstacle, you will leave any common business to do this, and I shall hope to see you this evening as late as you will, or to-morrow morning as early, before this winter flower is faded.” Swift’s comment, on hearing the news, gives the only consolation which Pope could have felt. “She died in extreme old age,” he writes, “without pain, under the care of the most dutiful son I have ever known or heard of, which is a felicity not happening to one in a million.” And with her death, its most touching and ennobling influence faded from Pope’s life. There is no particular merit in loving a mother, but few biographies give a more striking proof that the loving discharge of a common duty may give a charm to a whole character. It is melancholy to add that we often have to appeal to this part of his story, to assure ourselves that Pope was really deserving of some affection.

The part of Pope’s history which naturally follows brings us again to the region of unsolved mysteries. The one prescription which a spiritual physician would have suggested in Pope’s case would have been the love of a good and sensible woman. A nature so capable of tender feeling and so essentially dependent upon others, might have been at once soothed and supported by a happy domestic life; though it must be admitted that it would have required no common qualifications in a wife to calm so irritable and jealous a spirit. Pope was unfortunate in his surroundings. The bachelor society of that day, not only the society of the Wycherleys and Cromwells, but the more virtuous society of Addison and his friends, was certainly not remarkable for any exalted tone about women. Bolingbroke, Peterborough, and Bathurst, Pope’s most admired friends, were all more or less flagrantly licentious; and Swift’s mysterious story shows…

My hovercraft is full of eels….

The English are more studious than their neighbours.
Inglése studióso __vicino.

Milton was much more learned than Dante.
Milton éssere dotto Dante.

The Russians behaved more bravely than the Turks.
Russo comportársi valorosaménte Turco.

Cicero was less happy than Diogenes.
Ciceróne felíce Diógene.

Lewis the Fourteenth was much less admired than
Luígi décimo quarto ammiraré

Henry the Fourth.
Enríco quarto.

London is far better paved than Paris.
Londra lastricáre Parígi.

Venice is much less populous than Naples.
Venézia popoláto Nápoli.

Lend me three thousand pounds for a month.
prestáre tre[a] mila lira per mese.

I have inherited five hundred guineas a year.
avére ereditáre cinque cento ghinea anno.

I have seven brothers and two sisters alive.
sette fratéllo due sorélla vivo.

The tenth of next month I will pay you.
diéci próssimo mese pagáre.

Judas was one of the twelve apostles.
Giúda éssere dódici apóstolo.

William the Third was a great conqueror.
Gugliélmo[b] terzo éssere grande conquistatóre.

Henry the Fourth of France was a matchless warrior.
Enríco quarto di Francia incomparábile guerriêro.

Pope Sixtus the Fifth was a great man.
Papa Sisto quinto grande uómo.

Your master has a fine country-house.
padróne avere[c] bello villa.

Your brother has six fine dapple-bay horses.
fratello sei bello bajo pomelláto cavállo.

Your uncle and aunt are my dear friends.
zio zia éssere caro amíco.

[a] Nouns of number ought to be put before the substantive.
[b] Nouns of order must be after the substantive, when we speak of ecclesiastical, or secular princes.
[c] Adjectives of quality must be put before substantives.

These are all, by the way, books that I scanned myself. And typically I read five pages a day, give or take, which occupies me during 20 minutes. Tops.

You could do it, too. It’s fun.