Mirror of Literature,  8 (1826), 57–58.

The Sage and the Schoolboy: A Contrasted Soliloquy





Reading, Controversy, Instinct, Physiological Psychology, Botany, Education

    The writer presents two contrasting soliloquies written as if by a scholar of sixty-five and a schoolboy of sixteen. The former declares himself bewildered by the contradictory statements and speculative theories of various writers. He observes: 'I am perfectly versed [...] in the routine of science, but all my theory avails not as explanatory of causes and their effects in many of the commonest circumstances and natural productions. How shall I draw the line between the boasted prerogative of man (reason) and the instinct of the animal creation? will books enable me to trace the operations of the mind upon the body? or how seeds grow up into plants?' (57).

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