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clusive, exhibiting in general but a partial | Mackintosh, have been pretty closely scrutiview of any question, and upon which an nized by former critics : both poets, Beattie immoderate emphasis is laid. Truth lies and Gray. In Forbes's Life of Beattie we between the extremes of opposite theories. read this criticism: “ Plato was one of the Thus, men are both self-lovers and benevo- first who introduced the fashion of giving us lent, selfishness and disinterestedness be- fine words instead of good sense; in this, as ing both of them original instincts. It is in his other faults, he has been successfully untrue to predicate of either of these prin- imitated by Lord Shaftesbury." Grar ciples, that they alone govern society. The writes with equal severity: “You say you dignity of human nature is to be cherished, cannot conceive how Lord Shaftesbury came while we must confess that imperfection is to be a philosopher in vogue. I will tell germain to the constitution of man. We you: first, he was a Lord; secondly, he was should endeavor to preserve what is good in as vain as any of his readers; thirdly, men human nature, endeavoring at the same are very prone to believe what they do not time to elevate and purify it.
understand; fourthly, they will not believe Extreme characters are unfair illustrations any thing at all, provided they are under of any doctrine, as much so as any extrava- no obligation to believe it; fifthly, they love gant doctrine is of sound philosophy itself. to take a new road, even when that road A mere politician is no proper specimen of leads nowhere; sixthly, he was reckoned a human nature, any more than a mere talk- fine writer, and seemed always to mean ing philanthropist.
more than he said. Would you have any
more reasons ? An interval of above fortr In a letter of Archbishop Herring, (the years has pretty well destroyed the charm. only Archbishop we can at present remem- A dead Lord ranks with commoners; vanity ber, who was at the same time a pleasant is no longer interested in the matter, for å and elegant prose writer,) to his friend Mrs. new road has become an old one." Duncombe, occurs the following admirable If after such men we may presume to sentiment, and the justest criticism on the add our opinion, it is perfectly in harmony rational school of morality, i. l., that which with theirs. The works of Lord Shaftsbury based the foundations of morality on rea- appear to us a refectory of ethical topics, in son, and at the head of which stood Dr. which too many points and questions are Samuel Clarke: “The reasonableness of vir- comprehended under single heads, by no tue is its true foundation, and the Creator means sufficiently distinct and separate, full has formed our minds to such a quick per- of commonplace, dressed up affectedly in ception of it, that it is in almost every stale metaphors and the cast-off imagery of occurrence of human life self-evident; but the Platonists. He is absurdly verbose and then I am for taking in every possible help magniloquent. His egotism is awkward, to strengthen and support virtue, beauty, his circumlocutions clumsy, his pleasantry moral sense, affection, and even interest; and pompous. His style is in general heavy it seems to me as if the Creator had adapted and languid, the style of a nobleman turned various arguments to secure the practice of metaphysician. He is truly a philosophical it to the various tempers of men, and the petit maître, infected with the vilest pedandifferent solicitations which they meet with. try and the French taste in criticism current And virtue thus secured and guarded may in his day. perhaps not unfitly be compared to those buildings of a Gothic taste, which, though Gray's character of Aristotle appears to us they have a good foundation, are furnished, even more just and better written than his nevertheless, (against all accidents,) with portrait of Shaftesbury. As we have given many outward supports or buttresses, but Beattie's opinion of Plato, we may subjoin so contrived and adjusted by the architect, the following: "For my part, I read Aristhat they do not detract from, but even add totle, his poetics, politics, and morals, though to the beauty and grandeur of the building." I do not well know which is which. In the
first place, he is the hardest author, by far, I The philosophical claims and literary char-ever meddled with. Then he has a dry conciseacter of Lord Shaftesbury, so impartially ness that makes one imagine one is perusing stated in the analytical review of Sir James I a table of contents rather than a book; it
VOL. VIII. NO. I, NEW SERIES.
tastes for all the world like chopped hay, or famous theories and systems, the authors of rather like chopped logic; for he has a vio- which avoid, as far as possible, any mention lent affection to that art, being in some sense of Hobbes, unless to abuse him, so obnoxious his own invention; so that he often loses is his name, and so much has his reputation himself in little trifling distinctions and ver- suffered at the hands not of critics only, but bal niceties; and what is worse, leaves you of theological and political partisans. This to extricate him as well as you can. Thirdly, tract was a favorite with Addison, and is he has suffered vastly from the transcribers, highly praised by Dugald Stewart and Mackas all authors of great brevity necessarily intosh ; contains the very marrow of Hobbes' must. Fourthly, and lastly, he has abun- philosophy, as Hazlitt has clearly shown in dance of fine uncommon things, which make his admirable Essay on the Writings of him well worth the pains he gives one." Hobbes. The life of Hobbes has been writ
We know Aristotle wholly from transla- ten by the antiquarian Aubrey. The English tion, to be sure, and hence cannot judge of Aristotle was, at one time, secretary to Lord him as of an English author; but we believe Bacon, and the philosophical idol of Cowley, all of Gray's critique, save the last clause, who has penned a noble ode to his memory. which must overrate him. He is crabbed Locke owes an immense debt to him; but and unreadable to a wonderful degree, ana- so feeble is Fame, the latter philosopher is lytical to excess, harsh to austerity and bald- regarded as at the head of English metaness. As a mere writer, though he may be, physics, while the earlier, his master, and an at times, profoundly suggestive, yet the mat- original thinker, as well as a masterly writer, ter of his works may be far better studied in is classed with atheists, paradoxical sophists, modern authors, who are greater masters of and sensualist worldlings. Errors, and grievform. As a moralist and metaphysician, ous ones, are to be found in Hobbes, and of much of him may be in Hobbes and Locke, which we shall attempt no defense; still there yet they are far more able in developing the is much truth, penetration into human motives thought. In rhetoric and ästhetical criticism and characters, force of style, independence a score of writers, Greek, Roman, English, and manliness in his Treatise of Human Naand German, may be mentioned vastly supe- ture—a body of philosophy in itself. At prerior. In the philosophy of politics, France, sent we intend merely noting some remarkEngland, and the United States have pro- able coincidences of thought and expression duced disciples that have transcended their between the elder writer and the others, master's skill; and in natural history, France, generally his successors, though in some inGermany, England, and America, during the stances almost contemporaries. last fifty years have accumulated a mass of “The consequences of our actions,” says scientific information, probably far beyond Hobbes, "are our counsellors by alternate all the resources of antiquity in the same succession in the mind." department.
In a noble, serious poem by Beaumont or Speaking of the medium of translation, Fletcher, the brother dramatists, we read: we offer the dictum of high authority on this subject-Dugald Stewart: "A very
“Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,
The constant shadows that walk by us still." imperfect one, undoubtedly, where a judgment is to be passed on compositions ad "In dreams,” Hobbes finely suggests, "our dressed to the powers of imagination and thoughts appear like the stars between the taste; yet fully sufficient to enable us to Aying clouds.” Locke, in Book II. Chap. X. form an estimate of works which treat of of his Essay, has hit upon a similar illustrascience and philosophy. On such subjects tion. Speaking of the facility with which it may be safely concluded, that whatever is in most minds ideas fade in the memory, he unfit to stand the test of a literal version, is concludes: “ In all these cases, ideas in the not worth the trouble of being studied in the mind quickly fade, and often vanish quite original."
out of the understanding, leaving no more
footsteps or remaining characters of themIn a single tract of Hobbes, of some ninety selves than shadows do flying over fields of duodecimo pages, occur some of the most corn." suggestive passages in modern philosophical Hobbes has anticipated Gall and Spurztreatises. We find here the original of many heim, where he writes, Chap. XI. of the
Treatise, “The Brain, the common organ, losopher borrowed from his predecessor. The of all the senses.” Truly, the new thoughts sum of the doctrine is contained in the tenth come out of the old books, or as Dan Chau and last paragraph: “And from hence, also, cer has declared :
lit followeth, that whatsoever accidents or
qualities our senses make us think there be "Out of the olde fieldes, as men saithe,
in the world, they be not there, but are seemCometh all this newe corne, fro yere to yere; And out of the olde bookes, in good faithe,
ing apparitions only; the things that are Cometh all this newe science that men lere." really in the world without us, are those
motives by which these seemings are caused. Rochefoucault's definition of Pity is almost And this is the great deception of sense, identical with that given by Hobbes, who which also is to be by sense corrected : for, styles it, “Imagination, or fiction of future as sense telleth me when I see directly, that calamity to ourselves, proceeding from the the color seemeth to be in the object ; so, also, sense of another man's calamity.”
sense telleth me when I see by reflection, After making, as we thought, quite a dis- that color is not in the object.” covery, we found Hazlitt had, long before, We will conclude this discursive paper by pointed out the whole thing. So most of quoting a common saying, that has passed the new revelations of modern criticism are into a proverb: “The worth of a thing is merely “new-found old inventions,” accord- what it 'll bring,” neatly framed into one of ing to Butler. Chap. II. is an Essay on the most telling couplets of Hudibras. In Idealism, a Berkleian speculation. Now, Hobbes, we find it thus expressed: “So Hobbes died in 1679, Berkeley was born much worth is every thing, as a man will in 1684, and it is fair to infer the later phi- I give for all it can do."
NILE NOTES OF A HOWADJI.*
From the days of Herodotus to those of glish language. We are of honest Dogthe Howadji, every thing that related to the berry's opinion, that “comparisons are East, the country that the latter terms pecu-odorous,” but must say, that of the books we liarly the property of the imagination, has have referred to, we think Eöthen stands at been seized upon and read with eagerness the head. Those happy combinations of a and avidity. Such an interest has always fascinating subject and a fascinating style, attached to the subject itself, that we have have rendered us more fastidious than forfelt disposed to be more lenient with books merly with all Eastern travellers who turn that purported to be a record of Oriental authors; and we are now as much disposed to travel, than with the continental tours with apply a severe test of criticism to descripwhich we have been inundated for many tions of Thebes and Cairo, and sentimental years. But several works upon the East lucubrations beside the pyramids or under have been published of late, by writers who, the palms, as to any scenes in Italy, or adhering to the good old catholic doctrine of ramblings on the Continent. The charm of Dr. Blair, “that all that can be required of the East, since we have seen the subject so language is to convey our ideas clearly to skilfully and admirably treated, is no longer the minds of others, and at the same time sufficient to compensate for blemishes of in such a dress, as by pleasing and interest- taste or diction, in the notes of the traveller. ing them, shall most effectually strengthen We ventured upon the perusal of the book, the impressions we endeavor to make," whose title stands at the head of this article, wrote with gracefulness and ease, with man- with expectations founded upon the excesliness and vigor, disdained all affectations, sive laudations of it that we saw in many and were above playing tricks with the En-1 of the daily journals, and regret to state
* Nile Notes of a Howadji. New-York: Harper & Brothers.
that we have seldom closed a book, written similar specimens, but deem the foregoing by a person of so much genius, against sufficient. We must, however, give the which we had charges to make of a more opening of the 21st chapter: “ We deserious nature. We have marked for parted at dawn. Before a gentle gale the reprehension in our copy of “Nile Notes ” Ibis fleetly flew in the star-light, serenaded many inelegancies of expression, passages by the Sallias ;" and with this exquisite of false and twaddling sentiment, and viola-" morseau ” we close our alliterated extracts. tions of the rules of syntax and of good All affectations in literature are offensive, taste; all faults of great magnitude, and and it is extremely painful to see an attempt which we shall notice more particularly made to revive practices in writing, that the hereafter. But to our mind, the cardinal fault purer taste of modern times has decided to of the book, and the one that disfigures it be unsuitable to a chaste and natural style ; more than any, perhaps than all, of the and although the figure of words that conothers, and upon which we shall bestow the sists in the repetition of the same letter or most extended notice, is the affectation of letters at certain intervals, and is termed in alliterated sentences, with which almost rhetoric alliteration, was indulged in occaevery page is crowded; and after giving our sionally by some of the oldest and best readers a few specimens with which our au- writers-chiefly in poetry however—it is rethor has favored us, we propose to make a garded at the present day as a trivial and few observations on what we have always affected decoration of words, and an instance considered to be one of the most ridiculous of false refinement, and cannot be tolerated and puerile of literary follies that have been except in a work of a humorous or burlesque recorded, and which we think no power, cer- nature. When any folly is indulged in to tainly not that of the genius of the Howadji
, a great extent, the very extravagances into can render again popular. But although which it runs is the cause of its total abanthe success of such an aitempt would be as donment. Such was the fate of allitehopeless as deplorable, we do not, on that ration, which was carried to such lengths account, think the person making it less that its absurdity became apparent to deserving of censure. On one page alone all, and it went out of favor with the our author treats us with “two towels," public. Disraeli tells us of the “ Ecloga “ lickerous larder," "sharp stimulants," de Calois," by Hugbold the Monk, all the “ most melancholy," “ remote regions," " il- words of which silly work began with a ness and inability,” “ landing at lonely," C; and also of a translation of the moral
provisions previously sent on shore for the proverbs of Christiana of Pisa, made by purpose at an admirable advance," " grown the Earl of Rivers, in the time of Edgrisly,” “spectrally sliding," "story with ward IV., the greater part of which he sardonic smiles,” “demoniac dragomen," contrived to conclude with the letter E; an sang the slowest of slow songs." instance, he observes, of his lordship’s hard
We cull a few more of these flowers of application, and the bad taste of an age literature from some other
“ Shines which Lord Oxford said had witticisms and not the Syrian sun suddenly," " dirt and whims to struggle with, as well as ignorance. direful deformity,” “ dumb secrets are but Now every such instance is the “ reductio soft shadows and shining lights," " sitting ad absurdum” of such a practice. It is solemn saddening but successful,” “ trebly from the purpose” of writing, and “ though flies the Ibis while the sun sets," “ dashed it make the unskilful laugh, yet it cannot with dying light," "cultivate chimney but make the judicious grieve." It is a corners and chuckle," "solid sin sticks method of courting notoriety that seems steadfastly," “ sharp surges of sound swept," more ridiculous to us than that of the incen" music still swelled savagely in maddened diary of Ephesus, and we shall always exmonotony of measure," "make or maintain press our dislike at such attempts. Every an otherwise monotonous mass of misery,” thing that attracts attention from the mat
sedately sail for stranger scenery," seems ter to the style should be discountenanced. it too seriously symbolical,” “swallow-like We should not think of tolerating a writer of follow the summer, and shuffle off the coil modern times, who indulged in that figure of care at Cairo,” &c. &c. We might fill of words termed Antanaclasis, which conour pages, as the Howadji has done, with sists in the repetition of words the same in
sound, but not in sense. Instances of this, I and was shoved back beyond glass." The as well as of alliteration, occur in the writ- incorrectness of the first part of this senings of Cicero, who stands pre-eminent tence is overshadowed by the inelegance of among elegant writers; but at the present the last part, that we have italicized. Sacday it is reckoned a defect, and not a beauty rifices of elegance are allowable, if thereby a in style. Yet in the time of Henry II., this greater force of expression is obtained ; but childish and unmeaning folly prevailed to in this case the Howadji has gained nothing such an extent, that no poem or prose-writ- in vigor, and is singularly inelegant. He ing could be popular if it did not abound has attempted to be quaint, and is only in instances of it. .
clumsy. Were it possible for such follies to be re- On page 58 we have the following: “We vived, we might expect to see verses again were in the dream of the death of the deadest assume the grotesque shapes of pillars, bot- land.” tles, lozenges, rhomboids, Cupids, hearts and On page 253: “Yet he will have a sealtars, as in a former age. But we will not creter sympathy with those forms than with insult the public taste, by presuming for a any temple, how grand or graceful soever." moment such a thing possible. "
Whose grammar does the Howadji use? Alliteration was conisdered to have a On page 66: “Over my head was the kind of natural connection with imitative dreamy murmurousness of summer inharmony, and occurred most frequently sects swarming in the warm air." where tlie sound was an echo to the sense; 1 On page 134; “ The sharp surges of sound but our author, instead of attempting to revive swept around the room, dashing in regular it in its least objectionable shape, although measure against her novelessness." in that sufficiently absurd, has plunged at On page 173: “It lingers on the verge once into extravagance, and forcibly brings of the vortex, then unpausing plunges in." in words without regard to their fitness, On page 202: “Should we not have solely because the first letter or syllable is black balled the begirted Aristides ?" similar to that of the word that preceded And whose dictionary? . or follows it. A puerile or senseless affecta- Such sentences as the following would be tion, that cannot be animadverted upon unpardonable in a school-boy's composition, with too much severity. We confess that and the youth who should be guilty of them we should have read his book with more pleas- would richly deserve to have the rules of ure, had he, after having selected a word that syntax flogged into him :was appropriate, repeated it several times, or Page 120 : “And so frailtywas all boated referred us in a note or otherwise to the letters up the Nile to Esne. Not quite, and even in the Dictionary that the word commenced if it had been, Abbas Pacha, grandson of with for other words commencing with the Mahommed Alee, and at the request of the same. Either of these two methods, we think, old Pacha's daugher, has boated it all back would have been superior to the one he has again." adopted, and with the latter we could have Page 156: “Nation of beggars effortless, alliterated his sentences at our leisure, if we effete, bucksheesh is its prominent point of had any inclination to do so at all, without contact with the Howadji, who revisiting having it interfere with the perusal of his the Nile in dreams hears far sounding and narrative.
for ever, ‘Alms, O shopkeeper !"" We proceed now to notice some of the Page 173: “Confusion confounded, desoother faults that we alluded to in a former lated desolation, never sublime yet always page, and to give a few of the most glaring solemn, with a sense of fate in the swift instances. On the route to Boubek, see page rushing waters, that creates a somber inter17, our author meets men with hog-skins slung est not all inhuman, but akin to dramatic over their backs full of water. This sight re- l intensity." minds him of the remark in Scripture, "Nei- Page 179: “Followed much monosyllather do ye put new wine into old bottles," bic discourse, also grave grunting and a little and carries him back to the time when glass more salaaming among the belated sinners." bottles were an unknown luxury. To ex- We confess to a prejudice in favor of the press this he says, “I remembered the land subjects and attributes of sentences being and the time of putting wine into old bottles, I placed in the natural order of syntax.