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From the European Magazine.

How charming is divine philosophy!
Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose,

But musical as is Apollo's late,
And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
Where no crude surfeit reigns.

MILTON---Comus.

passing radiance, and gives him a deif duly polished, bursts forth with surcided superiority over all other animal productions. This gem is Reason. Since, then, we are placed at the head of animate nature by the means of this HE cultivation of literature, and splendid and valuable gift, how ought THE its consequent effects on the mind, deserve, in this age of politeness, parti- the business of life to cultivate those we not to improve it? Should it not be cular consideration, and present a wide field for inquiry and speculation of the and which enable us not merely to fulfil powers which form its chief ornament, most agreeable kind. To trace the the active duties of this world, but also evolutions of genius from its first bold, to soar in imagination to the next? To nervous, but rude efforts, to the soft languor and effeminacy of overstrained universally cultivated and admired, and us, who live in a land where the arts are refinement, is a study peculiarly plea- where excellence is sure to meet with its sant to the man of taste, and one which, reward, there is every incitement to imwhilst it corrects the exuberance of fancy, enlarges the understanding and shackles of ignorance. Ambition, emuprove the mind, and to strike off the improves the heart. No one can rea- lation, even interest, urges us on to the sonably deny that the cultivation of task. literature is intimately connected with from those above mentioned, which But there is a feeling distinct virtue, and that the former tends to re- almost of itself repays any labour we strain the violence of passion and appe- may undergo, and which certainly tite within the bounds of reason, and leads them as it were by a silken cord to consciousness of performing the purpose supports our efforts to excel. It is the be subservient to designs of a more no- for which we were sent into the world, ble and elevated kind. Man in his na- joined with the hope that our endeavours tural state is rude, barbarous, and cruel, will prove beneficial to society; the agitated by uncontrolled passions, and thought inspires us with ardour, and, prone to follow their dictates with intemperate ardour. He is but one repossessed of such sentiments, study will move from the beast of the forest. But Various are the paths of science which appear rather as a pleasure than a task. the wise Creator of the universe has im- the learned choose to explore. Some, planted in his nature a gem, which, if whose souls burn to discover, the pheunattended to, lies concealed, but which, nomena every-where around them, divo

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ATHENEUM. Vol. 2

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Cultivation of Literature.

[VOL. 2 into the depths of natural philosophy, moment, and relax their minds from care, calculate the rotation of the planetary let them take up Martial and Anacreon, system, pierce the surface of the earth who play very prettily at the foot of for its minerals, ransack the vegetable Parnassus with the Loves and Graces, kingdom, and even pluck the coral from and pluck those flowers which a severer the reluctant wave. Others wander Muse would have disdained. Look they amid the labyrinths of metaphysical for tenderness, give them the epistles of speculation, and employ whole lives in Ovid or the tragedies of the Pellean the subtleties of an useless philosophy. bard, let them peruse the parting of But no study tends so much to improve Hector and Andromache, and, if they the taste, enlarge the faculties of the can, let them refuse a tributary tear to mind, and to feed the imagination, as the sorrows of Dido. Would they as that which is commonly denominated study the graces of oratory, refer them Classical Literature. There are ages in to the forcible and manly eloquence of which it seems that Nature has poured Demosthenes, or to the full and flowing forth genius with a profuse fertility, in magnificence of Cicero! In short, the which the circumstances of the mes classics will afford them models of exhave proved peculiarly favourable to it, cellence in every department of literature and the most illustrious characters of the that can gratify the imagination, or image have been either men of learning prove the taste. In history, they have themselves, or the patronizers of it in the naiveté and sweetness of Herodotus, others. Such was the Grecian age in the strength and conciseness of Thucythe time of Pericles, the Roman under dides and Tacitus, the painting of Sallust, Augustus, and the Italian under the and the beautiful narration of Livy and Medici. We may observe that each of Xenophon and Cæsar. In tragedy, the these states was in the zenith of its power morality and tenderness of Euripides, during the lives of these luminaries of the sublimity of Sophocles, and the science. The two first ages are called severer strains of Eschylus. In comedy, purely classical, the productions of which the spirit of Plautus, the politeness and are now, and have been for several elegance of Terence, together with the centuries past, the study and delight of fire and wit of Aristophanes. Such are Europe; but why they should be so, it the allurements which classical literature will.not be, perhaps, superfluous to ex- hold out; and, thanks to the liberality plain, and at the same time to comment of our forefathers, there are seminaries on the advantages derived from them, established which permit not merely the Are there any who wish to acquire powerful and opulent, but even the poor, greatness of mind, unshaken fidelity, if they are so inclined, to enjoy all these contempt of human grandeur, unbounded sweets; and genius, though in poverty, love of their country, and a firmness and has thus an opportunity of rescuing itself magnanimity that will enable them to from oblivion and undeserved neglect. buffet the boisterous waves in the sea of But the benefits of classical literature life, let them study the authors of Greece would be small indeed, did it only tend and Rome. Let those who wish to to the improvement of the taste and exalt themselves above their fellow-mor- style; it has a higher point in view. It tals by refinement of sentiment, elegance acts as a safeguard to the treasures from of diction, and noble dignity of style, whence we derive our holy religion, and store the writings of those great men in prevents the intrusions of interpolators their souls, and consider them as friends, and the corruptions of dogmatists. Can and as the companions of their solitude. there be a higher commendation than In studying the ancients, they will not this, that through its means the fountain be confined to one subject, or one style of our belief is kept pure and unconof composition; they may there revel in taminated, and that the contrivances of every thing that is noble and beautiful. scepticism and faction may endeavour in Do they wish for sublimity of thought vain to disturb the waters of faith. The and grandeur of expression, let them simple and unaffected language in which turn to the pages of Homer, Eschylus, the Apostles wrote, the natural, and, no and Pindar. Would they trifle away a doubt, inspired, sentiments which they

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breathe, and the fine and awful descrip- tures, in order that they might be con

tions they give us of the Deity and his vinced of the holy mission of the Pope, attributes, would indisputably have been but left that to priests, vast numbers of for ever lost to the world, had they not whom, living at their expense, and pracbeen written in a language which was tising every vice, were employed to destined never to die; for they would wing their souls to the joys of heaven, have doubtless been altered to answer or to release them from the pangs of the views of sectarians, and their sublime purgatory. Oh incredible credulity! To precepts overwhelmed with a load of tin- what a state of darkness and error must sel and contradiction. While literature is the human mind have arrived!-Supercultivated, while a liberal spirit of edu- stition is founded upon ignorance, and cating their children in a knowledge of the effects of the one may be justly classical science prevails amongst parents, attributed to the effects of the other. the grand basis of our religion will still Thus it was that this detestable tyrant be secured, and the power of the state, of the soul extended wide its dominion so intimately connected with that of the over all Europe. Hundreds of thousands church, will still retain its solidity. With were led to perish on the plains of what horror must we contemplate those Palestine, through the blind rage of a dark and barbarous ages which imme- fanatic; and the inquisition, that dreadful diately followed upon the destruction engine of papal tyranny, spread its of the western empire. Indeed, for murderous influence far and wide. several centuries before that celebrated Fathers were dragged from their children, event, Europe had been buried in pro- from their wives, and from all they held found ignorance; the savage hordes who dear, immured in damp and lonely dunhad so often made inroads upon the geons, and at length tortured into a empire, and not unfrequently been in- confession of sins they had, perhaps, corporated with it, had already vitiated never committed. Should a spirit of the languages of ancient Greece and opposition arise, should any dare to exRome, and the purity and correctness of press sentiments hostile to the papal Virgil and Homer had finally disappeared. power or to its institutions, they were The productions of those ages of taste immediately dragged away as devoted and refinement lay neglected amid the victims, and, after certain ceremonies, dusty shelves of monastic libraries, and, burnt at the stake in the very sight of being immured amongst the ponderous multitudes! It argues a want of spirit and volumes of commentators, were seldom feeling, a blind and mean submission, or never noticed. What was the con- that the spectators of these horrible sequence of this contempt of refinement tragedies did not fall upon the actors, and learning? It is painful to declare it. and, by extirpating them at once, put The lower orders of society were worse an end to the fatal curse. But their than barbarous. Taught to consider feelings were obscured by ignorance, knowledge as an attribute they had no and their actions guided by superstition. business to aim at, they were compelled But this does not finish the catalogue of to serve in order that they might subsist, the evils that afflicted mankind during and were made tools of ambition and those ages in which science was dead the victims of monkish craft. Nor were and civilization languished. Even the they the only sufferers at the shrine of fair sex were doomed to drink the bitter ignorance. Barons and princes, even cup of confinement and restraint. Nunkings and emperors themselves, were neries, priories, monasteries, and abbeys, under the influence of this detestable every-where abounded, raised by the scourge. Led, or rather compelled, to pious, but mistaken, zeal of the great. believe that the keys of divine grace were Enclosed within their gloomy recesses, in the possession of the see of Rome, and subject to the rule of haughty and they dared not to resist its mandates, or rigid superiors, youth, beauty, and to negative its demands. Passing all accomplishments, dragged on a weary their time in war, in hunting, tourna- and insipid life. Compelled by poverty, ments, or other amusements of the age, tempted by affliction, or deluded by the they never thought of perusing the scrip- artifices of interested priests, they entered

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[VOL. 2

these asylums of woe. To the minds of these mighty effects? It is sufficient to young females, which are generally ro- answer, the revival of classical literature. mantic, the distant contemplation of a Since so great, then, are the benefits secluded life is pleasant; to be able to of classical literature, the pursuit of it forget or despise the allurements of the must surely be arduous! So would the world, to commune with their Maker, inexperienced argue, for they naturally and to associate with none but those attach difficulty and labour to things who entertain the same opinions with that are of extensive utility. Nor in this themselves, is highly desirable. But respect would they be much mistaken. how dreadfully reversed did they find the To cultivate the classics with success, picture. Confined in narrow cells, with requires no little, application, no little no other companions than a scull and exercise of the mind. But it is like crucifix, forced to the observance of travelling on a hard and uneven road, innumerable rites and ceremonies as from whence the most beautiful and ridiculous as they were gloomy, they sublime prospects meet the eye, and saw their companions languish and drop divert the attention from the unpleasantoff in succession, and contemplated their ness of the path. Are the pains we turn as not far distant. Thus were many of the most amiable of their sex lost to society, not to enjoy a life of philosophic seclusion, but to wander listlessly amongst gloomy cloisters, as miserable as melancholy and regret could make them.

How

take in turning over the leaves of a dictionary, and the perplexity we are at first involved in with regard to construction, to be compared with the pleasure we receive when some fine and noble sentiment or decription is developed ? The fifteenth century saw Constanti- Surely not; our labour repays itself, and nople in ashes; saw those few who yet the more pains we take the more perfect cultivated classical literature wanderers is the gratification we receive. over Europe, neglected and despised. great a fund of rational delight do they But in the same age Providence raised lose who neglect the attainment of classiup one family who were destined to cal knowledge merely from the difficulty gather together the dying embers, and they encounter at the commencement, blow them into a flame. Florence was who consider the grammatical foundation happy, free, and prosperous under the as a sort of post which warns them not guidance of the celebrated family of the to trespass into a garden flowing with Medicis, who were rich from commerce, the milk and honey of the mind. How noble from their ancestors, refined from innumerable are the advintages and delearning, and liberal from nature; they lights which await those who by uncollected around them the Grecian fugi- wearied perseverance have at length obtives, and by unbounded munificence tained admittance. They may then incited them to explore every quarter with the divine Plato listen to the disof Europe and Asia in search of the courses of Socrates, and commune with productions of Roman and Grecian lite- the simple and elegant Xenophon amid rature. Learning begun to revive, the the shades of Scyllus, or, with Euripides, old authors were found, read, and ad- court the tragic Muse in the romantic mired. Glorious was the consequence cave of Salamis. With Horace they -glorious in the cause of literature, but may politely ridicule the errors of the fatal to the power of superstition. In age, or with Juvenal level the boldest the fifteenth century, the century in shafts of satire at the vices of the great. which learning was revived, Luther But enough! to enter into a recapitubroke through the shackles of papal lation of all the advantages to be derived tyranny, and the Reformation was be- from classical literature would fill a gun. In the fifteenth century, a passion volume; let those whom the liberality of for discovery was encouraged, and friends have enabled to unfold the America was unveiled to admiring Eu treasures of classic lore, not neglect the rope. In the fifteenth century, printing golden opportunity, lest, by attending was invented, and through its means too much to the amusements of youth, learning disseminated through all ranks. they lose what will afford sterling and And what was the primal cause of all lasting gratification to old age.

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half-clothed waiting-damsel ran into one

ALBERT ALTENBERG, one of of the most crouded dormitories, and

"A glorious comfort, truly !" retorted the grumbler," that three or four hundred fools have been remembered by greater fools than themselves! I want neither Skenkius, nor Jacobus de Don. din, nor Grunnius Coracotta, to tell me why women love to teaze and a goose barefoot."

the richest citizens of Brussels, lay shaking a sleeper's shoulder, exclaimed on his death-bed with no consolations, in his ear, "Monsieur !-monsieur has except that he had a son capable of mistaken the room-this bed is engaged atoning for the errors into which avarice to a lady."-" This bed!" returned the had betrayed him. "Herman!" he angry traveller-" this vile composition said, as the young man sat by his bed of rushes and fir-shavings!-Must a studying the last expression of his glaz- man be disturbed even in purgatory!" ing eyes" I leave you wealthy, and The soubrette, arranging the stiff your uncles, if they are still living, have wings of her cap, began an oration on no other heir-but we had once a sister the lady's prior claims, and the guest -read these papers, and do justice to professed his belief that women belong my memory."-Herman assented by a to one of the nine classes of demons supsilent pressure of the hand, which clung posed by a Flemish doctor. "Sir," to his till it became lifeless. Soon after said a young student from Gottengen, his father's funeral, an extraordinary "it is some consolation to know that change appeared in his character. In- every great man for the last forty-two stead of the hospitality, the beneficence, centuries has been equally tormented." and spirit of enterprize, which old Altenberg had been studious to repress, the heir discovered even more frugality and caution than his father. He converted all the scattered wealth he inherited into one fund, but its depository was a profound secret. At length its amount was doubted, and the reserve of his demeanor seemed the consequence of ne- This torrent was interrupted in his cessary retrenchment. Presently his way down-stairs by meeting the cause fellow-citizens discovered that he spent of his disturbance, a plain ancient genno more than the moderate sum requir- tle-woman, whose ugliness restored him ed for mere subsistence; and it was to good-humour. Grace or beauty easier to discern that he was poor than would have made him furious, by lesthat he might be virtuous. His friends sening his pretext for spleen and as gradually changed their assiduous cour- angry men usually submit to any evil tesy into those cold and stately conde- they are allowed to murmur at, the malscensions which are practised to humble content seated himself in "grim repose" the receiver. During two or three years by the kitchen-fire. There some Belhe continued to frequent societies where his entrance was noticed at last only by a scornful smile or a careless familiarity, which he affected to receive with indolent indifference. But the result of suspected poverty was not unfelt, and he had not courage enough to contemn it. He left Brussels in secret, without leaving any trace of his route, as some supposed to join the Emperor Joseph's army as a volunteer, or, as many more believed, to perish by suicide.

to go

gian soldiers were congratulating them selves on their future quarters at the farm of a decrepit and solitary widow, celebrated for wealth and avarice. Their new auditor, concealed in a recess, listened to their ribaldry, perhaps for the first time, without disgust, because his misanthropy found an excuse in the vices of others. Before the dawn of a morn-. ing over-cast with Belgian fogs, a dili· gence left this inn-door, containing only M. Von Grumboldt and one female The great clock of a noted inn at passenger. Our traveller, with no small Brussels had struck twelve, when the chagrin, recognised the close coif and

* See Aтн. Vol. 2. p. 8.

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