« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
From his broad bosom life and verdure flings,
NOTES. [And broods o'er Ægypt, 8c. 1. 103.] The image seems to be taken from the figure of Jupiter Pluvius, as represented on the Antonine Pillar. But the whole passage rises to a height beyond the powers either of sculpture or painting to ascend. The critic would, with difficulty, find any description in antiquity, which exceeds this in point of true sublimity.
The principal drift of education should be to make men think in the Northern climates, and act in the Southern.
The different steps and degrees of education may be compared to the artificer's operations upon marble; it is one thing to dig it out of the quarry, and another to square it; to give it gloss and lustre, call forth every beautiful spot and vein, shape it into a column, or animate it into a statue.
To a native of free and happy governments his country is always dear:
“ He loves his old hereditary trees.” Cowley. While the subject of a tyrant has no country; he is therefore selfish and base-minded; he has no family, no posterity, no desire of fame; or, if he has, of one that turns not on its proper object.
Any nation that wants public spirit, neglects education, ridicules the desire of fame, and even of virtue and reason, must be ill governed.
Commerce changes entirely the fate and genius of nations, by communicating arts and opinions, circulating money, and introducing the materials of luxury; she first opens and polishes the mind, then corrupts and enervates both that and the body.
Those invasions of effeminate Southern nations by the warlike Northern people, seem (in spite of all the terror, mischief, and ignorance which they brought with them) to be necessary evils; in order to revive the spirit of mankind, softened and broken by the arts of commerce, to restore them to their native liberty and equality, and to give them again the power of supporting danger and
If with advent'rous oar and ready sail
NOTES. [That rise and glitter o'er the ambient tide, 1. 107.] The foregoing account of the river Nile, while it is embellished with all the graces of description, is given at the same time in exact conformity to truth and reality; as the reader will observe from the following citation: “Le Nil portoit par tout la fécondité avec ses eaux salu“ taires, unissoit les villes entre elles, & la grande mer avec la mer
rouge, entretenoit le commerce au dedans & au dehors du Roy.
aume, & le fortifioit contre l'ennemi: de sorte qu'il étoit tout en. “ semble et le nourricier, & le defenseur de l’Egypte. On lui aban“ donnoit la campagne: mais les villes, rehaussées avec des tra
vaux immenses, & s'élevant comme des Iles au milieu des eaux,
regardoient avec joye de cette hauteur toute la plaine inondée & “ tout ensemble fertilisée par le Nil.” Bossuet, Disc: sur l'Hist: trois: part:
hardship; so a comet, with all the horrors that attend it as it passes through our system, brings a supply of warmth and light to the sun, and of moisture to the air,
The doctrine of Epicurus is ever ruinous to society: It had its rise when Greece was declining, and perhaps hastened its dissolution, as also that of Rome; it is now propagated in France and in England, and seems likely to produce the same effect in both.
One principal characteristic of vice in the present age is the contempt of fame.
Many are the uses of good fame to a generous mind: it extends our existence and example into future ages; continues and propagates virtue, which otherwise would be as short-lived as our frame; and prevents the prevalence of vice in a generation more corrupt even than our own. It is impossible to conquer that natural desire LETTER IX.
MR. GRAY TO DR. WHARTON.
Cambridge, March 9, 1748-9. You ask for some account of books. The principal I can tell you of is a work of the President Montesquieu, the labour of twenty years; it is called L'Esprit des Loix, 2 vol. 4to. printed at Geneva. He lays down the principles on which are founded the three sorts of government, Despotism, the limited Monarchy, and the Republican; and shews how from these are deduced
we have of being remembered; even criminal ambition and avarice, the most selfish of all passions, would wish to leave a name behind them."
I find also among these papers a single couplet much too beautiful iu be lost, thonch the place where he meant to introduce it cannot be ascertained; it must, however, have made a part of some description of the effect which the reformation had on our national
When Love could teach a monarch to be wise,
And Guspel-light first dawn’d from Bullen's Eyes. Thus, with all the attention that a connoisseur in painting'employs in cuiloring every s'ight cutline as well as finished drawing which led to the completion of some capital picture, I have endeavoured to preserve every fra ment of this great poetical design. It sury descrved this case as it was one of the noblest which Mr. Gra; ever arierrpied; and also, as far as he carried it into executica, ihe most esquisitely finished. That he carried it no further is, and must ever be, a most sensible loss to the republic of letters.
the laws and customs by which they are guided and maintained; the education proper to each form; the influence of climate, situation, religion, &c. on the minds of particular nations and on their policy. The subject, you see, is as extensive as mankind; the thoughts perfectly new, generally admirable as they are just, sometimes a little too refined. In short, there are faults, but such as an ordinary man could never have committed. The style very lively and concise (consequently sometimes obscure); it is the gravity of Tacitus, whom he admires, tempered with the gaiety and fire of a Frenchman. The time of night will not suffer me to go on; but I will write again in a week.
NIR. GRAY TO DR. WHARTON.
Cambridge, April 25, 1749.
I Perceive that second parts are as bad to write as they can be to read; for this, which you ought to have had a week after the first, has been a full month in coming forth. The spirit of laziness (the spirit of the place) begins to possess even me, who have so long declaimed against it; yet has it not so prevailed, but that I feel that discontent with myself, that ennui, that
ever accompanies it in its beginnings. Time will settle my conscience; time will reconcile me to this languid companion: We shall smoke, we shall tipple, we shall doze together: We shall have our little jokes like other people, and our old stories: Brandy will finish what Port began; and a month after the time you will see in some corner of a London Evening-Post, “ Yester“ day died the Reverend Mr. John Gray, Senior Fel“low of Clare-Hall, a facetious companion, and well
respected by all that knew him. His death is sup“ posed to have been occasioned by a fit of an apo“plexy, being found fallen out of bed with his head in “ the chamber-pot.”
In the meanwhile, to go on with my account of new books. Montesquieu's work, which I mentioned before, is now publishing anew in 2 vols. 8vo. Have you seen old Crebillion's Catalina, a Tragedy, which has had a prodigious run at Paris ? Historical truth is too much perverted in it, which is ridiculous in a story so generally known; but if you can get over this, the sentiments and versification are fine, and most of the characters (particularly the principal one) painted with great spirit.
Mr. Birch, the indefatigable, has just put out a thick octavo of original papers of Queen Elizabeth's time;