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against it; for the love of the arts pre- for his rusticity, as Scipio was for elegance vailed every day more and more; and and taste) added Achaia to the Roman from henceforward the Roman generals, state ; and sacked, among several others, in their several conquests, seem to have the famous city of Corinth, which had been strove who should bring away the greatest long looked upon as one of the principal number of statues and pictures, to set off reservoirs of the finest works of art. He their triumphs, and to adorn the city of cleared it of all its beauties, without knowRome. It is surprising what accessions of ing anything of them: even without knowthis kind were made in the compass of a ing, that an old Grecian statue was better little more than half a century after Mar. than a new Roman one. He used, howcellus had set the example. The elder ever, the surest method of not being misScipio Africanus brought in a great num- taken; for he took all indifferently as they ber of wrought vases from Spain and came in his way: and brought them off in Africa, toward the end of the second Punic such quantities, that he alone is said to war; and the very year after that was have filled Rome with statues and pictures. finished, the Romans entered into a war Thus, partly from the taste, and partly from with Greece, the great school of all the the vanity of their generals, in less than arts, and the chief repository of most of the seventy years' time (reckoning from Marfinest works that ever were produced by cellus's taking of Syracuse to the year
in them. It would be endless to mention all which Carthage was destroyed) Italy was their acquisitions from hence; I shall only furnished with the noblest productions of put you in mind of some of the most con- the ancient artists, that before lay scattered siderable. Flaminius made a great shew all over Spain, Africa, Sicily, and the rest both of statues and vases in his triumph of Greece. Sylla, beside many others, over Philip king of Macedon; but he was added vastly to them afterwards; particumuch exceeded by Æmilius, who reduced larly by his taking of Athens, and by his that kingdom into a province. Æmilius's conquests in Asia; where, by his too great triumph lasted three days; the first of which indulgence to his armies, he made taste was wholly taken up in bringing in the and rapine a general thing, even among fine statues he had selected in his expedi- the common soldiers, as it had been, for a tion; as the chief ornament of the second long time, among
their leaders. consisted of vases and sculptured vessels of In this manner, the first considerable all sorts, by the most eminent hands. These acquisitions were made by their conquering were all the most chosen things, culled armies; and they were carried on by the from the collection of that successor of persons sent out to govern their provinces Alexander the Great; for as to the infe- when conquered. As the behaviour of these rior spoils of no less than seventy Grecian in their governments, in general, was one cities, Æmilius had left them all to his of the greatest bilots on the Roman nation, soldiery, as not worthy to appear among
we must not expect a full account of their the ornaments of his triumph. Not many transactions in the old historians, who treat years after this, the young Scipio Africa- particularly of the Roman affairs; for such nus (the person who is most celebrated for of these that remain to us, are either Rohis polite taste of all the Romans hitherto, mans themselves, or else Greeks, who were and who was scarce exceeded by any one too much attached to the Roman interest, of them in all the succeeding ages) de
to speak out the whole truth in this affair. stroyed Carthage, and transferred many
of But what we cannot have fully from their the chief ornaments of that city, which own historians, may be pretty well supplihad so long bid fair for being the seat of ed from other hands. A poet of their own, empire, to Rome, which soon became un- who seems to have been a very honest man, doubtedly so. This must have been a vast has set the rapaciousness of their governors accession : though that great man, who in general in a very strong light; as Ciwas as just in his actions as he was elegant cero hath set forth that of Verres in parin his taste, did not bring all the finest of ticular, as strongly. If we may judge of his spoils to Rome, but left a great part of their
general behaviour by that of this gothem in Sicily, from whence they had for- vernor of Sicily, they were more like monmerly been taken by the Carthaginians. sters and harpies, than men. For that The very same year that Scipio freed public robber (as Cicero calls him, more Rome from its most dangerous rival, Car- than once) hunted over every corner of his tkage, Mummius (who was as remarkable island, with a couple of finders (one a
Greek painter, and the other a statuary of his follies. “As I am speaking of his
“ the same nation) to get together bis collec. faults, (says that historian in his life) I tion; and was so curious and so rapacious should not omit his vast baths, and piazzas in that search, that Cicero says,
for walking; or his gardens, which were not a gem, or statue, or relievo, or picture, much more magnificent than any in his time in all Sicily, which he did not see; nor any at Rome, and equal to any in the luxurione he liked, which he did not take away ous ages that followed : nor his excessive from its owner. What he thus got, he sent fondness for statues and pictures, which he into Italy. Rome was the centre both of got from all parts, to adorn his works and their spoils in war, and of their rapines in gardens, at an immense expence; and peace: and if many of their prætors and with the vast riches he had heaped togeproconsuls acted but in half so abandoned ther in the Mithridatic war.” There were a manner as this Verres appears to have several other families which fell about that done, it is very probable that Rome was time into the same sort of excess; and, more enriched in all these sort of things among the rest, the Julian. The first emsecretly by their governors, than it had peror, who was of that family, was a great been openly by their generals. Spence. collector; and, in particular, was as fond
of old gems, as his successor, Augustus, § 67. The Methods made use of in draw
was of Corinthian vases. ing the Works of the best ancient Artists
be called the first age of the into ITALY.
flourishing of the politer arts at Rome; or There was another method of augment- rather the age in which they were introing these treasures at Rome not so infa- duced there for the people in this period mous as this, and not so glorious as the were chiefly taken up in getting fine things, former. What I mean was the custom of and bringing them together. There were the Ædiles, when they exhibited their perhaps some particular persons in it of a public games, of adorning the theatres and very good taste: but in general one may other places where they were performed, say, there was rather a love, than any great with great numbers of statues and pictures, knowledge of their beauties, during this which they bought up or borrowed, for age, among the Romans. They were that purpose, all over Greece, and some brought to Rome in the first part of it, in times even from Asia. Scaurus, in parti- greater numbers than can be easily concular, in his ædileship, had no less than ceived; and in some time, every body bethree thousand statues and relievos for the gan to look upon them with pleasure. The mere ornamenting of the stage, in a theatre collection was continually augmenting afbuilt only for four or five days. This was terwards, from the several methods I have the same Scaurus who (whilst he was in mentioned : and I doubt not but a good the same office too) brought to Rome all taste would have been a general thing the pictures of Sicyon, which had been so among them much earlier than it was, had long one of the most eminent schools in
it not been for the frequent convulsions in Greece for painting; in lieu of debts ow- their state, and the perpetual struggles of ing, or pretended to be owing, from that some great man or other to get the reins city to the Roman people.
of government into his hands. These conFrom these public methods of drawing tinued quite from Sylla's time to the estathe works of the best ancient artists into blishment of the state under Augustus. Italy, it grew at length to be a part of pri- The peaceful times that then succeeded, vate luxury, affected by almost every body and the encouragement which was given that could afford it, to adorn their houses, by that emperor to all the arts, afforded their porticos, and their gardens, with the the Romans full leisure to contemplate the best statues and pictures they could procure fine works that were got together at Rome out of Greece or Asia. None went earlier in the age before, and to perfect their taste into this taste, than the family of the Lu- in all the elegancies of life. The artists, culli, and particularly Lucius Lucullus, who were then much invited to Rome, who carried on the war against Mithri- worked in a style greatly superior to what dates. He was remarkable for his love ofthey had done even in Julius Cæsar's time; the arts and polite learning even from a so that it is under Augustus that we may child; and in the latter part of his life begin the second, and most perfect age of gave himself up so much to collections of sculpture and painting, as well as of poetry. this kind, that Plutarch reckons it among Augustus changed the whole appearance
of Rome itself; he found it ill built, and their rise, their flourishing, and their deleft it a city of marble. He adorned it cline, agree very well; and, as it were, with buildings, extremely finer than any tally with one another. Their style was it could boast before his time, and set off prepared, and a vast collection of fine all those buildings, and even the common works laid in, under the first period, or in streets, with an addition of some of the the times of the republic; in the second, finest statues in the world. Spence. or the Augustan age, their writers and art
ists were both in their highest perfection; $ 68. On the Decline of the Arts
, Elo- and in the third, from Tiberius to the quence, and Poetry, upon the Death of Antonines, they both began to languish ; Augustus.
and then revived a little; and at last sunk On the death of Augustus, though the totally together. arts, and the taste for them, did not suffer In comparing the descriptions of their so great a change, as appeared immedi- poets with the works of art, I should thereately in the taste of eloquence and poetry, fore choose to omit all the Roman poets afyet they must have suffered a good deal. ter the Antonines. Among them all, there There is a secret union, a certain kind of is perhaps no one whose omission need be sympathy between all the polite arts, regretted, except that of Claudian; and which makes them languish and flourish even as to him it may be considered, that together. The same circumstances are he wrote when the true knowledge of the either kind or unfriendly to all of them. arts was no more; and when the true taste The favour of Augustus, and the tran- of poetry was strangely corrupted and lost; quillity of his reign, was as a gentle dew even if we were to judge of it by his own from heaven, in a favourable season, that writings only, which are extremely better made them bud forth and flourish: and than any of the poets long before and long the sour reign of Tiberius, was as a sud- after him. It is therefore much better to den frost that checked their growth, and confine one's self to the three great ages, at last killed all their beauties. The va- than to run so far out of one's way for a nity, and tyranny, and disturbances of the single poet or two: whose authorities, times that followed, gave the finishing after all, must be very disputable, and instroke to sculpture as well as eloquence, deed scarce of any weight. Ibid. and to painting as well as poetry. The § 69. On DemostieNES. Greek artists at Rome were not so soon or I shall not spend any time upon the cirso much infected by the bad taste of the cumstances of Demosthenes’s life; they are court, as the Roman writers were: but it well known. The strong ambition which reached them too, though by slower and he discovered to excel in the art of speakmore imperceptible degrees. Indeed ing; the unsuccessfulness of his first atwhat else could be expected from such a teinpts; his unwearied perseverance in surrun of monsters as Tiberius, Caligula, mounting all the disadvantages that arose and Nero ? For these were the emperors from his person and address; his shutting under whose reigns the arts began to lan- himself up in a cave, that he might study guish; and they suffered so much from with less distraction; his declaiming by the their baleful influence, that the Roman sea-shore, that he might accustom himself writers soon after them speak of all the to the noise of a tumultuous assembly, and arts as being brought to a very low ebb. with pebbles in his mouth, that he might They talk of their being extremely fallen correct a defect in his speech; his practis. in general ; and as to painting, in parti- ing at home with a naked sword hanging cular, they represent it as in a most feeble over his shoulder, that he might check an and dying condition. The series of so ungraceful motion, to which he was submany good emperors, which happened ject; all those circumstances, which we after Domitian, gave some spirit again to learn from Plutarch, are very encouraging the arts; but soon after the Antonines, to such as study Eloquence, as they show they all declined apace, and, by the time how far art and application may avail, for of the thirty tyrants, were quite fallen, acquiring an excellence which nature seemso as never to rise again under any future ed unwilling to grant us. Blair. Roman
emperor. You may see by these two accounts I $ 70. Demosthenes imitated the manly have given you of the Roman poetry, and
Eloquence of PERICLES. of the other arts, that the great periods of
Despising the affected and florid man
ner which the rhetoricians of that
methods of insinuation; no laboured inlowed, Demosthenes returned to the for- troductions; but is like a man full of his cible and manly eloquence of Pericles; and subject, who, after preparing his audience, strength and vehemence form the princi- by a sentence or two, for hearing plain pal characteristics of his
style. Never had truths, enters directly on business. orator a liner field than Demosthenes in his
Blair, Olynthiacs and Philippics, which are his capital orations; and, no doubt, to the no § 71. DEMOSTHENES contrasted with bleness of the subject, and to that integrity
ÆSCHINES. and public spirit which eminently breathe Demosthenes appears to great advanin them, they are indebted for much of tage, when contrasted with Æschioes, in their merit. The subject is, to rouse the the celebrated oration “ Pro Corona." indignation of his countrymen against Phi- Æschines was his rival in business, and lip of Macedon, the public enemy of the personal enemy; and one of the most disliberties of Greece ; and to guard them tinguished orators of that age. But when against the insidious measures, by whic we read the two orations, Æschines is Chat crafty prince endeavoured to lay them feeble in comparison of Demosthenes
, and asleep to danger. In the prosecution of makes much less impression on the mind. this end, we see him taking every proper His reasonings concerning the law that method to animale a people, renowned for was in question, are indeed very subtile; justice, humanity and valour, but in many but his invective against Demosthenes is instances become corrupt and degenerate. general, and ill supported. Whereas, DeHe boldly taxes them with their venality, mosthenes is a torrent, that nothing can their indolence, and indifference to the resist. He bears down his antagonist with public cause; while at the same time, with violence; he draws his character in the all the art of an orator, he recalls the strongest colours; and the particular merit glory of their ancestors to their thoughts, of that oration is, that all the descriptions shews them that they are still a flourishing in it are highly picturesque. There runs and a powerful people, the natural protec. through it a strain of magnanimity aod tors of the liberty of Greece, and who high honour: the orator speaks with that wanted only the inclination to exert them- strength and conscious dignity which great selves, in order to make Philip tremble. actions and public spirit alone inspire. With his cotemporary orators, wbo were Both orators use great liberties with one in Philip's interest, and who persuaded the another; and, in general, that unrestrainpeople to peace, he keeps no measures, ed licence which ancient manners permitbut plainly reproaches them as the betray- ted, even to the length of abusive names ers of their country. He not only prompts and downright scurrility, as appears both to vigorous conduct, but he lays down the here and in Cicero's Philippics, hurts and plan of that conduct, he enters into par- offends a modern ear. What those ancient ticulars; and points out, with great ex- orators gained by such a manner in point actness, the measures of execution. This of freedom and boldness, is more than is the strain of these orations. They are compensated by want of dignity: which strongly animated ; and full of the impe- seems to give an advantage, in this retuosity and fire of public spirit. They spect, to the greater decency of modern proceed in a continued strain of inductions, speaking.
Ibid. consequences, and demonstrations, found. ed on sound reason. The figures which
§ 72. On the Style of DemosthENES. he uses, are never sought after ; but al. The Style of Demosthenes is strong and ways rise from the subject. He employs concise, though sometimes, it must not be them sparingly indeed; for splendour and dissembled, harsh and abrupt. His words ornament are not the distinctions of this are very expressive; his arrangement is orator's composition. It is an energy of firm and manly; and though far from being thought, peculiar to himself, which formsunmusical, yet it seems difticult to find in bis character, and sets him above all him that studied, but concealed number, others. He appears to attend much more and rhythmus, which some of the ancient to things than to words. We forget the critics are fond of attributing to him. orator, and think of the business. He Negligent of those lesser graces, one would warms the mind, and impels to action. rather conceive him to have aimed at that He has no parade and ostentation ; no subline which lies in sentiment. His ac
tions and pronunciation are recorded to arranged with great propriety. His method kave been uncommonly vehement and is indeed more clear than that of Demosardent; which, from the manner of his thenes; and this is one advantage which composition, we are naturally led to be- he has over him. We find every thing in lieve. The character which one forms of its proper place; he never attempts to him, from reading his works, is of the move till he has endeavoured to convince; austere, rather than the gentle kind. He and in moving, especially the softer pasis, on every occasion, grave, serious, pas- sions, he is very successful, No man, that sionate; takes every thing on a high tone; ever wrote, knew the power and force of Rever lets himself down, nor attempts any words better than Cicero. He rolls them thing like pleasantry. If any fault can be along with the greatest beauty and pomp; found in his admirable eloquence, it is, that and in the structure of his sentences, is he sometimes borders on the hard and dry. curious and exact to the highest degree. He may be thought to want smoothness He is always full and flowing, never aland grace; which Dionysius of Halicar- rupt. He is a great amplifier of every nassus attributes to his imitating too close subject; magnificent, and in his sentily the manner of Thucydides, who was ments highly moral. His manner is on his great model for Style, and whose his- the whole diffuse, yet it is often happily tory he is said to have written eight times varied, and suited to the subject. In tris over with his own hand. But these defects four orations, for instance, against Catiare far more than compensated, by that line, the tone and style of each of them, admirable and masterly force of masculine particularly the first and last, is very difeloquence, which, as it overpowered all ferent, and accommodated with a great who heard it, cannot, at this day, be read deal of judgment to the occasion, and the without emotion.
situation in which they werespoken. When After the days of Demosthenes, Greece a great public object roused his mind ,and lost her liberty, eloquence of course lan- demanded indignation and force, he deguished, and relapsed again into the feeble parts considerably from that loose and demanner introduced by the Rhetoricians and clamatory manner to which he inclines at Sophists. Demetrius Phalereus, who lived other times, and becomes exceedingly coin the next age to Demosthenes, attained gent and vehement. This is the case in indeed some character, but he is repre. his orations against Antony, and in those sented to us as a flowery, rather than a per- too against Verres and Catiline. Ibid. suasive speaker, who aimed at grace rather than substance. “ Delectabat Athe
§ 74. Defects of Cicero. “ nienses,” says Cicero, “ magis quam Together with those high qualities 66 inflammabat.” He amused the Athe- which Cicero possesses, he is not exempt “ nians, rather than warmed them.” And from certain defects, of which it is necesafter this time, we hear of no more Gre- sary to take notice. For the Ciceronian cian orators of any note.
Blair. Eloquence is a pattern so dazzling by its
beauties, that, if not examined with accu. $ 73. On CICERO.
racy and judgment, it is apt to betray The object in this period most worthy the unwary into a faulty imitation; and to draw our attention, is Cicero himself; I am of opinion, that it has sometimes whose name alone suggests every thing produced this effect. In most of his orathat is splendid in oratory. With the his- tions, especially those composed in the tory of his life, and with his character, as earlier part of his life, there is too much a man and a politician, we have not at art; even carried the length of ostentation. present any direct concern. We consider There is too visible a parade of eloquence. him only as an eloquent speaker; and, in He seems often to aim at obtaining adthis view, it is our business to remark both miration, rather than at operating conhis virtues, and his defects, if he has any. viction, by wbat he says. Hence, on His virtues are, beyond controversy, emi- some occasions, he is showy, rather than nently great. In all his orations there is solid; and diffuse, where he ought to have high art, He begins, generally, with a re- been pressing. His sentences are, at all gular exordium; and with much prepa- times, round and sonorous; they cannot ration and insinuation prepossesses the be accused of monotony, for they possess hearers, and studies to gain their affections. variety of cadence; but, from too great His method is clear, and his arguments are a study of magnificence, he is sometimes