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cannot render them entirelý agreeable to sal reputation of the authors. The transa judicious reader of modern times, for lator, though he comprehended his author, whom the artifice is not necessary. and was faithful as to the meaning, was

I read Xenophon's Memorabilia in perhaps a poor writer, unable to commuGreek, while at school, and I was de- nicate properly the thoughts which he lighted with them. I read them after conceived with a sufficient degree of acwards in an English translation, and I curacy. The blame unjustly fell on the found them in many places tedious and original author, and on his admirers. He insipid. The translation was apparently was supposed to have written poorly, and performed with sufficient fidelity; but it they to have admired him only from modid not affect or strike with any peculiar tives of pride and pedantical affectation. force. I have experienced effects exactly Some, whose ignorance prevented them similar to this in the perusal of other from deciding fairly, rejoiced to see that books in the most celebrated translations. ancient learning, which they possessed To what shall I attribute them? Are not, despised; and eagerly joined in atthere such charms in the Greek language, tributing to arrogance and pedantry, all as are able to give a value to sentiments praise of Greek and Latin, to which they which of themselves have no recommen- were inveterate enemies, as well as perfect dation ? Certainly not: Bụt there is a strangers. Thus Greek and Latin studies conciseness, and, at the same time, a force fell into disrepute. and comprehension of expression in the But the supposition that the pleasure Greek language besides its harmony, which men feel in reading autbors in the which, I think, the English caonot equal. ancient languages, arises solely, or chiefly, On the mind of a reader, who completely from the pride of possessing a skill in understands the language of a Greek au- those languages, is too unreasonable to be thor, the ideas are impressed with more generally admitted. Of the many thouvivacity and perspicuity by the original, sand admirers of the ancients, who, in than by any translation into modern lan- every part of their conduct and studies, guages. The ancient Greek authors, it is displayed great judgment and love of acknowledged, paid great attention to the truth, must we suppose the greater part, art of composition, to the choice and ar- either deceived in the estimate of the aurangement of words, and to the structure thors whom they read, or actuated by of periods; so as to communicate the pride, and mistaking the self-complacency idea, or raise the sentiment intended, with of conscious learning and ability, for the peculiar force and precision. Xenophon pleasure naturally arising from the study is known to have been one of the most of a fine author? Why is not a man, who successful cultivators of the art of com- understands Welsh, German, Dutch, or position; and it cannot be supposed, that any other language not remarkable for liall who have undertaken to translate his terary productions, as much inclined to works, though they might understand the extol the writers in those languages, as matter, could have equalled him in style the reader of Greek and Latin, if the moand expression, for which his country and tive for praise consists only in possessing himself were remarkably celebrated. To a knowledge of a language unknown to represent him adequately they must have the majority of his countrymen or compossessed a style in English equal to his panions ? style in Greek

In accounting for the great esteem in The pleasure which a reader feels in which the Greek and Latin authors are the perusal of a Greek author, has been held, much must be attributed to the attributed to the pride of conscious supe- LANGUAGES SOLELY, exclusively of thought, riority, over those who are not able to doctrine, or method. Many mere English unlock the treasures of which he keeps a readers, who are but poorly qualified to key. This opinion has owed its origin give an opinion on the subject, will imto the poor appearance which some of the pute it to pedantry, when I say, that those most celebrated authors of antiquity have languages possess inherent beauties, and made, when presented to the public in an aptitude for elegant and expressive the dress of a modern language. The composition, to which the best among moEnglish reader has read translations of dern languages can make no just pretenthe classics, without being able to disco- sion. Till, therefore, an an Greek ver any excellence adequate to the univer- author can be translated into a language


equal to his own, it will be unjust and un- ciate highly the skill of him who can reasonable to form a final judgment of paint the manners to the life. The moral him from the best translation. It is bet- painter must be furnished with a taste ter to read a good author in a translation, equal to that of any manual artist, and than not to read him at all. I only con- he must also possess a peculiar penetratend against the injustice of condemning tion. He must know mankind, not only original authors in consequence of the in a theoretical view, but also from actual unavoidable imperfections of all transla- experience, and in the common transactions into the modern languages of Eu- tions of human intercourse. He must be rope.

accustomed to watch those minute cirBut, to return to Xenophon's Memora- cumstances of conversation and beliaviour, bilia, with the consideration of which I which escape the notice of a superficial began this paper. It has been usual, observer. He must trace words and acamong the admirers of Socratic morality, tions to their motives. He must, in a to compare it with the evangelical. I am word, possess a sagacity with which few ready to acknowledge the great excellence are distinguished ; and he must have had of it; but I see clearly, that it is no more many opportunities for its exertion. to be compared to the gospel, than the

The ancient critics refer every thing to river Nile to the Pacific Ocean. It seems

Homer. They affirm that Homer was the not to flow from the heart, and it cannot first who wrote characters, and that the reach its recesses. It knows little of unic characteristical writers derived the idea of versal charity. It taught not the golden their works from him. Casaubon introrule of doing to others as we wish they duces in his preface a fine quotation from should do unto us.

the thirteenth book of the Iliad † ; a speI cannot, however, avoid recommend- cimen which seems to justify the opinion. ing the Socralicæ Charte, or the fine It is a very lively picture of the coward Ethics of Socrates, as preserved by Xe- and of the brave man. But Homer every nophon and Plato, to every student who where discriminates his characters, and is designed for the sacred profession. He blends beautiful epithets, which mark his will there find a store of fine observations, beroes with peculiar distinction. It is on maxims, and precepts, which he may re

all sides confessed, that, in this respect, lie commend with authority and success to is greatly superior to Virgil. his people, under the sanction, and with

Theophrastus is the earliest author exthe improvements, of Christianity*. tant who has professedly written characDr. Edwards's attempt to discover a

ters. Varro wrote a book tepi xapartnsystem in the Memorabilia of Socrates, pwr, or concerning characters, but his notwithstanding its ingenuity, seems to

work is not preserved, and it is imagined be unsuccessful. It resembles the inge- that he treated on the characters, or disnious efforts of many critics to reduce criminating marks of style and composiHorace's Epistle ail Pisones on the art of tion. Others think it was on the different poetry, to the methodical regularity of a

kinds of eloquence. technical recipe for making poems. Some

Theophrastus flourished in the time of critics, like the old gardeners, have no

Alexander the Great, and about three idea of beauty, unless every thing is laid

hundred years before the Christian æra. out by the line and rule, the level and the His name was Tyrtamus; but Aristotle square. But mathematical precision is changed it to Theophrastus; because his not required in moral disquisition.

elocution had something in it of divine, Knox's Winter Evenings.

and the word expresses that idea I. Ho $ 150. On the Characters of T'HEOPHRAS

was celebrated as a satural philosopher, Tus and other Writers of Charuclers.

and his school was frequented by four

thousand scholars. He lived to the age If the artist whose pencil represents of one hundred and seven, and wrote a the features with fidelity is greatly es- multitude of treatises. teemed, it is surely reasonable to appre- But I must not deviate from the pre

* Socraticæ Chartæ quem non fecêre disertum? HOR.

Socratic lore with eloquence inspires.

+ Lib. xiji. ver. 278. { Θεοφρασος προτερον εκαλείτο Τυρταμος: Δια δε το θειως φραζειν, υπο Αρισοτελους εκληθη Ενφρασος, επα Θεοφρασος. SUIDAS.

sent object, which is the consideration of those of modern times in modern EuTheophrastus as the delineator of moral rope. characters.

He must possess good sense, and some His book contains twenty-six chapters, knowledge of the world, who can relish in each of which a character is delineated. Theopbrastus. To a mere scholar, the There is no doubt but that much of the work must appear defective and disgustful. work is lost, something interpolated, and It has nothing in it of system. The mea great deal transposed. It is but a frag- thod in each character is often confused, ment; yet, like the fragment of a dia- probably from the injuries of time, and mond, curious and valuable.

possibly from the age of the author; for Menander is said to have been the Theophrastus was no less than ninety-nine scholar of Theophrastus ; and Theo- years when he composed it, as he informs phrastus has been therefore called the us himself, though Laertius and some of Father of Comedy. The characters cer- the critics pretend to know better. One tainly contain many touches of such comic might naturally have expected more reguhumour as might adorn the stage. larity in a disciple of the Stagirite.

They begin with a formality which Casaubon published a most excellent would induce one to expect rather a dry edition of Theophrastus. Casaubon being and philosophical treatise on the subjects an admirable scholar, his notes are very proposed, than a comic picture. The de- instructive and entertaining. That he finition of the abstract and concrete re- fully entered into the spirit of his author, sembles the dry and methodical style of I much doubt. I am certain he osten Aristotle; but the reader is agreeably misunderstood him; but, at the same surprised to find the careless ease and time, his notes are valuable. Theophraslively painting of Horace.

tus requires not a profusion of learned It must be owned that Theophrastus notes ; but, nevertheless, he has had comappears not to have been possessed of any mentators remarkably prolix. Needham's great delicacy. He pursues his subject edition is tediously dull, and in no great so far, as frequently to lead his readers to estimation. Newton's is, I think, the uncleanly scenes. But the ancients, with best adapted to young persons. Newton all their improvements, were inferior to has made the author easy to be understood, the moderns in that purity of taste, which and has explained many passages and excludes whatever is offensive to the many single expressions with great insenses or imagination. What can be genuity. more indelicate than the writings of Aris- But I must not enter into the extensive tophanes, which the refined Athenians subject of editions. I mean rather to greatly admired?

point out the merits of the authors themTo judge of Theophrastus, a reader selves, or to mention any little circummust divest himself of that narrowness of stances respecting them which may intermind which leads to suppose no state of est the student of polite letters. manners right or tolerable but its own. Bruyere stands next in general estimaThe French have often displayed that tion to the ancient Theophrastus. His fastidious delicacy which has prevented work has been much admired, and consethem from perceiving pleasure in the quently produced many bad imitators. most celebrated works of antiquity. Even The characters which he draws are supHomer was once 100 gross for the literary posed to be personal ; yet most of them beaux of Paris.

are capable of general application. There Theophrastus, there is little doubt, re- is a great deal of singular sagacity in presented the Athenians as he found them; them, and much knowledge of the world and it is a very curious set of pictures may be derived from them. Whatever which he has bequeathed to posterity. We knowledge of the world can be acquired find, what indeed might reasonably be without mixing too much in its follies, is expected, that men's manners were, three certainly desirable; but the wisdom hundred years before the Christian æra, bought' by actual experience usually much like those in our own century. Men costs too high a price. The translation were then dissemblers, they were misers, of Theophrastus, which Bruyere has prethey were triflers, they were lovers of no- fixed, is by no means masterly. Indeed, velty to excess; they had a thousand I rather consider the addition of Theoother failings, in every respect resembling phrastus, as a screen to hide the persona


lities included in the author's own cha- probable in any given situation, than such racters. He wished to have his work in- representations faithfully exhibited. One troduced to the reader's notice as an imi- circumstance has prevented so much good tation of Theophrastus. But it is not so; from being derived from the paintings of it is a work greatly superior. It has ex- characters as might have been, and has actness and force. It has wit and satire. even caused it to be productive of evil. It has elegance. But, with all its excel- This is no other than a proneness to perlencies, there are few books which sooner sonal satire and invective. Moral painttire the reader. The mind loves a con- ings have too often been little else but nexion of thought, at least for a page or

severe caricatures of excellent persons two, when its attention is once secured. whose virtues excited envy. It delights in roving for a short time;

Knox's Winter Evenings. but it soon grows weary, and seeks satis

§ 151. On Cicero. faction in confining its attention to a more

If among the Latin Classics we name regular series of ideas. Chesterfield has strongly recommended shews the strength of his reason, and the

Tully, upon every subject he equally Bruyere, and indeed his book conduces brightness of his style. Whether he adgreatly to the good purpose of habituating dresses his friend in the most graceful neg. young minds to make observations on

ligence of a familiar letter, or moves his men and manners. The substance of auditors with laboured periods, and pasmuch of the more valuable part of Ches- sionate strains of manly oratory; whether terfield's advice will be found in Bruyere. he proves the majesty of God, and im

Bruyere well describes the effects of the external graces in the following pas- lime and pompous eloquence; or lays

mortality of human souls, in a more subsage: “La politesse n'inspire pas tou

down the rules of prudence and virtue, in jours la bonté, l'equité, la complaisance, " la gratitude ; elle en donne du moins he always expresses good sense in pure and

a more calm and even way of writing; “ les apparences, et fait paroître l'homme “ au dehors comme il devroit être inte proper language: he is learned and easy,

richly plain, and neat without affectation. rieurement.”

He is always copious, but never runs into I think I can discover a similarity of style, as well as sentiment, in the writings and though he says almost every thing that

a faulty luxuriance, nor tires his reader; of Chesterfield and Bruyere; and there

can be said upon his subject, yet you will is every reason to believe that Chester

scarce ever think he says too much. field had been an attentive student of

Blackwall. Bruyere.

An author of our own country, in a $ 152. On several Advantages which the book entitled Maxims and Characters,

Classics enjoyed. has imitated Bruyere with good success. It was among the advantages which It is lively and witty. There is at the the chief classics enjoyed, that most of them same time an inequality in the work, and were placed in prosperous and plentiful several of the descriptions are already an

circumstances of life, raised above anxi. tiquated.

ous cares, want and abject dependence. Pope is an admirable delineator of They were persons of quality and fortune, characters; nothing was ever more high- courtiers and statesmen, great travellers, ly finished than his character of Atticus. and generals of armies, possessed of the Addison is also particularly distinguished highest dignities and posts of peace and war, for his talent of moral painting. Fielding Their riches and plenty furnished them yields to few in the description of man- with leisure and means of study; and their ners; and if Smollett had 'tempered his employments improved them in knowledge fertile genius with a regard to decorum, and experience. How lively must they there is no doubt but he would have been describe those countries, and remarkable one of the first in this kind of excellence. places which they had attentively viewed

If the knowledge of human nature is with their own eyes! What faithsul and valuable, the power of delineating man- emphatical relations were they enabled to ners with fidelity is justly held in high make of those councils, in which they esteem. Nothing can contribute more to presided; of those actions in which they communicate a knowledge of the human were present and commanded! heart, and of the sentiments and conduct Herodotus, the father of history, be


sides the advantages of his travels and ge- Anacreon lived familiarly with Polycraneral knowledge, was so considerable in tes king of Samos: and his sprightly muse,

: power and interest, that he bore a chief naturally flowing with innumerable pleapart in expelling the tyrant Lygdamis, sures and graces, must improve in delicacy who had usurped upon the liberties of his and sweetness by the gaiety and refined native country.

conversation of that flourishing court. Thucydides and Xenophon were of dis- The bold and exalted genius of Pindar tinguished eminence and abilities, both in was encouraged and heightened by the hocivil and military affairs; were rich and nours he received from the champions and noble; had strong parts, and a careful princes of his age; and his conversation education in their youth, completed by with the heroes qualified him to sing their severe study in their advanced years: in praises with more advantage. The conshort they had all the advantages and ac- querors at the Olympic games scarce vacomplishments both of the retired and ac- lued their garlands of honour, and wreaths tive life.

of victory, if they were not crowned with Sophocles bore great offices in Athens; his never-fading laurels, and immortalized led their armies, and in strength of parts, by his celestial song. The noble Hiero and nobleness of thought and expression, of Syracuse was his generous friend and was not unequal to his colleague Pericles; patron; and the most powerful and polite who, by his commanding wisdom and elo- state of all Greece esteemed a line of his quence, influenced all Greece, and was said in praise of their glorious city, worth pubto thunder and lighten in his harangues. lic acknowledgments, and a statue. Most

Euripides, famous for the purity of the of the genuine and valuable Latin Classics Attic style, and his power in moving the had the same advantages of fortune and passions, especially the softer ones of grief improving conversation, the same encouand pity, was invited to, and generously ragements with these and the other celeentertained in, the court of Archelaus brated Grecians. king of Macedon. The smoothness of his Terence gained such a wonderful insight composition, his excellency in dramatic into the characters and manners of manpoetry, the soundness of his morals, con- kind, such an elegant choice of words, and veyed in the sweetest numbers, were so fluency of style, such judgment in the conuniversally admired, and his glory so far duct of his plot, and such delicate and spread, that the Athenians, who were charming turns, chiefly by the conversataken prisoners in the fatal overthrow un- tion of Scipio and Lælius, the greatest men, der Nicias, were preserved from perpetual and most refined wits, of their age. So exile and ruin, by the astonishing respect much did this judicious writer, and clean that the Sicilians, enemies and strangers, scholar, improve by his diligent applicapaid to the wit and fame of their illus- tion to study, and their genteel and learned trious countryman. As many as could conversation, that it was charged upon him repeat any of Euripides's verses, were re- by those who envied his superior excellenwarded with their liberty, and generously cies, that he published their compositions sent home with marks of honour.

under his own name.

His enemies bad a Plato, by his father's side sprung from mind that the world should believe those Codrus, the celebrated king of Athens; noblemen wrote his plays, but scarce beand by his mother's from Solon, their nó lieved it themselves; and the poet very less celebrated law-giver. To gain expe- prudently and genteelly slighted their marience, and enlarge his knowledge, he tra- lice, and made his great patrons the finest velled into Italy, Sicily, and Egypt. He compliment in the world, by esteeming the was courted and honoured by the greatest accusation as an honour, rather than men of the age wherein he lived; and will making any formal defence against it*. be studied and admired by men of taste Sallust, so famous for his neat expressive and judgment in all succeeding ages. In brevity, and quick turns, for truth of fact his works, are inestimable treasures of the and clearness of style, for the accuracy of best learning. In short, as a learned gen- his characters, and his piercing view into tleman

says, he writ with all the strength the mysteries of policy and motives of acof human reason, and all the charm of tion, cultivated bis rich abilities, and made human eloquence.

his acquired learning so useful to the world,

* See Prologue to Adelphi, v. 15-22.

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