« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
one of his happiest imitators, for he is ra- genius labours after beauties only. Apolther to be called an imitator than a trans- lonius is more correct than Homer, and lator: but the English reader will not form Jonson than Shakspeare; but Apolloa just idea of the merits of Anacreon from nius and Jonson are coldly approved, those Bacchanalian songs which so fre- while Homer and Shakspeare are beheld quently appear under the title of Anacre- with astonishment almost equal to idolaontic. Indeed there is no good translation try. It should, however, be remarked of Anacreon: neither is it desirable that to the honour of Apollonius, that the judithere should be. Dissolute and unprin- cious Virgil borrowed several of his most cipled persons may wish to turn a penny celebrated similes from him; and perby exciting the libidinous passions, or haps he is not to be ranked among the recommending drunkenness, under the poëlæ minores. Oppian has met with the name of Anacreon; but they deserve the usual fate of grammarians, and has scarcely contempt of all who regard the happiness been read; but the reader of taste will of society. The passions and tendencies yet find many passages, which, if they to voluptuousness and intemperance are are not sublime, he must confess to be sufficiently strong without the stimuli of beautiful. licentious rhyme.
Tryphiodorus has been introduced to The passion of love was never more the English reader by the excellent transstrongly felt or described than by the lation of the ingenious Mr. Merrick. sensible Sappho. The little Greek ode Homer he certainly imitated, and has sucpreserved by Longinus, the metre of which ceeded in the imitation. Copies taken by derives its name from her, has been trans- great masters, though inferior in general, lated by Mr. Philips with all the air of an yet in some parts commonly rival their original. The Latin translation of Ca- original
. Tryphiodorus' reaches not the tullus appears
much inferior to that of our sublimer flights of the Mæonian bard, but countryman. The Greek indeed is much he sometimes follows his less daring excorrupted, and, as it now stands, is less cursions at no distant interval. It is pleasing than the English. Every one, enough to recommend him to general apwho on reading it recollects its occasion, probation, that with a moderate portion must lament that so warm a passion, so of Homer's fire he has more correctness. feelingly represented, was excited by an He may be read with advantage not only improper object. She wrote also a tender in a poetical, but in an historical view. hymn to Venus. But her works are hap. Where Homer discontinued the thread of pily lost,
his story, Tryphiodorus has taken it up. Scaliger, whose judgment, though some. Indeed this poem is a necessary suppletimes called in question, ought certainly to ment to the Iliad, without which the have great weight, bestowed very extra- reader is left unsatisfied. Tryphiodorus is ordinary praises on the writings of Op- said to have written another poem, called pian; a poet who, though he has been Odvoceta del toypapparn, in which he has compared to Virgil in his Georgics, is omitted, through each book, the letter only perused by the curious in Grecian li- · which marked the number of it. Such a terature, and is known only by name to kind of composition is trifling and beneath the common reader. The emperor Cara- a man of genius; but it must be allowed calla, under whom he flourished, is said to to be a work of great difficulty, and conhave been so charmed with his poems, as sequently a proof of great application. to have ordered him a stater for each Nor ought it to injure the character of
Modern critics will, however, dare Tryphiodorus as a poet, but to be viewed to call in question the taste of Caracalla. as the wanton production of an ingenious, The works of Oppian consisted of ha- but ill-employed grammarian. If Homer lieutics, cynogetics, and ixeutics, the latter wrote the Battle of the Frogs and Mice, of which have perished by the injuries of and Virgil descanted on the Goat, without time. He was a grammarian, which, in losing the dignity of their characters, inthe idea of the Greeks, meant a professed ferior writers may indulge the inoffensive scholar; and, in every age, the poems of sallies of whim, without the imputation of men who professed literature have been folly or puerility. less admired than the vigorous and wil In the perusal of some of these, and productions of uncultivated genius. The other of the minor poets whose works are former are contented to avoid faults, but extant, the lover of the Grecian muse finds
a pleasing variety, after reading the more and moral sayings, and has with great dexsublime and beautiful productions of Ho- terity compared them with parallel pasmer. But I think it would be, upon the sages out of the inspired writers* : by whole, a benefit to literature, if there which it appears, that there is no book in could be a general clearance of rubbish; the world so like the style of the Holy and if the minor poets, like the stars at Bible as Homer. The noble historians sun-rise, could be made to disappear en
abound with moral reflections upon the tirely on the effulgence of a Homer, a conduct of human life; and powerfully Virgil, and a Milton. Life is too short instruct both by precepts and examples. to be consumed in the study of mediocrity. They paint vice and villany in horrid
Knox's Essays. colours; and employ all their reason and $ 159. The Classics exhibit a beautiful eloquence to pay due honours to virtue, System of Morals.
and render undissembled goodness amiAnother great advantage of studying able in the eye of mankind. They exthe Classics is, that from a few of the press a true reverence for the established best of them may be drawn a good system religion, and a hearty concern for the and beautiful collection of sound morals. prosperous state of their native country. There the precepts of a virtuous and happy
Blackwali. life are set off in the light and gracefulness of clear and moving expression; and elo
160. On the Morality of Juvenal. quence is meritoriously employed in vin- I do not wonder when I hear that some dicating and adorning religion. This prelates of the church have recommended makes deep impressions on the minds of the serious study of Juvenal's moral parts young gentlemen, and charms them with to their clergy. That manly and vigorous the love of goodness, so engagingly dres- author, so perfect a master in the serious sed and so beautifully commended. The and sublime way of satire, is not unacOffices, Cato Major, Tusculan Questions, quainted with any of the excellencies of &c. of Tully, want not much of Epictetus good writing; but is especially to be adand Antonine in morality, and are much mired and valued for his exalted morals. superior in language. Pindar writes in an He dissuades from wickedness, and exhorts excellent strain of piety as well as poetry; to goodness, with vehemence of zeal that he carefully wipes off all the aspersions that can scarce be dissembled, and strength of old fables had thrown upon the deities; reason that cannot easily be resisted. He and never speaks of things or persons does not praise virtue and condemn vice, sacred, but with the tenderest caution and as one has a favourable, and the other a reverence. He praises virtue and religion malignant aspect upon a man's fortune in with a generous warmth; and speaks of its this world only; but he establishes the uneternal rewards with a pious assurance. A alterable distinctions of good and evil; and notable critic has observed, to the perpe- builds his doctrine upon the immoveable tual scandal of this poet, that his chief, if foundations of God and infinite Provinot only excellency, lies in his moral sen- dence. tences. Indeed Pindar is a great master of His morals are suited to the nature and this excellency, for which all men of sense dignity of an immortal soul; and, like it, will admire him; and at the same time be derive their original from heaven. astonished at that man's honesty who slights
How sound and serviceable is that wonsuch an excellency; and that man's under. derful notion in the thirteenth satiret, standing, who cannot discover many more That an inward inclination to do an ill excellencies in him. I remember, in one thing is criminal: that a wicked thought of his Olympic Odes, in a noble confi- stains the mind with guilt, and exposes the dence of his own genius, and a just con- offender to the punishment of Heaven, tempt of his vile and malicious adversaries, though it never ripen into action! A suithe compares himself to an eagle, and them able practice would effectually crush the to crows: and indeed he soars far above serpent's head, and banish a long and the reach and out of the view of noisy black train of mischiefs and miseries out futtering cavillers. The famous Greek of the world. What a scene of horror professor, Duport, has made an entertain- does he disclose, when in the same satiref, ing and useful collection of Homer's divine he opens to our view the wounds and
* Gnomologia Homerica, Cantab. 1660.
+ V. 208, &c.
# V. 192, &c. 210, &c.
gashes of a wicked conscience! The guilty siong upon the young scholar's mind, and reader is not only terrified at dreadful train him up to the early love and imitacracks and flashes of the heavens, but looks tion of their excellencies. pale and trembles at the thunder and light- Plautus, Catullus, Terence, Virgil, Honing of the poet's awful verse. The no- race, Ovid, Juvenal, Tibullus, Propertius,
, tion of true fortitude cannot be better sta- cannot be studied too much, or gone over ted than it is in the eighth satire*, where too often. One reading may suffice for he pressingly exhorts his reader always to Lucan, Statius, Valerius Flaccus, Silius prefer his conscience and principles before Italicus, Claudian; though there will be his life; and not be restrained from doing frequent occasions to consult some of their his duty, or to be awed into a compliance particular passages. The same may be with a villanous proposal, even by the said with respect to the Greek poets: Hopresence and command of a barbarous ty- mer, Pindar, Anacreon, Aristophanes, Eurant, or the nearest prospect of death in all ripides, Sophocles, Theocritus, Callimathe circumstances of cruelty and terror. chus, must never be entirely laid aside ; Must not a professor of Christianity be and will recompense as many repetitions ashamed of himself for harbouring uncha- as a man's time and affairs will allow. ritable and bloody resentments in his breast, Hesiod, Orpheus, Theognis, Æschylus, when he reads and considers thatinvaluable Lycophron, Apollonius Rhodius, Nicanpassage against revenge in the above-men- der, Aratus, Oppian, Quintus Calaber, tioned thirteenth satiret? where he argues Dionysius Periegetes, and Nonnus, will against that fierce and fatal passion, from the amply reward the labour of one careful ignorance and littleness of that mind which perusal. Sallust, Livy, Cicero, Cæsar, and is possessed with it; from the honour and Tacitus, deserve to be read several times; generosity of passing by and forgiving in- and read them as oft as you please, they juries; from the example of those wise and will always afford fresh pleasure and immild men, Chrysippus and Thales, and provement. I cannot
place the two especially that of Socrates, that undaunted Plinies after these illustrious writers, who champion and martyr of natural religion; flourished, indeed, when the Roman lanwho was so great a proficient in the best guage was a little upon the declension : philosophy, that he was assured his malici- but by the vigour of a great genius, and ous prosecutors and murderers could do wondrous industry, raised themselves in him no hurt; and had not himself the least a great measure above the discourageinclination or rising wish to do them any; ments and disadvantages of the age they who discoursed with that cheerful gravity, lived in. In quality and learning, in exand graceful composure, a few moments perience of the world, and employments before he was going to die, as if he had of importance in the government, they been going to take possession of a king- were equal to the greatest of the Latin dom; and drank off the poisonous bowl, writers, though excelled by some of them as a potion of Immortality. Blackwall.
The elder Pliny's natural history is a $ 161. Directions for reading the Classics. work learned and copious, that entertains
Those excellencies of the Ancients, you with all the variety of nature itself, which I have accounted for, seem to be and is one of the greatest monuments of sufficient to recommend them to the esteem universal knowledge, and unwearied apand study of all lovers of good and polite plication, now extant in the world. His learning: and that the young scholar may geography, and description of herbs, trees study them with suitable success and im- and animals, are of great use to the unprovement, a few directions may be proper derstanding of all the authors of Rome to be observed; which I shall lay down in and Greece. this chapter. 'Tis in my opinion a right Pliny the younger is one of the finest method to begin with the best and most wits that Italy has produced; he is approved Classics; and to read thuse au- correct and elegant, has a florid and thors first, which must often be read over. gay fancy, tempered with maturity and Besides, that the best authors are easiest to soundness of judgment. Every thing in be understood, their noble sense and ani- him is exquisitely studied; and yet, in mated expression will
make strong impres- general speaking, every thing is natural * V. 79-85.
+ V. 181, &c. .
and easy. In his incomparable oration tage. The Grecian Classics nextin value to in honour of Trajan, he has frequent and those we have named, are, Diodorus Sisurprising turns of wit, without playing culus, Dionysius Halicarnassensis, Strabo, and tinkling upon sounds. He has ex- Ælian, Arrian's Expedition of Alexander hausted the subject of panegyric, using the Great, Polyænus, Herodian; the Latin every topic, and every delicacy of praise. are, Hirtius, Justin, Quintus Curtius, FloHerodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Pla- rus, Nepos, and Suetonius. to, Demosthenes, are of the same merit with a little allowance, admit that observaamong the Greeks : to which, I think, I tiou to be just, that he who would commay add Polybius, Lucian, and Plutarch. pletely understand
one Classic must diliPolybius was nobly born, a man of deep gently read all. When a young gentlethought, and perfect master of his sub- man is entered upon a course of these stuject: he discovers all the mysteries of dies, I would not have him to be discou. policy, and presents to your view the in- raged at the checks and difficulties he will most springs of those actions which he de- sometimes meet with: if upon close and scribes : his remarks and maxims have due consideration he cannot entirely mas. been regarded, by the greatest men both ter any passage, let him proceed by conin civil and military affairs, as oracles of stant and regular reading, he will either prudence: Scipio was his friend and ad- find in that author he is upon, or some mirer; Cicero, Strabo, and Plutarch, other on the same subject, a parallel place have honoured him with high commend that will clear the doubt. ations; Constantine the Great was his di. The Greek authors wonderfully explain ligent reader ; and Brutus abridged him and illustrate the Roman. Learning came for his own constant use. Lucian is an late to Rome, and all the Latin writers fol. universal scholar, and a prodigious wit: low the plans that were laid out before he is Attic and neat in his style, clear in them by the great masters of Greece. his narration, and wonderfully facetious They every where imitate the Greeks, in his repartees; he furnishes you with and in many places translate 'em. Comalmost all the poetical history in such a pare 'em together, and they will be a comdiverting manner, that you will not easily ment to one another; you will by this forget it; and supplies the most dry and means be enabled to pass a more certain barren wit with a rich plenty of materials. judgment upon the humour and idiom of Plutarch is an author of deep sense and both languages; and both the pleasure and vast learning; though he does not reach advantage of your reading will be double. his illustrious predecessors in the graces
Ibid. of his language, his morals are sound and noble, illustrated with a perpetual
§ 163. On the Study of the New Testa
ment. variety of beautiful metaphors and comparisons, and enforced with very remark
The classic scholar must by no means able stories, and pertinent examples : in be so much wanting to his own duty, his lives there is a complete account of pleasure and improvement, as to neglect all the Roman and Grecian antiquities, the study of the New Testament, but of their customs, and affairs of peace and must be perpetually conversant in those war; those writings will furnish a capa- inestimable writings which have all the ble and inquisitive reader with a curious treasures of divine wisdom, and the words variety of characters, with a very valuable of eternal life in them. The best way store of wise remarks and sound politics. will be to make them the first and last of The surface is a little rough, but under all your studies, to open and close the day lie vast quantities of precious ore.
with that sacred book, wherein you have Blackwall. a faithful and most entertaining history
of that blessed and miraculous work of $ 162. The subordinute Classics not to the redemption of the world; and sure di. be neglected.
rections how to qualify and entitle yourself Every repetition of these authors will for the great salvation purchased by Jesus. bring the reader fresh profit and satisfac- This exercise will compose your thoughts tion. The rest of the Classics must by no into the sweetest serenity and cheerfulness; means be neglected; but ought once to be and happily consecrate all your time and carefully read over, and may ever after be studies to God. After you have read the occasionally consulted with much advan. Greek Testament once over with care and
deliberation, I humbly recommend to your tain-head of true sense and sublimity; frequent and attentive perusal, these fol. teach them the first and infallible princilowing chapters:
ples of convincing and moving eloquence; St. Matthew 5. 6. 7. 25. 26. 27. 28.- and reveal all the mystery and delicacy of St. Mark 1.13.—St. Luke 2. 9. 15. 16. good writing. While they judiciously dis23. 24. -St. John 1. 11. 14. 15. 16. 17. cover the excellencies of other authors, 19. 20. -Acts 26. 27. -Romans 2. 8. they successfully shew their own; and are 12.—Cor. 3. 9. 13. 15.- -2 Cor. 4. glorious examples of that sublime they 6. 11.
Ephes. 4. 5. 6. -Philipp. 1. praise. They take off the general distaste. 2. 3.- -Coloss. 1. 3. -1 Thess. 2. 5. fulness of precepts; and rules, by their
-1 Tim. 1. 6. -2 Tim. 2. 3. dexterous management, have beauty as well Philemon. -Heb. 1. 4. 6. 11. 12.- as usefulness. They were, what every true i St. Peter all.- -2 St. Peter all.- -St. critic must be, persons of great reading Jude. -1 St. John 1. 3.- -Revel. 1. and happy memory, of a piercing sagacity 18. 19. 20.
and elegant taste. They praise without In this collection you will find the Book flattery or partial favour; and censure of God, written by the evangelists, and without price or envy. We shall still have apostles, comprised in a most admirable a completer notion of the perfections and and comprehensive epitome. A true critic beauties of the ancients, if we read the
choicest authors in our own tongue, and will discover numerous instances of every style in perfection ; every grace and orna
some of the best writers of our neighbour ment of speech more chaste and beautiful
nations, who always have the Ancients in than the most admired and shining passages view, and write with their spirit and judg
ment. of the secular writers.
We have a glorious set of poets,
of In particular, the description of God, whom I shall only mention a few, which and the future state of heavenly glory, in are the chief; Spenser, Shakspeare, MilSt. Paul and St. Peter, St. James and St. ton, Waller, Denham, Cowley, Dryden, John, as far transcend the descriptions of Prior, Addison, Pope; who are inspired Jupiter and Olympus, which Homer, and with the true spirit of their predecessors Pindar, and Virgil, give us, as the thunder of Greece and Rome; and by whose imand lightning of the heavens do the rat- mortal works the reputation of the English tling and flashes of a Salmoneus; or the poetry is raised much above that of any eternal Jehovah is superior to the Pagan language in Europe. Then we have prose deities. In all the New Testament, espe- writers of all professions and degrees, and cially these select passages, God delivers to upon a great variety of subjects, true admankind laws of mercy, mysteries of wis- mirers and great masters of the old Classics dom, and rules of happiness, which fools and Critics; who observe their rules, and and madmen stupidly neglect, or impious. write after their models. We have Raleigh, ly scorn; while all the best and brightest Clarendon, Temple, Taylor, Tillotson, beings in the universe regard them with sa- Sbarp, Sprat, South-with a great many cred attention, and contemplate them with others, both dead and living, that I have wonder and transporting delight. These not time to name, though I esteem them studies, with a suitable Christian practice not inferior to the illustrious few I have (which they so loudly call for, and so pa- mentioned; who are in high esteem with thetically press) will raise you above all all readers of taste and distinction, and will vexatious fears, and deluding hopes; and be long quoted as bright examples of good keep you from putting an undue value
sense and fine writing. Horace and Aris. upon either the eloquence or enjoyments toile will be read with greater delight and
Blackwall. improvement, if we join with them the § 164. The old Critics to be studied.
Duke of Buckingham's Essay on Poetry,
Roscommon's Translation of Horace's That we may still qualify ourselves the Art of Poetry, and Essay on Translated better to read and relish the Classics, we Verse, Mr. Pope's Essay on Criticism, and must seriously study the old Greek and La. Discourses before Homer, Dryden's Critin critics. Of the first are Aristotle, Dio- tical Prefaces and Discourses, all the Specnysius Longinus, and Dionysius of Ha- tators that treat upon Classical Learning, licarnassus: of the latter are Tully, Horace, particularly the justly admired and celeand Quinctilian. These are excellent authors, which lead their readers to the foun- Lost, Dacier upon Aristotle's Poetics, Bos
brated critique upon Milton's Paradise 1
of this world.