« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
fu on Epic Poetry, Boileau's Art of Po- a whole and parts; what, the essence of etry, and Reflections on Longinus, Dr. probable, and even of natural fiction, as Felton's Dissertation on the Classics, and contributing to constitute a just dramatic Mr. Trapp's Poetical Prelections. These fable.
Harris. gentlemen make a true judgment and use of the Ancients: they esteem it a re- § 166. Plato, Aristotle, THEOPHRASputation to own they admire them, and Tus, and other Greek Authors of Philoborrow from them; and make a grateful sophical Criticism. return, by doing honour to their memories, and defending them against the attacks of
Much of this kind may be found in difsome over-forward wits, who furiously
ferent parts of Plato. But Aristotle, his envy their fame, and infinitely fall short of disciple, who may be called the systematheir merit.
tizer of his master's doctrines, has, in his
two treatises of poetry and rhetoric, with § 165. The Rise and Progress of Philo- such wonderful penetration developed evesophical Criticism.
ry part of the subject, that he may be justly
called the Father of Criticism, both from Ancient Greece, in its happy days, was the age when he lived, and from his truly the seat of Liberty, of Sciences, and of transcendant genius. The criticism which Arts. In this fair region, fertile of wit, this capital writer taught, has so intimate the Epic writers came first; then the Ly- a correspondence and alliance with philo, ric; then the Tragic; and, lastly, the His- sophy, that we can call it by no other torians, the Comic Writers, and the Ora- name, than that of Philosophical Cri. tors; each in their turns delighting whole ticism. multitudes, and commanding the attention To Aristotle succeeded his disciple Theoand admiration of all. Now, when wise phrastus, who followed his master's exand thinking men, the subtle investigators ample in the study of criticism, as may be of principles and causes, observed the won- seen in the catalogue of his writings, prederful effect of these works upon the hu- served by Diogenes Laertius. But all the man mind, they were prompted to inquire critical works of Theophrastus, as well as whence this should proceed; for that it of many others, are now lost. The prinshould happen merely from Chance, they cipal authors of the kind now remaining could not well believe,
in Greek, are Demetrius of Phalera, DioHere therefore we have the rise and ori- nysius of Halicarnassus, Dionysius Lon, gin of Criticism, which in its beginning ginus, together with Hermogenes, Aph
a deep and philosophical search ihonius, and a few others, “ into the primary laws and elements of Of these the most masterly seems to be
good writing, as far as they could be Demetrius, who was the earliest, and who “ collected from the most approved per. appears to follow the precepts, and even “ formances.”
the text of Aristotle, with far greater atIu this contemplation of authors, the tention than any of the rest. first critics not only attended to the powers ples, it must be confessed, are sometimes and different species of words; the force obscure, but this we rather impute to the of numerous composition, whether in prose destructive hand of time, which has preor verse ; the aptitude of its various kinds vented us from seeing many of the ori, to different subjects; but they farther con- ginal authors. sidered that, which is the basis of all, that Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the next in is to say, in other words, the meaning of order, may be said to have written with the sense. This led them at once into the judgment upon the force of numerous most curious of subjects; the nature of composition, not to mention other tracts man in general, the different characters on the subject of oratory, and those albo of men, as they differ in rank or age; their critical as well as historical. Longinus, reason and their passions; how the one who was in time far later than these, seems was to be persuaded, the others to be raised principally to have had in view the passions or calmed; the places or repositories to and the imagination, in the treating of which we may recur, when we want pro- which he has acquired a just applause, and per matter for any of these purposes. Be- expressed himself with a dignity suitable sides all this, they studied sentiments and to the subject. The rest of the Greek crimanners; wbat constitutes a work; what, tics, though they have said many useful
things, have yet so minutely multiplied commentary that could be given on them: the rules of art, and so much confined but few men are equal to the task of themselves to the oratory of the tribunal, translating. Aristotle. We certainly have that they appear of no great service, as to no translations of him in our language, but good writing in general. Harris. such as add to his obscurity, misrepresent $ 167. On some Passages in Aristotle's him greatly, and bring his name into disRhetoric: with miscellaneous Remarks
I cannot help remarking, that though on his Style, Genius, and Works.
this is an age in which many ingenious Aristotle established an intellectual em- authors delight in metaphysical researches, pire, more glorious and universal than the yet few attend to the writings of Aristotle. conquests of his pupil on this terrestrial Indeed many of the modern philosophers, globe. But he is a remarkable iostance who have done all they can to obscure of the caprice of human judgment, and the light of nature, common sense, and the revolutions of taste. After having revelation, by the clouds of metaphysics, been idolized with a veneration almost have not been sufficiently acquainted with blasphemous, he is now most undeservedly Greek, or with ancient learning, to be neglected. And yet his works, though able to improve themselves by the fine unentertaining and obscure to the reader philosophy of the polished ages of Greece who peruses them with the same attention and Rome. Like spiders in a dark and which he gives to a novel and a news- dirty corner, they have drawn flimsy cob. paper, abound with matter which cannot webs from themselves, with which they fail to enrich the mind, and to delight a cruelly endeavour to ensnare the giddy philosophical taste by its beautiful truth and unwary. and accuracy. In his three books on the
It is indeed my misfortune, if it be a rhetorical art, are many passages, which misfortune, to have no great idea of the describe human nature in ihe most curious utility of metaphysical disquisition. And manner, and with the greatest fidelity of though Aristotle's logic and metaphysics delineation. He characterizes the pecu- principally contributed, in the middle liarities of different ages in the life of man, ages, to render him the idol of the world, no less scientifically than a Hunter would I cannot help considering them as the least describe an anatomical subject, or a Lin- useful paris of his various lucubrations. næus a plant. The fine pictures of the They are indeed valuable curiosities, and manners of young and old men in the se- illustrious monuments of humaningenuity; cond book, are such as Horace has imi- but at the same time, when compared to tated but not equalled; such as might have his rhetorical, ethical, and political books, richly fertilized the imagination of a they are as the husk and the shell to the Shakspeare. The celebrated speech of pulp and the kernel. It was these, howJaques, is not equal to the accurate and ever, together with his erroneous physics, complete descriptions of the different cha- which induced the bigoted theologists to racters which mark the progressive stages number Aristotle among the saints in the of human existence as portrayed by the calendar, and to publish a history of his neglected Aristotle.
life and death; which concluded with asThe close, yet comprehensive language serting that Aristotle was the forerunner of Aristotle, will scarcely admit of a literal of Christ in philosophy, as John the Baptranslation. I shall not then attempt to tist had been in grace. Images of him deliver his sentiments in English, since I and of the Founder of Christianity were should not satisfy myself; but I will refer beheld at one time with equal veneration. the young
student to the admirable origi- It is said, that some sects taught their disnal, where, in the fourteenth, and a few ciples the categories instead of the casubsequent chapters of the second book techism, and read in the church a secof Rhetoric, he will be able to acquire a tion of the ethics instead of a chapter in very accurate knowledge of human nature. the Gospel. I bave pointed out these passages as a
If the exclamation which he is related specimen of Aristotle, with an intention to have made at his death be true, he apto obviate the prepossessions of those who pears to have possessed very rational ideas imagine that every part of his works is
on the subject of religion. abstruse and difficult of comprehension. A Christian might have said, as it is A good translation would be the best reported he said just before his dissolution, “ In sin and shame was I born, in and follower, who appears, by his works, sorrow have I lived, in trouble I depart; not only learned and ingenious, but, what 0! thou Cause of causes, have mercy up- is still more, an honest and a worthy man. on me!"-I found this anecdote of Aris. He likewise dwells too much upon the totle in the Centuries of Camerarius, but oratory of the tribunal, a fact no way surI am not certain of its authenticity. prising, when we consider the age in which
The style of Aristotle has been censured he lived: an age when tyrannic governas harsh and inelegant; but it must be re- ment being the fashion of the times, that membered, that few works, of which so nobler species of eloquence, I mean the much remains, are supposed to have suf- popular and deliberative, was, with all fered more from the carelessness or pre- things truly liberal, degenerated and sunk. sumption of transcribers, and the injuries The later Latin rhetoricians there is no of long duration, than the works of the need to mention, as they little help to ile great legislator of taste and philosophy. lustrate the subject in hand. I would only We may fairly attribute any chasms and repeat that the species of criticisın here roughnesses in the style to some rude mentioned, as far at least as handled by hand, or to accident. Strabo, indeed, the more able masters, is that which we relates, that the copies of Aristotle's have denominated Criticism Philosophical. works were greatly injured by damps, as
Harris. they were buried in the earth a long time after the death of their writer. When 169. Concerning the Progress of Criticism
in its second Species, the Historicalthey were brought to Rome, and transcri
Greek and Roman Critics, by whom bed, they were again injured by the hand of ignorance. It is not credible that so
this species of Criticism was cullivaled. accurate a writer should have neglected
As to the Criticism already treated, we those graces of style which the nature of find it not confined to any one particular his subjects admitted. The style of his author, but containing general rules of art, best works is truly pure and Attic; and either for judging or writing, confirmed Quinctilian, whose judgment ought to de- by the example not of one author, but of cide, expresses a doubt whether he should many. But we know from experience, pronounce him more illustrious for his that, in process of time, languages, cusknowledge, his copiousness, his acumen, toms, manners, laws, governments, and his variety, or the sweetness of his style. religions, insensibly change. The Mace
donian tyranny, after the fatal battle of 168. Philosophical Critics among the Greece; and the Roman tyranny, after the
Chæronea, wrought much of this kind in Romans.
fatal battles of Pharsalia and Philippi, Among the Romans, the first critic of carried it throughout the known world. note was Cicero; who, though far below Hence, therefore, of things obsolete the Aristotle in depth of philosophy, may be names became obsolete also; and authors, said, like him, to have exceeded all his who in their own age were intelligible and countrymen. As his celebrated treatise easy, in after days grew difficult and obconcerning the Orator is written in dia. scure. Here then we behold the rise of a logue, where the speakers introduced are second race of critics, the tribe of schothe greatest men of his nation, we have liasts, commentators, and explainers. incidentally an elegant sample of those These naturally attached themselves to manners, and that politeness, which were particular authors. Aristarchus, Didymus, peculiar to the leading characters during Eustathius, and many others, bestowed the Roman commonwealth. There we their labours upon Homer; Proclus and may see the behaviour of free and accom- Tzetzes upon Hesiod; the same Proclus plished men, before a baser address had set and Olympiodorus upon Plato; Simplithat standard, which has been too often cius, Ammonius, and Philoponus, upon taken for good breeding ever since. Aristotle; Ulpian upon Demosthene; Ma.
Next to Cicero came Horace; who crobius and Asconius upon Cicero; Caloften, in other parts of his writings, acts liergus upon Theocritus; Donatus upon the critic and scholar, but whose Art of Terence ; Servius upon Virgil; Acro and Poetry is a standard of its kind, and too Porphyrio upon Horace; and so with re
, well known to need any encomium. After spect to others, as well philosophers as Horace arose Quinctilian, Cicero's admirer poets and orators. To these scholiasts
may be added the several composers of ples are congenial—and that these princiLexicons; such as Hesychius, Philoxenus, ples, when traced to their common source, Suidas, &c. also the writers upon Gram- are found all to terininate in the first phimar, such as Apollonius, Priscian, Sosi- losophy. pater, Charisius, &c. Now all these pains- But 10 pursue our subject-However taking men, considered together, may be small among moderns may be the number said to have completed another species of of these Philosophical Critics, the writers criticism, a species which, in distinction of historical or explanatory criticisin have 10 the former, we call Criticism Historical. been in a manner innumerable. To name,
And thus things continued, though in a out of many, only a few-of Italy were declining way, iill, alter many a severe Beroaldus, Ficinus, Victorius, and Roberand unsuccessful plonge, the Roman em- tellus; of the Higher and Lower Germany pire sunk through the west of Europe. were Erasmus, Sylburgius, Le Clerc, and Latin then soon lost its purity; Greek they Fabricius; of France were Lambin, Duhardly knew; Classics, and their Scho- vall, Harduin, Capperonerius; of Engliasts, were no longer studied; and an age land were Stanley (editor of Æschylus), succeeded of legends and crusades, Gataker, Davies, Clark (editor of Homer),
Harris. together with multitudes more from every $ 170. Moderns eminent in the two Species
region and quarter, of Criticism before mentioned, the Phi
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the losophical and the Historical - the last
In Valloinbrosa.sorl of Critics more numerous—those, mentioned in this Section, confined to the
But I fear I have given a strange cataGREEK and Latin Languages.
logue, where we seek in vain for such il
lustrious personages as Sesostris, Cyrus, At length, after a long and barbarous Alexander, Cæsar, Attila, Tortila, Tamerperiod, when the shades of monkery be- lane, &c. The heroes of this work (if I gan to retire, and the light of humanity may be pardoned for calling them so) have once again to dawn, the arts also of criti- only aimed iu retirement to present us with cism insensibly revived. "Tis true, indeed, knowledge. Knowledge only was their the authors of the philosophical sort (! object, not havoc, nor destruction.
Ibid. mean that which respects the causes and principles of good writing in general) were $ 171. Compilers of Lexicons and Dictionnot many in number. However, of this aries, and Authors upon Grammar. rank, among the Italians, were Vida, and After Commentators and Editors, we the elder Scaliger; among the French must not forget the compilers of Lexicons were Rapin, Bouhours, Boileau, together and Dictionaries, such as Charles and with Bossu, ihe niost methodic and accu- Henry Stevens, Favorious, Constantine, rate of them all. In our own country, Budæus, Cooper, Faber, Vossius, and our nobility may be said to have distin- others. To these also we may add the guished themselves ; Lord Roscommon, in authors upon Grammar; in which subject his Essay upon Translated Verse; the the learned Greeks, when they quitted the Duke of Buckingham, in his Essay on East, led the way, Maschopulus, ChryPoetry; and Lord Shaftsbury, in his trea- soloras, Lascaris, Theodore Gaza; then tise called Advice to an Author: to whom in Italy, Laurentius Valla; in England, may be added, our late admired genius, Grocin and Linacer; in Spain, Sanctius; Pope, in his truly elegant Poem, the Essay in the Low Countries, Vossius; in France,
Cæsar Scaliger by his residence, though by The Discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds birth an Italian, together with those able upon painting have, after a philosophical writers Mess. de Port Royal. Nor ought manner, investigated the principles of an we to omit the writers of Philological art, which no one in practice has better Epistles, such as Emanuel Martin; nor the verified than himself.
writers of Literary Catalogues (in French We have mentioned these discourses, called Catalogues Raisonnées,) such as the not only from their merit, but as they in- account of the manuscripts in the imperial cidentally teach us that to write well upon library at Vienna by Lambecius; or of the a liberal art, we must write philosophically Arabic manuscripts in the Escurial library that all the liberal arts in their princi- by Michael Casiri.
$ 172. Modern Critics of the Explanatory quisition.
ever shackled with the terrors of an inKind, commenting modern Writers--Leriquisition.
May this invaluable privilege never be cographers--Grammarians - Translators.
impaired either by the land of power, or Though mueh historical explanation has by licentious abuse!
Harris. been bestowed on the ancient Classics, yet have the authors of our own country by
§ 173. On Translalors. no means been forgotten, having exercised Perhaps, with the critics just described, many critics of learning and ingenuity. I ought io arrange Translators, if it be
Mr. Thomas Warton (besides his fine true that translation is a species of explanaedition of Theocritus) has given a curious tion, which differs no otherwise from explahistory of English Poetry during the mid- natory comments, than that these attend to dle centuries ; Mr. Tyrwhitt, much accu- parts, while translation goes to the whole. rate and diversified erudition upon Chau
Now as translators are infinite, and cer; Mr. Upton, a learned Comment on many of them (to borrow a phrase from the Fairy Queen of Spenser ; Mr. Addison, sportsmen) unqualified persons, I shall many polite and elegant Spectators on the enumerate only a few, and those such as Conduct and Beauties of the Paradise for their merits have been deserveäly esLost; Dr. Warton, an Essay on the Ge- teemed. nius and Writings of Pope, a work filled Of this number I may very truly reckon with speculations, in a taste perfectly pure. Meric Casaubon, the translator of Mareng The lovers of literature would not forgive Antoninus; Mrs. Carter, the translator of me, were I to omit that ornament of her Epictetus; and Mr. Sydenham, the trans. sex and country, the critic and patroness lator of many of Plato's Dialogues. Alk of our illustrious Shakspeare, Mrs. Mon. these seem to have accurately understood tague. For the honour of criticism, not the original language from which they . only the divines already mentioned, but translated. But that is not all. others also, of rank still superior, have be- thors translated being philosophers, the stowed their labours upon our capital poets translators appear to have studied the (Shakspeare, Milton, Cowley, Pope) sus- style of their philosophy, well knowing pending for a while their severer studies, that in ancient Greece every sect of phito relax in these regions of genius and losophy, like every science and art, had a imagination.
language of its own*. The Dictionaries of Minshew, Skinner, To these may be added the respectable Spelman, Sumner, Junius, and Johnson, names of Melmoth and of Hampton, of are all well known, and justly esteemed. Franklin and of Potter ; nor should I Such is the merit of the last, that our lan- omit a few others, whose labours have guage does not possess a more copious, been similar, did I not recollect the trite, learned, and valuable work. For gramma- though elegant admonition: tical knowledge we ought to mention with
-fugit irreparabile tempus, distinction the learned prelate, Dr. Lowth, Singula dum capti circumvectamur amore. Vir. bishop of London; whose admirable tract
Ibid. on the Grammar of the English language, every lover of that language ought to study § 174. Rise of the third Species of Criand understand, if he would write, or even
ticism, the Corrective - practised by the speak it, with purity and precision.
Ancients, but much more by the MoLet my countrymen too reflect, that in
derns; and why. studying a work upon this subject, they But we are now to inquire after anare not only studying a language in which other species of Criticism. All ancient it becomes them to be knowing, but a lan- books, baving been preserved by tranguage which can boast of as many good scription, were liable, through ignorance, books as any among the living or inodern negligence, or fraud, to be corrupted in languages of Europe. The writers, born three different ways, that is to say, by reand educated in a free country, have been trenchings, by additions, and by alteraleft for years to their native freedom. tions. Their pages
have never been defiled with To remedy these evils, a third sort of an indez expurgatorius, nor their genius criticism arose, and that was Criticism
* See Hermes, p. 269, 270.