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ing compliment to pope Pius II, man, Italian, English, or Spanish, which, though apparently a bene- have been transferred into the Ladiction, will, if read backward, pro- tin tongue. It is the longest lived, duce directly the reverse :
and most extensively diffused of any
human language, since it was spokConditio tua sit stabilis, nec tempore en and written with equal facility parvo
and excellence on the banks of Arno Vivere te faciat hîc, Deus omnipotens. and Tyber, in the age of Cæsar and
Leo, ages separated by an interval If we reverse the order of the of fifteen hundred years, and since words, the same numbers are pre- it is studied, even at present, and is served, but the meaning is reversed: familiarly known to the studious, in Omnipotens deus hîc faciat te vivere India, Europe, and America ; on parvo
the Ganges, the Danube, the MaTempore, nec stabilis sit tua conditio. ragnon, and the Mississippi.
The Latin language is supposed This art of transposition is car to teem with every thing reasonably ried to its highest point of difficulty delightful and instructive; and so it when a verse is produced, the whole does : but a tolerable acquaintance of which may be read backward, with modern Latin will inform us, letter by letter, without the least al that it likewise contains the most voteration either of the numbers, the luminous monuments of human er. sense, nor even of the words them. ror and folly ; that the whole mass selves.
or body of it has passed through the One of the Scaligers plumed him- punster's mill; has been pounded self exceedingly in producing the into its minutest fibres in the gri. following line, which is of this kind : phical mortar; and has has been
sifted clean away in the anagramSi bene te tua laus taxat, sua laute tem matical sieve.
But this effort of genius is far ex. ceeded by the following, which, on account of its mysterious structure and significance, has been gravely ascribed to the devil:
For the Literary Magazine. MAINTENON AND SEVIGNE.
To the Editor, &c.
Signa te signa, temere me tangis et angis
By these various methods, it is AUTHENTIC letters, I have probable, that the Latin language often heard, are the most precious has been more thoroughly wrought, materials both of history and biohas been more completely turned, graphy; and I am much inclined to twisted, dissected, and compounded, assent to the opinion of one of my than any language whatever. Every female friends, who maintains, that religion has borrowed from it its the truest evidence of an enlightened language. Every science is indebt- and cultivated mind is an intimate ed to it for its terms. It has been acquaintance with the epistolary remade the medium of every system mains of eminent persons. The of laws. It has been modulated by other day I inquired of her what every conceivable system of num. productions of that kind were most bers. Everything Hebrew or worthy of my attention. Whether Greek has been made, anciently or she regulated her answer by the modernly, to assume a Latin dress. consideration of my sex I cannot Even the authors of late times, tell, but, without hesitation, she rewhose writings are originally Ger- commended to me the letters of
madame Maintenon and madame de ment, that there must be something Sevigne.
very misanthropic in the reader I objected that these ladies were who is offended with them. It is of a rank in life, and lived in a state certain, however, that she never of manners and society, very remote had the least suspicion that her from my own. It would not be easy, letters would be printed ; and she I told her, to collect from the lan- was, doubtless, at liberty to write guage or sentiments of women like to her daughter in whatever manthese, any hints for the direction of ner she pleased. The style of these my own conduct, or the information letters, though careless, is free from of my own judgment.
redundance; it is sweet and flowing, She was of a contrary opinion. without insipidity. There are many She treated the distinctions of rank beautiful thoughts which arise out and of nation as nothing, and insisted of the subject, unsought; fragments on the transcendant merit of these of natural eloquence, which the ladies, in their character of letter greatest writers would not disavow; writers, with no small eloquence. pleasantries of society, at which
Of madame Maintenon's letters those can laugh who were not preshe said, that they painted, in ini. sent; elegant narrations, with demitable colours, and from the life, scriptions so exact, that we seem the writer's portrait. According to looking at the things described ; her, good sense, wisdom, and gra- puns, and a play of words, which vity, prevail throughout them. bite without hurting ; a fine irony, There are few pleasantries, but those but no malice ; and, throughout, we few are excellent, and in their pro- discover goodness of heart, tenderper places. Sometimes, reflections ness and frankness, with a fund of naturally occur at the end of facts, good sense, wisdom, and religion. which might be repeated as max- One of the great benefits, continu. ims. Few have ever so perfectly ed my friend, which may be drawn known the duties of different sta- from these delineations of private tions as madame de Maintenon. life, is the change of inclination, Bishops, ambassadors, generals, mi- taste, ways of thinking and judging nisters, princes, and even nuns, are of individuals, observable in the characterized, as if by accident, in course of twenty-five years, during her letters. When she addresses which this correspondence lasted; her directors, her expressions the revolutions in the friendships, abound in candour and simplicity; connections, and fortunes of those and we are always surprised that with whom we live; the unforeseen not a word ever escapes, which dis. accidents and events: all constitute covers, or even raises, a suspicion of a true moving picture, which furwhat she was. She paints originals nishes subjects for reflection on the which may be varied accidentally prudence and precaution necessary from what we see around us, by in the choice, during early youth, titles and badges, but at bottom they not only of our friends, but of our are specimens of human nature, common acquaintance. such as it continually presents itself I am pretty well acquainted with to view.
the French language, and am half Of madame Sevigne she was still resolved to undertake the perusal, more eloquent in the praise. She or, as my friend advises, the study maintained that no defect had ever of these works; but, in spite of my been urged against this charming deference to her judgment, I feel writer, but the perpetual repetition some little hesitation, which it will of tenderness for her daughter, be in your power to remove, by joinamounting almost to adoration; ing in the same counsel. which, however, she so varies and I have lately read the letters of embellishes by the grace, elegance, Cowper so often and so attentively, and variety of her terms of endear- that I have them nearly by heart. Could I find a woman who possessed hustlers, who have for so many the soul, the genius, and could write years infested the metropolis. She such letters as Cowper's, I should was generally dressed in a very conceive a higher veneration for my genteel style. About seven years sex than ever. Methinks Cowper ago she was at Bath, commiting her ought to have been a woman; I see depredations, and at one of the in him so many feminine qualities. churches received the sacrament; His singularities, his timidity, re- at the same time, the mayoress of serve, nervous sensibility ; these Bath happening to be one of the qualities, which do not exalt him as communicants, Moggy observing a man, would shine out as excellen- her to have a very valuable gold cies in a woman.
watch, contrived to rob her of it be. Can you tell me whether Mainte- fore the conclusion of the solemn ornon and Sevigne had any degree of dinance. She had several children, Cowper's spirit in their lives, or whom she kept at a boarding school. any of his genius in their letters? If Notwithstanding she had been sevethey had, then will I read them most ral times tried on capital charges, devoutly.
she was always fortunate enough to CLARA. escape punishment.
Died, at Lythai, in Lancashire, a man well known by the name of old Henry. Upwards of twenty years
have elapsed since his first appear. For the Literary Magazine. ance at that place, and, during an
uninterrupted residence till his SINGULARITIES.
death, no account of his parentage,
place of nativity, or occupation, THE English prints supply us could never be enticed or extorted with the following instances of cha- from him. He was never known to racter, somewhat worthy of being crave charity, otherwise than by noted for their singularity :
the silent mocle of exposing himself Died, a short time since, the no- to the view of such of the inhabitants torious Scots Mogsy, alias Mary as were accustomed to relieve his Grey, alias Wheeler, alias Barnsley. wants. His reason seemed to have This character was universally ad- received a shock, from some cause mitted by the police officers to be the or other, as, at intervals, he evinmost expert pick-pocket in Eng- ced a sound state of mind, both by land. There was scarcely a fair or his conversation, and his accurate race between Berwick-upon-Tweed display of writing and arithmetic ; and the Land's End where she had and, at other times, showed evident not exercised her professional abili- marks of a disordered imagination. ties. She originally came from Scot. He said he was born in the year land, and married one of the noto. 1730, and would often gratify bimrious Wheelers, with whom she self with talking about going to lived some years. On the arrival Beverley market. His dialect evi. of another celebrated pick-pocket dently seemed to have been collectfrom Botany Bay, of the name of ed from that part of Yorkshire. Barnsley, she took a great fancy to He called himself Henry Stephenhim, and left her husband. With son, and said he was a married this man she practised picking of man; but his communication always pockets for several years, both in ceased, and his reflection seemed to town and country. Although in recoil, at every question relating to person rather delicate, it was no the connections of his youthful days, unusual thing to see her on lord the endearing ties of conjugal affecDiayor's day, and other public occa- tion, or the pleasing and domestic sions, in the greatest crowds, in con- scenes which must have attended spiracy with the notorious gang of him in early life.
For the Literary Magazine. leave no room to doubt, that, if he
had written after these immortal ON DIDACTIC POETRY AND THE bards, he would have as readily adGEORGICS.
mitted the notion of didactic as of
lyric or heroic poetry. The laws IN consequence of the decision of of Aristotle, therefore, being drawn Aristotle, many a servile critic has from the patterns before him, and denied the rank and praise of poe- which extended no further than try to didactic compositions. Many these patterns would justify, were will argue, that Aristotle was as perfect when written, but have been much in the right as Plutarch, and defective for many ages since. We that Castelvetro was wrong. The are to revere him for having done stagirite pretended not to lay down all that was possible at the time in rules a priori, but, from the best which he wrote : but critics of sucexamples before him, formed a code ceeding ages cannot profit by this of laws to guide the taste of his own plea, who, with the force of demonand future ages. His judgment on stration before them, still continue the ode was formed from the sublime blind to its radiance, and slavishly numbers of Pindar, and his notions of fettered by the obsolete opinions of the epic from the nervous harmony their master. of Homer; but, in the times of Every poet is a Midas; and Aristotle, there was no didactic poet though, unluckily, he cannot convert who vied with these great founders every thing he touches into gold, he of lyric and heroic composition. can change it into poetry. A dry Hesiod was a mere chronologist, and catalogue of ships was a pregnant Theocritus, with much suavity of theme in the hands of Homer; the style, was too defective in spirit and symptoms of the plague in those of energy for one inspired by the muses. Lucretius; and a list of husbandThe poem of Empedocles, “ On the men's tools beneath the plastic power Nature of Things, and the Four of Virgil. Nor is this magic me. Elements,” is totally lost, but ap- tamorphosis unknown to modern pears to be the only one that could times: Fracastorius has shown it plead in favour of didactic subjects, in his poem on syphilis; Dyer in when Aristotle wrote. The candid his description of wool-combing and and polite Lucretius has applauded weaving; and Armstrong in the Empedocles for this philosophic ef. symptoms of the sweating sickness; fusion, and his praise will endure as while Polignac has put into very long as literature lives in any coun- good verse the tenets of Descartes try; and the Grecian critic himself on natural philosophy, and those of has condescended to denominate him St. Augustin on free-will; and, as « Homeric, energetic, metaphoric." minor effusions, we might mention But, nevertheless, he appears not to a poem in the Musæ Anglicanæ, on have possessed qualifications that the circulation of the blood, and anentitled him to the name of poet in other on Dr.Hale's vegetable statics, the judgment of Aristotle; and, which, indeed, are the best in the after this attempt of Empedocles, collection. he deemed it impossible for didactic The Georgics, if they be not « the subjects of any kind to be proper first poem of the first Roman poet,” themes for the muse, and therefore are at least the master-piece of Vir. excluded all such disquisitions from gil himself. They possess his highthe list of poems.
est finish and his boldest originali. But what Greece.could not effect ties : he wrote them in the most Rome amply accomplished. The perfect leisure and convenient pri. sweet, sublime, and pathetic num. vacy, and in the full strength and bers of Lucretius and Virgil, both vigour of his age, when his judg." labourers in the didactic field, prove ment was at its height, and his imathat Aristotle was in an error, and gination had not declined. They
occupied his sole attention for nearly The temperature of the earth at five years, and were shown, as he great depths under the surface is proceeded, and probably subjected different in different latitudes, and to the strictures of Horace and Mæ- this is also true with respect to the cenas. He was the first Roman temperature at the bottom of the poet who had written on the subject sea, so far as it is not influenced by of rural life. Indeed the poem may the currents which how over it; be deemed an original production; and this proves that the heat which for though Nicander, a physician of exists, without any sensible change Ionia, had long before compiled one during summer and winter, at great upon the same subject, with the depths, is owing to the action of the same title, this production was never sun, and not to central fires, as in any high degree of repute, and some conclude, Quintilian, in his catalogue of Gre. The water of the ocean, which, cian poets, scarcely condescends to on being deprived of a great part mention the writer. The Georgics of its heat by cold winds, descends of Nicander have, however, been to the bottom of the sea, cannot be lost for ages; but we may be sure warmed where it descends, as its that, if they had any beauties worth specific gravity is greater than transcribing, they are still to be that of water at the same depth in found in the Latin bard, who never warmer latitudes, hence it will bescrupled to copy from his predeces- gin to spread on the bottom of the sors every line. which he thought sea, and to flow towards the equawould enrich his own workmanship. tor, and this must produce a current
at the surface in an opposite direction ; and there are proofs of the
existence of both these currents. For the Literary Magazine. What has been called the gulf
stream, in the Atlantic Ocean, is that SEA CURRENTS EXPLAINED. which moves from the equator to
wards the north pole, modified by THERE have been many theo- the trade winds, and by the form of ries adopted, for explaining the cur- the continent of North America : rents which are found in the ocean, and the progress of the lower curs moving not only without the impulse rent may be inferred from the cold of wind, but sometimes in opposition which exists in the sea at great to it. The following is the most re. depths in warm latitudes; a decent of these theories, and probably gree of temperature much below the truest of them:
the mean annual temperature of As the condensation of salt wa- the earth in the latitudes wbere it ter with cold continues long after it has been found, and which of course has been cooled to the temperature must have been brought from colder at which fresh water freezes, those latitudes. particles at the surface which are The mean annual temperature in cooled by immediate contact with the latitude of 67 degrees has been cold winds descend, and take their determined to be 39 degrees; but places at the bottom of the sea, lord Mulgrave found, on the 20th of where they remain, till, by regain- June, when the temperature of the ing heat, their specific gravity is air was 484 degrees, that the temagain diminished. But this heat perature of the sea at the depth of they never can regain in the polar 4680 feet was six degrees below regions because there is no principle freezing, or 26 degrees of Fahrenof heat in the interior of the globe, heit's thermometer. which, by exhaling through the bot. On the 31st of August, in the latitom of the ocean could communicate tude of 69 degrees, where the anheat to the water which rests upon nual temperature is 38 degrees, the
temperature of the sea at the depth