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city a child, and loves every body he meets with : he reads little or nothing ; writes abundance, and that with a design to make his fortune by it. My best compliments to Mrs. Wharton and your family : does that name include any body I am not yet acquainted with?

LETTER . VIII.
MR. GRAY TO DR. WHARTON.

Stoke, August 19, 1748. I am glad you have had any pleasure in Gresset; he seems to me a truly elegant and charming writer; the Mechant is the best comedy I ever read; his Edward I can scarce get through, it is puerile ; though there are good lines, such as this for example:

“ Le jour d'un nouveau regne est le jour des ingrats.” But good lines will make any thing rather than a good play : however, you are to consider this is a collection made up by the Dutch booksellers; many things unfinished, or written in his youth, or designed not for the world, but to make his friends laugh, as the lutrin vivant, &c. There are two noble lines; which, as they are in the middle of an Ode to the King, may perhaps have escaped yoú: “ Le cri d'un peuple heureux est la seule eloquence,

“Qui sçait parler des Rois.”

Which is very true, and should have been a hint to himself not to write odes to the king at all.

As I have nothing more to say at present, I fill my paper with the beginning of an essay; what name to give it I know not; but the subject is the Alliance of Education and Government: I mean to shew that they must both concur to produce great and useful men. I desire your judgment upon it before I proceed any further.

The first fifty-seven verses of an ethical essay accompanied this letter, which I shall here insert, with about fifty lines more, all of them finished in his highest manner. Had this noble design been completed, I may, with great boldness, assert, that it would have been one of the most capital poems of the kind that ever appeared either in our own, or any language. I am not able to inform the reader how many essays he meant to write upon the subject; nor do I believe that he had ever so far settled his plan as to determine that point : but since his theme was as extensive as human nature, (an observation he himself makes in a subsequent letter on the “ Esprit des Loix”) it is plain the whole work would have been considerable in point of size. He was busily employed in it at the time when M. de Montesquieu's book was first published: on reading it, he said the baron had forestalled some of his best thoughts ; and yet the reader will find, from the small fragment he has left, that the two writers differ a little in one very material point, viz. the influence of soil and climate on national manners. * Some

* See L'Esprit des Loix, Liv. xiv. chap. 2, &c.

time after he had thoughts of resuming his plan, and of dedicating it, by an Introductory Ode to M. de Montesquieu ; but that great man's death, which happened in 1755, made him drop his design finally.

On carefully reviewing the scattered papers in prose, which he writ, as hints for his own use in the prosecution of this work, I think it best to form part of them into a kind of commentary at the bottom of the pages ; they will serve greatly to elucidate (as far as they go) the method of his reasoning

ESSAY I.
Ióray' w 'yabé ; tàv yap đoidày
Ούτι πω εις Αίδαν γε τον εκλελάθοντα φυλαξεις.

EOCRITUS.

As sickly plants betray a niggard earth,
Whose barren bosom starves her gen'rous birth,
Nor genial warmth, nor genial juice retains
Their roots to feed, and fill their verdant veins :
And as in climes, where Winter holds his reign,
The soil, though fertile, will not teem in vain,
Forbids her gems to swell, her shades to rise,
Nor trusts her blossoms to the churlish skies :

5

COMMENTARY. The Author's subject being (as we have seen) THE NECESSARY ALLIANCE BETWEEN A GOOD FORM OF GOVERNMENT AND A GOOD MODE OF EDUCATION, IN ORDER TO PRODUCE THE HAPPINESS OF MANKIND, the Poem opens with two similes; an uncommon kind of exordium: but which I suppose the Poet intentionally chose, to intimate the analogical method he meant to pursue in his subsequent reasonings. 1st. He asserts that men without education are like sickly plants in a cold or barren soil, (line 1 to 5, and 8 to 12;) and, 2dly,

NOTES. As sickly plants, &c. I. 1.). If any copies of this Essay would have authorized me to have made an alteration in the disposition of the lines, I would, for the sakc of perspicuity, have printed the first twelve in the following manner;

10

So draw mankind in vain the vital airs,
Unform’d, unfriended, by those kindly cares,
That health and vigour to the soul impart,
Spread the young thought, and warm the opening heart:
So fond Instruction on the growing powers
Of nature idly lavishes her stores,
If equal Justice with unclouded face
Smile not indulgent on the rising race,
And scatter with a free, though frugal hand,
Light golden showers of plenty o'er the land:
But Tyranny has fix'd her empire there
To check their tender hopes with chilling fear,
And blast the blooming promise of the year.

This spacious animated scene survey,
From where the rolling Orb, that gives the day,
His sable sons with nearer course surrounds
To either pole, and life's remotest bounds.
How rude soe'er th’ exterior forin we find,
Howe'er opinion tinge the varied mind,

COMMENTARY. he compares them, when unblest with a just and well-regulated government, to plants that will not blossom or bear fruit in an unkindly and inclement air (1.5 to 9, and 13 to 22). Having thus laid down the two propositions he means to prove, he begins by examining into the characteristics which (taking a general view of mankind) all men have in common one with another (I. 22 to 39);

NOTES. because I think the poetry would not have been in the least hurt by such a transposition, and the Poet's meaning would have been much more readily perceived. I put them down here for that purpose.

As sickly plants betray a niggard earth,
Whose barren bosom starves her gen'rous birth,
Nor genial warmth, nor genial juice retains
Their roots to feed, and fill their verdant veins :
So draw mankind in vain the vital airs,
Unform’d, unfriended by those kindly cares,
That health and vigour to the soul impart,
Spread the young thought, and warm the opening heart.
And as in climes, where Winter holds his reign,
The soil, though fertile, will not teem in vain,
Forbids her gems to swell, her shades to rise, .
Nor trusts her blossoms to the churlish skies:
So fond Instruction, &c.

35

40

Alike, to all the kind, impartial Heav'n
The sparks of truth and happiness has giv'n:
With sense to feel, with memory to retain,

30
They follow pleasure, and they fly from pain;
Their judgment mends the plan their fancy draws,
Th’ event presages, and explores the cause;
The soft returns of gratitude they know,
By fraud elude, by force repel the foe;
While mutual wishes, mutual woes endear
The social smile and sympathetic tear.

Say, then, through ages by what fate confin'd
To different climes seem different souls assign'd?
Here measur’d laws and philosophic ease
Fix, and improve the polish'd arts of peace.
There industry and gain their vigils keep,
Command the winds, and tame th' unwilling deep.
Here force and hardy deeds of blood prevail ;
There languid pleasure sighs in every gale.
Oft o'er the trembling nations from afar
Has Scythia breath'd the living cloud of war;

COMMENTARY. they covet pleasure and avoid pain (1. 31); they feel gratitude for benefits (1. 34); they desire to avenge wrongs, which they effect either by force or cunning (1. 35); they are linked to each other by their common feelings, and participate in sorrow and in joy (l. 36, 37). If then all the human species agree in so many moral particulars, whence arises the diversity of national characters? This question the Poet puts at I. 38, and dilates upon to I. 64. Why, says he, have some nations shewn a propensity to commerce and industry; others to war and rapine; others to ease and pleasure ? (1. 42 to 46.) Why have the Northern people overspread, in all ages, and prevailed over the Southern? (1. 46 to 58.) Why has Asia been, time out of mind, the seat of despotism, and Eu

NOTES. Has Scythia breath'd, &c. I. 47.] The most celebrated of the early irruptions of the Scythians into the neighbouring countries is that under the conduct of Madyes, about the year of the creation 3350, when they broke into Asia, during the reign of Cyaxares, king of the Medes, and conqueror of the Assyrians, plundered it at discretion, and kept possession of it during twenty-eight years. Many successive incursions, attended with every kind of desolation, are enumerated by historians; particularly those, in A. D. 252, during the reign of Gallus and Volusianus, and in 261, under that of Gallienus. Under the Greek emperors also, to mention only the years 1053 and 1191, it appears that the Scythians still continued their accustomed ravages. In later times, the like spirit of sudden and destructive invasion has constantly prevailed; and these

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