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LONDON QUARTERLY REVIEW.
PUBLISHED BY LEONARD SCOTT & CO.,
ART. I.-1. The Table-Talk of John Sel-
3. The Table-Talk, or Familiar Discourse
WE have not only to thank Dr. Irving for a good edition of a book which holds a high place in the belles-lettres of England, but for recalling our attention to the important class of works which constitute the
tionist will soon have wearied the last Whig peer, and that the prediction which winds the Dunciad' will thus far have achieved its fulfilment in England. These are the gloomy vaticinations of a few who, like Socrates, have a morbid passion for discourse; but on whom their auditors may possibly retaliate with the assertion that human nature is unequal to supporting them in their talkative mood.
It would be unpardonable to omit mentioning the Table-Talk of the ancients. In fact, it was one of the points in which they had an advantage over us; for though they were less domestic, they were more social. The absence of printing imparted to their conversation the same superior importance which it gave to their oratory. A modern philosopher lives like a hermit, and publishes in quarto; the ancient one carried his philosophy about with him and propagated it in the market-place, in shops, and at suppers. The Table-Talk of an age was its wisdom. No wonder the affection of disciple for master, and there is no more beautiful relation, was so vividly felt. The whole state experienced the effect of oral teaching through all the veins of its moral being. From the lips of Socrates himself, in the saddler's shop, Euthydemus learned that he who would be fit for politics must go through an ethical training little dream
rature of conversation. It seems to be the Doctor's destiny to deal with neglected subjects. He has written a biography of George Buchanan, whose face, we fear, the public does not even recognise on the cover of his country's famous magazine. He has written lives of Scottish poets, many of whose pipings are no longer heeded by the present generation. Selden's Table-Talk, which Johnson preferred to all the French 'Ana,' was passing into forgetfulness in our own times when he took it under his editorial care. The world cannot afford to throw aside such books, particularly if it considers the frivolity and want of substance of the current publications which profess to combine amusement and instruction. It requires a light literature with a value in it,- -a lightness like that of the pa-ed of by dabblers in democracy. From the per boat which Shelley launched on the Serpentine, and which was made of a fifty pound Bank of England bill.
Ana' are out of fashion now, and books of Table-Talk little read. Some go so far as to say that conversation itself is becoming a lost art, that the last Whig conversa
lips of the reverend seniors of the state the Roman youth learned what reading alone could never have taught him. His first step from home was to the house of the statesman or orator by whom he was generally initiated into the duties of life, and in whom he was to see the living image of that