« PreviousContinue »
laborious drudges in classical crit- crimination enough to distinguish icism, of their trouble and time! between what is important and I have often wondered of what ma what is trifling ; so as neither to terials their brains are composed, overlook the former, nor magnify who spin out long, wire-drawn ar- the latter. They should be able guments, attenuated almost beyond so far to repress their vanity, as to discernment, upon ambiguous pas- elucidate the meaning of their ausages of the ancients, which, if thor, instead of displaying the settled, would give us no new light learning of the critick ; and should concerning their morals, their avoid those endless references to learning, or their taste. It is e. parallel passages, which often seem equally wonderful that scholars such from their own acquired ob should spend sleepless nights in liquity. deciding upon a reading, which in the end is still conjectural, and FACILITY OF COMPOSITION. ransack authorities without num Quand on est bien pénétré d'une ber to justify themselves to the idée, quand un esprit juste et plein criticks. I have always suspect. de chaleur possede bien sa pensée, ed,' says Johnson, that the read- elle sort de son cerveau tout ornée ing is right, which requires many des expressions convenable, comwords to prove it wrong; and the me Minerva sortit tout armée du emendation wrong, which requires cerveau de Jupiter. The simile many words to prove it right.' He of Voltaire is extremely beautiful ; indeed deserves praise, who, by and as the thought, which it illusthe introduction of a reading, plau- trates, is supported by the authorisible in itself, and supported by ty of Horace, I am almost afraid sufficient authorities, sheds mean to question its accuracy. I am ing on a passage, before ambigu- not poet enough to venture to doubt ous or unintelligible. But we have them, if they mean to speak mere; fallen upon ungrateful times, if ly of their own art, though even that which we consider the learn- in poetry, if we allow Gray and ed lumber of scholiasts and com- Cowper to be fair examples, or if mentators on the ancients, is really, we draw an inference from the in general, any thing better than a erasures, corrections, and intercumbrous mass of quibbling jar. lineations, which we see in the gon, which deforms every thing specimens of the papers of Pope, beautiful in poetry, and distorts ev- preserved by Johnson, we should ery thing fair in morals. Shake- conclude that the proposition is at speare and Milton also have had least not universal. Nor is its their annotators. It requires no consistency very apparent with the great sagacity to discern the need- direction of Horace himself with less prolixity of the commentar- regard to a poem, nonum premaies on the former, and it implies tur in annum. I have never obno malignity to estimate at a served the principle to be true, ex• small value the potes of Bentley cept when I have seen a man's on the latter. I would not pro- personal feelings strongly excited. scribe commentators, but I would Then indeed the matter, equally abridge their liberty. They should with the expression, presents itself not be suffered to darken what is without effort, and the thoughts luminous, nor to mar that which is that breathe, as well as the words beautiful. They should have dis- that burn,' flow from the mind in
Vol. IV. No. 11. 40
uninterrupted and spontaneous pro- The German leaves a long disserfusion. Every writer too has tation upon the state of the roads, sometimes his moments of inspi- the accommodations, &c. detailing ration, when his thoughts are teem- at full length whence he came, and ing and bright, and his expressions whither he is going, through long ready and brilliant ; and then per- pages of crabbed writing. haps he may produce passages In one of the highest regions of
without labour, which no labour the Swiss Alps, after a day of ex. can improve.' But these happy cessive labour in reaching the sumphases of the mind art usually mit of our journey, near those transitory and rare, and when most thrones erected ages ago for the men sit down coolly and doggedly majesty of nature, we stopped, fa. to compose from the understand- tigued and dispirited, on a spot ing alone, even though they have destined to eternal barrenness, well meditated their subject, it is where we found one of these rude usually found, that composition, in but hospitable inns open to receive order to be correct, must be slow us. There was not another huand toilsome ; and I am 'afraid man habitation within many miles. that there are few of us, who have All the soil, which we could see, not occasionally felt the horrours had been brought thither, and pla1 of pangs without birth and fruit- ced carefully round the cottage to less industry.'
nourish a few cabbages and lettu
There were some goals, ALBUMS AND THE ALPS. which supplied the cottagers with You find in some of the rudest milk ; a few fowls lived in the passes in the Alps homely inns, house ; and the greatest luxuries which publick beneficence has er- of the place were new-made ected for the convenience of the cheeses, and some wild alpine weary and benighted traveller. In mutton, the rare provision for the most of these inns albums are traveller. Yet here nature had kept to record the names of those, thrown off the veil, and appeared whose curiosity has led them into in all her sublimity. Summits of these regions of barrenness, and bare granite rose all around us. the album is not unfrequently the The snow-clad tops of distant Alps only book in the house. In the seemed to chill the moon-beams, album of the Grand Chartreuse, that lighted on them ; and we felt Gray, on his way to Geneva, re all the charms of the picturesque, corded his deathless nanie, and left mingied with the awe inspired that exquisite Latin ode, beginning by unchangeable grandeur. We !0! tu severi religio loci'; an seemed to have reached the origiode which is indeed pure nectar.'nal elevations of the globe, o'ertopIt is curions to observe in these ping forever the tumults, the vices, books the differences of national and the miseries of ordinary existcharacter. The Englishman usu ence, far out of the hearing of the ally writes lis name only, without murmurs of a busy world, which explanation or comment. The discord ravages and luxury corFrenchman records something of rupts. We asked for the Album, his feelings, destination, or busi- and a large folio was brought us, ness ; commonly adding a line of almost filled with the scrawls of poetry, an epigram, or some ex every nation on earth, that could clamation of pleasure or disgust. write. Instantly our fatigue was
forgotten, and the evening passed creation, there would always be a away pleasantly in the entertain- blessing in the air, and flowers and ment, which this book afforded us. fruits on the earth. The chilling I copied the following French blast and driving snow, the desocouplet :
lated field, withered foliage, and Dans ces sauvages lieux tout orgueil naked tree, should make no part s'humanise ;
of the scenery, which we would Dieu s'y montre plus grand ; l'homme produce. A little thought, hows'y pulverise !
ever, is sufficient to show the folly Signed, p. ed. trénir. is not impiety of such distrust in I wish I could preserve the ele. the appointments of the great gance, as well as the condensed Creator. The succession and consentiment of the original.
trast of the seasons give scope to
that care and foresight, diligence Still are these rugged realms : e’en and industry, which are essential pride is hush'd :
to the dignity and enjoyment of God seems more grand : man crumbles into dust.
human beings, whose happiness b. is connected with the exertion of
their faculties. With our present THE SEASONS.
constitution and state, in which im.
pressions on the senses enter so I solitary court
much into the sum of our pleaTh’inspiring breeze, and meditate the book
sures and pains, and the vivacity Of nature, ever open ; aiming thence of our sensations is affected by Warm from the heart to learn the mor comparison, the uniformity and al song
continuance of a perpetual spring Persons of reflection and sensi. would greatly impair its pleasing bility contemplate with interest the effect upon the feelings. scenes of nature. The changes of present distribution of the several the year impart a colour and char- parts of the year is evidently con acter to their thoughts and feel. nected with the welfare of the ings. When the seasons walk whole, and the production of the their round, when the earth buds, greatest sum of being and enjoy. the corn ripens, and the leaf falls, ment. That motion of the earth, not only are the senses impressed, and change of place in the sun, but the mind is instructed ; the which cause one region of the heart is touched with sentiment, globe to be consigned to cold, dethe fancy amused with visions. cay, and barrenness, impart to To a lover of nature and of wisdom another heat and life, fertility and the vicissitude of seasons conveys beauty. Whilst in one climate a proof and exhibition of the wise the earth is bound with frost, and and benevolent contrivance of the the chilly smothering snows' are author of all things. When suf- falling, the inhabitants of another fering the inconveniences of the behold the earth, first planted with ruder parts of the year, we may vegetation and apparelled in verbe tempted to wonder why this dure, and those of a third are rerotation is necessary; why we joicing in the appointed weeks of could not be constantly gratified harvest.' Each season comes atwith vernal bloom and fragrance, tended with its benefits, and beauor summer beauty and profusion, ties, and pleasures. All are senWe imagine that in a world of our sible to the charms of spring.
Then the senses are delighted with any serious thoughts of futurity, the feast,that is furnished in every and to extend our plans through field and on every hill. The eye a long succession of seasons ; the ís sweetly delayed on every object, spectacle of the fading many-colto which it turns. It is grateful to oured woods,' and the naked trees perceive how wildly yet chastely affords a salutary admonition of nature hath mixed her colours and our frailty. It should teach us to painted her robe; how bountifully fill the short year of life, or that she hath scattered her blossoms portion of it which may be allotted and flung her odours. We listen us, with useful employments and with joy to the melody she hath harmless pleasures; to practice awakened in the groves, and catch that industry, activity, and order, health from the pure and tepid which the course of the natural gales that blow from the moun world is constantly preaching. Let tains. When the summer exhib- not the passions blight the intelits the whole force of active nature, lect in the spring of its advanceand shines in full beauty and splen- ment; nor indolence nor vice candour ; when the succeeding sea ker the promise of the heart in son offers its purple stores and the blossom. Then shall the sumgolden grain,' or displays its blend mer of life be adorned with moral ed and softened tints ; when the beauty ; the autumn yield a harwinter puts on its sullen aspect, vest of wisdom and virtue ; and and brings stillness and repose, the winter of age be cheered by affording a respite from the la- pleasing reflections on the past, bours, which have occupied the and bright hopes of the future. preceding months, inviting us to reflection, and compensating the MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTLAND. want of attractions abroad by fire. side delights and home-felt joys; History affords few instances of in all this interchange and variety the power of misfortune to soften we find reason to acknowledge the the dark shades of character so wise and benevolent care of the strong as in Mary queen of Scots. God of seasons. We are passing we turn with horrour and detestafrom the finer to the ruder portion ţion from the wife of Darnley, or
The sun emits a of Bothwell, and think that ages fainter beam, and the sky is fre- of penitence would be insufficient quently overcast. The gardens to atone for her crimes. But when and fields have become a waste, the unhappy prisoner of Elizabeth and the forests have shed their is presented to our commiseration, verdant honours. The hills are every tender emotion is excited in no more enlivened with the bleat. her favour, and we now doubt uping of flocks, and the woodland no on the strongest evidence that mislonger resounds with the song of conduct, the truth of which we birds. In these changes, we see were before willing to receive upemblems of our instability, and im, on the slightest grounds. The ages of our transitory state. same feeling induces us in private So flourishes and fades majestick man,* life to relieve the misfortunes of
the wretched, and to forget, that Our life is compared to a falling their distresses have been the con leaf. When we are disposed to sequence of their own misconcount on protracted years, to defer duct.
of the year.
AN INTERESTING ACCOUNT OF A THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTION, ES
TABLISHED AT YORK, GREAT BRITAIN.
IN the present state of science the aids to which a theological and literature, it is justly expected student should have recourse, he that they who are designed for the proceeds in regular order through ministry in our religious societies every book of the old and new tes. should be initiated in every branch tament, paying at the same time of sound and polite learning, that particular attention to the language they may enter the world qualified of the Septuagint, and the writings not only to discharge with ability of Josephus and Philo. Having their ministerial duties, but in ma thus traced the history of revealed ny cases to be the instructors of religion, and from the records of our youth, and to support by their revelation alone endeavoured to acquirements and character the learn the doctrines proposed in respectability of the dissenting them to the acceptance of manname. With such views the plan kind, he passes to the history of of study pursued in this institution the christian church, having his has been arranged. It compre- attention particularly directed to hends a term of five years ; during the rise, progress, and character of the first three of which the student the principal religious systems proceeds through a full course of which have prevailed in the chris* mathematicks and natural philoso- tian world ; to the origin of our phy, is daily employed in reading separation from the established some of the best classical authors, church, and to the grounds upon and is directed and assisted in an which a continued separation is extensive investigation of ancient vindicated. He is also now introand modern history. In the course duced to some general acquainof this period, he is likewise in- tance with those writings and ostructed in logick, and the philo- pinions, which, by nations not ownsophy of the human mind ; in eth- ing the christian name, are considicks, including jurisprudence and ered as sacred.—Through the general policy ; in the evidences whole of the course he is exercisof natural and revealed religion ; ed in Latin and English composiin universal grammar, oratory and tion on the subjects connected with criticism, and other branches of the studies he is at the time purwhat are usually called, the Belles suing, and in the last two years in Lettres. And as the foundation the composition of sermons and of just scripture criticism must be other pulpit exercises, and receives laid in an acquaintance with some, instructions in the pastoral care. at least, of the oriental languages, Such is an imperfect outline of the student, in this part of the the plan, which has hitherto been course, is taught the Hebrew, the kept in view, and pursued with as Chaldee, and the Syriac. Thus much regularity as circumstances prepared, he enters on his 'theolow would permit. And although the gical studies, to which the last excellent maxim of Dr. Jebb, that two years of his course are devo-' " the personal labours of the stuted. After some introductory in- dent are of greater efficacy than struction concerning the general the oral instructions of the tutor," principles of sacred criticism, and is constantly acted upon ; yet it