Sivut kuvina

as Jacob's speech from the zodiac: I do not know that any one can prove the existence of such a painted zodiac in that early age; yet is not this necessary to Sir W. D's hypothesis ?-I have been somewhat accustomed to mathematical deduction, and on subjects of Theology, the Bible is my Elementary Treatise -- in it are contained all my axioms, postulates, and definitions, by the aid of which I must try every question. I am at least sufficiently acquainted with Geometry to know, that two magnitudes, each equal to a third magnitude, cannot be unequal between themselves; and I am equally certain, by the Elements of Theology, that no man can be an astrologer and a servant of JEHOVAH at the same time ; because I learn from the Bible that every ASTROLOGER is the DNTESTATION of JEHOVAH! The benediction pronounced by Jacob upon his children could not therefore be an astrological jargon. - Sir W. is too well acquainted with the language and manners of the oriental people, to hesitate in allowing the much greater reason there is to suppose that Jacob prophetically described the dispositions and circumstances of his offspring, in the highly figurative language so common in oriental compositions, than to suppose the venerable Patriarch influenced by astrological notions. Newcastle on Tyne, Aug. 1812.



[ocr errors][ocr errors]

If the following attempt to explain a passage in Virgil is thought worthy of a place in your Journal, it will increase the diligence of

TIRO. In the third book of the Æneid, when Æneas suddenly appears before Andromache, she inquires for Ascanius with particular earnestness.

Quid purer Ascanius? superatne et vescitur aura? 339.
Quem tibi jam Troja-
Ecquæ jam priero est amissæ cura parentis?
Ecquid in antiquam virtutem animosque viriles

Et pater Eneas et avunculus excitat Hector?
Possessed with the idea that the 340th line was left unfinished
by the negligence of Virgil, or that it was mutilated by the inat
tention of his transcribers, some critics have endeavoured to supply
the deficiency, but their efforts do not appear to have been
successful. -

For the supposition that, had Virgil intended to finish this line, he would have written

Quem tibi jam Troja salvum fumante tenebas,

[ocr errors]

I See note on this passage in the Delphiu Edition.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

but that he designedly left it imperfect, the following reasons may be given.

Virgil's peculiar excellence consists in those delicate touches of nature, which immediately penetrate the heart. He never neglects an opportunity of showing his tenderness, and he dwells with evident satisfaction on every pathetic circumstance. Hence it appears that, when Virgil seems to overlook any occasion for displaying the tenderness of his feelings, the reader should doubt his own knowledge of the passage, and not accuse Virgil of want of taste.

Andromache, a mother who had lost her only son at the capture of Troy, inquires concerning the fate of Ascanius, who, we are told', was of the same age with her son whom he greatly resembled, but who had survived the destruction of his native city.

This inquiry afforded Virgil an opportunity for indulging his natural tenderness, and he has not neglected it.' He represents Andromache asking whether Ascanius still survived : she knew 2 he was not slain at Troy, and she proceeds to say so;

Quem tibi jam Troja salvum fumante tenebas; but the contrast between the fate of Astyanax, and that of Ascanius, rises before her imagination ; all a hapless mother's feelings strangle her utterance, and she will not touch the string which reverberates only her own misfortunes.

If the imperfect state of this verse is ascribed to this cause, instead of a defect, it becomes a beauty.

Yet again, when Andromache asks if Ascanius imitates the virtues of Æneas and Hector, the recollection that she once hoped her son would equal their fame, completely overpowers her; she breaks off with tears and long lamentation, which not even the sudden presence of a beloved friend could restrain ;

Talia fundebat lacrymans, longosque ciebat

Incassum fletus.
Ireland, Sept. 24. 1812.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Remarks on the Ars Poetica of Horace, and an inquiry into the

necessary qualifications for a Poet.
To admonish the young men of his day, and especially the
Pisos, against the too prevalent rage for becoming poets, without

[ocr errors]

Æneid 3. lines 489, 90, 91. * From 1. 341. it is evident that Andronache was informed of the loss of Creusa: hence we may conclude that she was acquainted with the circumstances of their fight and consequently with the escape of Ascanius.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

being possessed of the necessary qualifications, namely, a musical ear, refined taste, sound judgment, and discriminating sense, joined with a proper portion of fancy; and not in order to disclose the mysteries of the poetic art to the profane vulgar', was the object of Horace in penning this celebrated performance.

Hence his reiterated sarcasms against the would-be-poets of his age; his observations on the perfidious attractions of the Muse and the danger of the illusion, under which a poet labors when he makes an estimate of the value of his own verses. As our age too is not without an amazing portion of competitors for poetical fame, the remarks that then flowed from his didactic and satiric pen, conjoined with what we ourselves are here about to offer, may possibly be of some service at least to the rising generation, if not to the more hardened votaries of the Muse.

That so many qualities, as are above enumerated, should be requisite for the formation of a poet, may at a primâ facie view, appear hardly probable, but if we examiné each and all of them, we shall find them strictly necessary.

Ist. Let me ask, who, without having an ear for music, can frame flowing and harmonious lines? who can be conscious of the varied beauties proceeding from the arrangement of periods and harmony of rhythm? who can know the just position of dactyls and spondees so as to give their verse a musical and poetic effect? who, in fine, can duly comprehend that most difficult part of the art, versification ?-Hence chiefly it was that Cicero was led to say poeta nascitur, orator fit, because any person possessing a competent portion of sense and natural abilities may by intense study become eminent in almost any profession of life; but to make oneself a poet is a very different thing, for it has never been believed that any quantum of application would furnish us with a good ear, or any other sense which nature has denied us.--In a word, a musical or poetic car might be compared to good birth, which as Edmund Howe, the antiquary, with truth observes, is a possession that neither wealth, nor learning, nor splendid actions, nor advancement to the highest posts of honor, can per se procure or constitute.

A man may be created a peer, but no king can make him a gentleman; his' birth and descent alone constitute him such.”'

Having thus exemplified the first point, and the impossibility of possessing it otherwise than as a natural endowment, we proceed to (2d) refined taste; which is evidently necessary in poetry

and every thing else connected with the sacred nine; for it is this alone which will mark and constitute the distinction between minds of equal and similar culture.

3d. Correct judgment and discriminating sense must be deemed

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

indispensable, for what else can prevent the absurdities which almost all young poets fall? what else keeps them clear, when shunning one fault, from gliding into another ? (v. 24, et seq.) “ not to be formal they become negligent; for fear of seeming to creep they lose themselves in the clouds; they rant to be sublime, and are absurd for the sake of novelty !" Weiland's Hypothesis of the A P. of Horace. The source of these faults is evidently the want of sense and judgment, which like the δαιμόνιον of Socrates, perpetually signifies to us τα μεν γράφειν, τα od us ypáteiv.—The junction of Fancy with the foregoing is necessary, in as much as it is the chief characteristic of poetry and relieves it from prosaic languor.

But to return to our author. Horace commences this epistle with a Socratic turn extremely likely to awaken the attention of the younger Piso. He exposes in its full absurdity the essential fault which in a bad poem will be more prominent than in any other work of art, and which bad poets are incapable of curing. They do not know how to compose a whole ; they commence with one image and finish with another, and their works are patched up of ill assorted pieces which cannot be made to unite and harmonise.

In verses 14 and 24 he points out the common faults against the rule of unity, and the usual errors of young poets : in ver. 38 he exhorts those who wish to write, thoroughly to examine their own powers, and not to rush blindly and precipitantly into the toil of composition. A

young man, who must probably be destitute of experience and ripeness of thought, and who has not yet had time to drink deeply of the Athenian and Roman fountains or the modern springs of improved science and polished Belles Lettres, can hardly be expected to form a right judgment on any subject of literature. Such a person should be cautious that he does not presume too much on the powers which he may fancy he possesses, and which may have received the praises of friends and relations, who, as we all know, ar

we all know, are too generally disposed to fatter and to cherish what perhaps some foolish mistake, arising either from ignorance or partiality, may have led them to regard as the “ dawn of genius," as it is called ; such a person should be cautious how he suffers himself to be seduced to spend his hours in the attempt of composing pieces on high flown and difficult subjects, which he is often induced to do merely because at school or afterwards at college, some parts of his early productions may have received the approbation of his tutor; but it is to be remembered that the ability to make a good or a pretty Latin verse now and then is by no means sufficient encouragement to continue to woo the muse, and to proceed to the paulo majora, unless in

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

deed the party actually possess, (independent of his own ideas and fancy respecting his talents) every one of the requisites before premised.

But doubly cautious should he be, who uprewarded with any such praise as we have alluded to, has been repulsed in his earlier onsets-onsets which may have been labored with excessive pains, anxiety, and research; doubly cautious, we say, should he be how he wastes in an idle and unprofitable pursuit (and one moreover whose attainment is completely problematical) that irreparable time, which if properly directed, and employed with equal assiduity, would have led him through the depths of Science, and rendered him familiar with the most elegant and the most difficult authors of antiquity.

With your permission, Mr. Editor, we will at some future opportunity renew and proceed with these strictures on the poetic art, but before the subject is for the present dismissed, it will be necessary to state, that the object of this Essay is by no means to discourage the exertion of youthful talent, but on the contrary, to direct it to a more profitable, a more easily attained, and an equally honorable object of ambition-an object which will afford permanent and substantial satisfaction, while the pursuit of the Muse, even when successful, would afford at best, unless we soar infinitely above mediocrity, but fugitive applause. Sept. 8th, 1812.


[ocr errors]

The Excellency of Forms of Prayer, the Lord's-PRAYER more Especially



PREACHED before the
University of CAMBRIDGE,


St. Mary's in A. D. 1644.

Fellow of King's College, afterwards Lord Bishop of Chester,


Printed for George Sawlidge, at the Tree Golden Flower De Lucee

in Little Britain, 1711.

When ye pruy, say, Our Father. LUKE 11. 2. I, the

the Church should suffer in the Fury of a distempered and distracted State, it is so far from wonder, that it were the greatest if it should not, as being a Vessel that hath hardly escaped Shipwrecks

1 We shall present our Readers with many other of Bishop Pearson's smaller tracts and communications, chronologically arranged.

« EdellinenJatka »