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we shall take care to draw off whatever is wholesome, and may fertilize the mind.
Although CLASSICAL LEARNING has been most undeservedly and ignominiously neglected, in some parts of the United States, yet in spite of the sneers of some, and the theories of others, there is a favourite few, who have successfully studied the fine authors of Greece and Rome. With certain brilliant characters of this class, the Editor has the honour of being in habits of frank intimacy. From men, who have thus wisely directed attention to whatever is perfect in thought, and exquisite in expression, he hopes to receive elegant translations, happy imitations, witty parodies, and accurate notices of the authors of the Augustan age of Roman Literature.
In the London Magazine, and many other respectable vehicles, although principally intended for the amusement of the lounging, the laughing, or the fashionable world, still the interest of solid science never was totally forgotten. Accordingly, a.concise department has always been allotted to the propounding and to the solution of MATHEMATICAL QUESTIONS. We wish to offer the same opportunity to the American Philomath. Many Gentlemen in the country, are eminent for their skill in this science. We wish each Problem to be succinctly stated, each diagram to be distinctly drawn, and the demonstration to be as concise, and as elegant as possible. It must always be remembered, that this Miscellany is open to the Learned and the Studious, as well as to the Laugher and the Lounger.
Useful projects may be very successfully started in this Journal. America is a sort of Canaan for Projectors. We do not, by any means, intend to be understood, as expressing this sarcastically. We affirm, with confidence and truth, that America, her age considered, has been eminently distinguished for the multiplicity and utility of her inventions. Correct notices of this description of discoveries will always be cheerfully inserted, and with auxiliar suggestions, or adroit ma
nagement we may hope to elicit Genius from undeserved obscurity.
It has been remarked, we hope unjustly, that the national character is phlegmatic, and that the Powers of Merriment, Wit, and Humour, are strangled, by the iron hand of Care, or at least checked by the severity of business. We think we could cite some shining examples to the contrary, Our fellow labourers in New-England, the classical Editors of the Monthly ANTHOLOGY, a work which we rejoice to behold regularly appearing with new radiance, are conspicuous afar by the scintillations of Wit, as well as by the torch of Science. The sneering and sarcastic caterers of SALMAGUNDI, a poignant dish, which has delighted many a literary Epicure, proved that with them there was no lack of attic salt; and we often read in some American repository many a pleasant paragraph and poem, of which ARBUTHNOT or a Swift might not have been ashamed. Of this class of contributions, so vital to the success of a Literary Journal, we hope to obtain such an abundance as to prove, that even in America, a Rabelais, a Sterne, or a Gay might be found.
From this gay department the transition is easy to one still more airy. We allude to the province of song writing, which although exquisitely beautiful and alluring, has been, with few exceptions, strangely neglected in America. The poets of the continent and of Great Britain, have indulged themselves in the composition of the lighter lyric, devoted to the celebration of the joys either of love, of wine, or of the chase. Some of the most agreeable compositions of the conciser character, that were ever indited, are to be found in the collections of the French, English, and German songs. In this country, the themes for the balladmeasure are innumerable. In every grove, in every field, in every hamlet, we may find materials. We wish to ex. cite the workmen. Songs, patriotic, nautical, jovial, or amatory, will, if inspired by Genius, always be hearkened to with delight. If we be so fortunate as to obtain these lighter effusions of the playful Muse, we promise that Music shall suitably greet her sister Poetry.
A lover of Latinity and votary of Virgil has thrown together at Petersburg in Virginia, some critical remarks upon the versification of that poet, which are entitled Notationes in Virgilium, and are inscribed, in the form of a dedication, to Mr. Girardin, an emigrant Frenchman, and respectable scholar, concerned in the government of the college of William and Mary. These notes appear to us to be little more than a translation of the usual critical remarks, prefixed to the works of Virgil, in the common editions, with an En. glish version. In Davidson’s, for example, some of the parallel passages may be found. But as our annotator has, in some instances, broken the shackles of servility, and thought for himself, and as, in many of his citations and commendations he appears to feel something of the enthusiasm of the poet, we were inclined to preserve his communication, especially as it is addressed to a gentleman of various and respectable attainments, who justly holds an illustrious rank in the first seminary of Virginia. But, unfortunately, we have lost the manuscript in question, and nothing remains but to offer this little tribute by way of atonement to our ingenious commentator.
The hand-writing of our old correspondent, J. D. we have just again recognized, without the yawn of lassitude or the contempt of criticism. We have always been inclined to think favourably of this young man's talents, and have often regretted that they were not more frequently and judiciously employed. If he thought proper, he might become a celebrated votary of the miscellaneous Muse. His genius is naturally inclined to the gay and sportive, and though he may not soar like the Theban Swan, he does not waddle and creep like the goose of Cibber. It appears to us, after a very careful scrutiny of his powers, that he has studied, with attention, admires with enthusiasm, and may copy with neatness the sweet and cheerful style of OLIVER GOLDSMITH. Our sometime correspondent, we know, has some of the capricious feelings of the irritabile genus. As whim inspired, he has sometimes been prodigal of his praise, and sometimes lavish of his lampoons. But in all his humours, whether grave or mellow, we have never been so provoked by his petulance, as to refuse justice to his abilities. Let him peruse this article with that docility, which is so delightful a feature in the character of Addison and many other eminent authors, who justly aspired to a noble distinction. Let him weigh his strength. Let him calculate his resources, and then, if in conformity to our opinion, he can emulate the gayer style of the Essayists, let him come out, and remember that the exercise of writing twelve concise papers in a year is no very terrific task; that as there is no fear that Dulness will cause him to stumble at the threshold, there is a willing, presumption that Time and Talents will conduct him through the Temple.
We have not forgotten the works, or the pretensions of the late Hon. FISHER AMEs. We knew and have listened to the orator.
Persuasion's self was seated on his tongue :
The animated lyrics with the honoured signature of MANTO, who has displayed a generous enthusiasm and splendid talents in favour of the glorious struggle of the Spanish cavaliers, we perused with approbation and delight. This favourite writer is requested to repress diffidence and reject reserve. There is no occasion for either. The Editor long since cherished the hope of a personal interview with the author. On this, as on many other occasions of agreeable anticipation he has been disappointed. But, as the parties cannot at present converse, it is sincerely wished that they may correspond with one another. In scrutinizing our friend's verses, in company with an associate, warmed with poetic fire, and guided by all the light of criticism, so far from discovering anything to reprehend, it was mutually agreed, that the various spirited invocations, beginning · Fair Valencia' together with the admirable allusion to a Queen of Spain, who sold her jewels to enable COLUMBUS to effectuate the discovery of America was more than Poetry.
The poetical description of the Natural Bridge, a stupendous curiosity in the state of Virginia, is a favourable specimen of the author's powers. We have taken the liberty to alter a word. In his third stanza the Poet exclaims,
Then Fancy, from the pile above,
We object to the epithet feeble. Whether a streamlet, a runnel, a small fountain of water ever roars is a question. But at any rate, the association of a feeble roar reminds us of the most forcible Feeble of Sir John Falstaff, or the roaring like any sucking dove, the roaring like any nightingale, so happily undertaken by Mr. Nicholas Bottom Weaver. We have, therefore, substituted the epithet sullen, and refer the author to Milton, describing his far off curfew, ..
Over some wide watered shore,
With this solitáry exception, suggested by the sharpsightedness of verbal criticism, we think the poem a very meritorious production.
THE LITERARY WORLD. The Booksellers of Philadelphia having long contemplated the publication of the most celebrated Histories of England, it was deemed by the Editor no impertinent service to the cause of elegant letters concisely to state the pretensions, and modestly to vindicate the reputation of Home and SMOLLET.