« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
And herbs that love the flow'ry field,
Round his domestic gods their mirth pursue ! The conclusion of this Epode is fingular; for though the reader all along imagines that Horáce himself speaks, yet, at the close, it comes out, that it is the language of an usurer, who, after having thus sweetly enumerated the pleasures of a country life, and even determined upon the enjoyment of them, repents of his resolution. The Poet thus conveys a lively idea of the pitiful soul of a miser, who denies himself joys which his wealth has enabled him to participate :
The us’RER spoke; determin’d to begin
The wretch had put it out to use again! Such is the Second Epode, and it is a fair specimen of this kind of poetry. The same eale, the same fimplicity are apparent, for which all of HORACE's productions are distinguished.
These Epodes are seventeen in number, and their subjects can boast of variety. The Fifth, on the Witch Çanidia; the Seventh, to the Roman People; and the Thirteenth, to one of his friends, are all curious in their kind. The mysterious horrors of necromancy; the infamous thirst for war which characterized the conquerors of the world, and the tender aspirations of friendship, here rise to our minds with peculiar grandeur and sublimity. A poet always displays the luperiority of his taste in two particulars; the choice of his
subject subject and the manner in which it is executed. Here then let it be remembered, that HORACE, with a very few exceptions, shines unrivalled; for the foundness of his judgment and the delicacy of his taste have long been the theme of admiration. To relish such writings may be deemed nó inconsiderable test of our mental improvement.
VOLTAIRE. HEN a candle burns and gives light to a house, nomenon. The fat of the animal is the work of the Creator, or the wax of the bee is made by his teach. ing; the wick is from the vegetable wool of a fingular exotic tree, much labour of man is concerned in the compofition, and the elements that infiame it, are those by which the world is governed. But after all this apparatus, a child or a fool may put it out; and then boast that the family are left in darkness, and are running against one another. Such is the mighty archievement of Mr. Voltaire as to religion ; but with this difference, that what is real darkness is by him called illumination, and there is no other between the two cases.
LORD BACON. LORD Bolingbroke tells us, in his Idea of a Patriot King, that there is not a more profound, nor a finer observation in all Lord Bacon's works, than the fol. lowing :-We must choose betimes such virtuous objects as are proportioned to the means we have of pursuing them, and belong particularly to the stations we are in, and the duties of those stations. We must de. termine and fix our minds in such a manner upon them,
that the pursuit of them may become the bufiness and the attainment of them, the end of our whole lives. Thus Thall we imitate the great operations of nature; and not the feebie, flow, and imperfect operations of art. We must not proceed in forming the moral character, as a statuary proceeds in forming a statue, who works sometimes on the face, sometimes on one part, and sometimes on another ; but we must proceed, and it is in our power to proceed, as nature does, in forming a flower or any other of her productions ; rudimenta partium omnium fimul parit et producit; she throws out altogether, and at once, the whole system of every being, and the rudiments of all the parts.
EARL OF PEMBROKE.
LORD Chesterfield (says Lord Orford) thus directed a letter to the late Lord Pembroke, who was always swimming-To the Earl of Pembroke, IN THE THAMES, over agains Whitehall. This direction was fure of finding him within a certain number of fa
I finished Mr. Gibbon (says Lord Orford) a fall fortnight ago, and was extremely pleased. It is a molt wonderful mass of information, not only on history, but almost on all the ingredients of history, as war, govern
ment, commerce, coin, and what not. If it has a fault, it is in embracing too much, and consequently in not detailing enough, and in ftriding backwards and for. wards from one set of princes to another, and from one subject to another; so that without much historic knowledge, and without much memory, and much method in one's memory, is almost impossible not to be sometimes bewildered; nay, his own impatience to tell what he knows, makes the author, though commonly fo explicit, not perfectly clear in his expressions.
land, and inscribed on his Tomb, by his Friends.
GARTH AND DARWIN. Is it not extraordinary, that two of our very best poets, Garth and Darwin, should have been physicians ? Í believe they have left all the lawyers wrangling at the turnpike of Parnassus. TO MR. ROSCOE, ON HIS LIFE OF LORENZO DE
MEDICI. If ever you had the pleasure of reading such a delightful book as your own, imagine, sir, what a comfort it must be to receive such an anodyne in the midst of a fit of the gout, that has already lasted above nine weeks, and which at first I thought might carry me to Lorenzo de Medici, before he should come to me!
The complete volume has more than answered the expectations which the sample had raised. The Gre. cian fimplicity of the style is preserved throughout; the fame judicious candour reigns in every page, and with. out allowing yourself that liberty of indulging your own bias towards good, or against criminal characters, which over rigid critics prohibit. Your artful candour compels your readers to think with you, without seeming to take a part yourself. You have thewn, from his own virtues, abilities, and heroic spirit, why Lorenzo de. ferved to have Mr. Roscoe for his biographer. And fince you have been so, sir, I shall be extremely mis. taken if he is not henceforth allowed to be, in various lights, one of the most excellent and greatest men with whom we are well acquainted, especially if we reflect on the shortness of his life, and the narrow sphere in which he had to act.
CURIOUS SIGHT AT PALERMO.
AMONG the remarkable objects in the vicinity of Palermo (lays SONNINI) pointed out to strangers, they fail not to fingularize a convent of Capuchins, at a small distance from town, the beautiful gardens of which serve as a public walk. . You are thewn under the fa. bric a vault, divided into four great galleries, into which the light is admitted by windows cut out at the top of each extremity. In this vault are preserved, not in feth, but in skin and bone, all the Capuchins who have died in the convent since its foundation, as well as the bodies of several persons from the city. There are here private tombs belonging to opulent families, who even after death disdain to be confounded with the vulgar part of mankind. It is said, that in order to secure the preservation of those bodies, they are prepared by being gradually dried before a Now fire, so as to consume the Heth without greatly injuring the skin. When perfe&tly dry, they are invested with the Capuchin habit, VOL. VIII,