« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
prolixity of disquisition upon trite and obvious points, for which the Italian prose-writers are generally remarkable. We have in these volumes long dissertations upon the merits of Cicero, Plautus, Terence, and Isæus, which we conceive to have been pretty well elucidated some hundred years ago. This savours a little of book-making. After Isæns, follows an oration of Themistius, prefaced of course with a Themistii Commendatio.
The last publication of Mr. Mai is an Epitome of part of the Antiquitates Romana of Dionysius Halicarnessensis, extending from the year of the city 315 to the year 685, which is valuable, inasmuch as this portion of the original work is not known to exist. The MS. from which this Epitome is published is very recent; and the editor has omitted so much of it as relates to the eleven first books of the history, in doing which he has, in our opinion, acted injudiciously. He supposes that this Epitome is the same as that which is said by Photius to have been made by Dionysius himself; but it seems pretty clear that this is not the work to which Photius and Stephanus Byzantinus allude; for, as an Italian scholar, Professor Ciampi, has judiciously observed, it is not, properly speaking, an Epitome, but should rather be entitled Excerpta. It is obviously made upon the same plan with the Excerpta Legationum, &c. which were first published by Fulvius Ursinus. These fragments are given to the world in a most unscholar-like manner, in capital letters, without any accents or spirits, which are frequently of the greatest consequence in determining the true reading, and for omitting which there was no reason, as the MS. is not old enough to be without them. We are presented, as a matter of course, with a long discussion of the merits of Dionysius, which the learned editor, with an excusable partiality, estimates more highly than perhaps they deserve. After describing him as endowed with
every imaginable requisite for a good historian, he concludes, ‘Atque ut rem uno verbo expediam, historiam nusquam absolutiorem reperies, quum a Dionysio discesseris. And again, Ecce tibi Aumen orationis aureum fundit Dionysius, magnificoque verborum apparatu, al'a sensuum ubertate, exquisita disserendi elegantia, plurimis artis lenociniis adhibitis miram propinat lectoribus voluptatem.' To these animated eulogies of the Italian scholar, we will oppose the judgment of a more sagacious, though less humane critic, from the colder temperature of Germany. 'Dionysius historiam scribit, non ut homo civilis, non ut auctor pragmaticus, sed plane ut professor, h. e. ludimagister. Grammaticum dissimulare non novit. Sophistarum ad modum sæpe locorum declamat. De rebus, e.c. de causis legum, interdum perquam inepte disputat atque pueriliter. Nimis perspicue Romanis palpatur.-Præterea dictione utitur ita prorsus peregrina et abnormi, ut cum Xenophontea aut Thucydidea
VOL. XVI, NO, XXXII.
comparata, eodem sit loco habenda, quem Apuleiana latinitas ad Livianam tenet.'
On the whole, although the discoveries which Mr. Mai has made in the Ambrosian library, are curious and interesting to the classical antiquary, they are not of that importance which the learned editor himself attaches to them; nor do they satisfy the expectations which the first intelligence of them had excited in our minds. We fear that no further hope is to be entertained, of recovering any material part of those treasures of antiquity, which have now for so many ages been lost. Even the rolls of papyrus from Herculaneum, as far as they have hitherto been deciphered, have proved to be of little value or importance. Some interesting discoveries have been made by Mr. Schneider amongst the MSS. of a dissolved monastery at Breslau, but no addition to the stock of authors. We are anxious that some able scholar should search the Laurentian library, at Florence, of which even the printed catalogue, so ably compiled by Bandini, proves that it contains much deserving of investigation: but in addition to the MSS. specified, we are inforined that a great number have, within a few years, been added to the library from suppressed convents, of which there is no catalogue. There is one circumstance which might lead us to expect something from the libraries of the lower part of Italy, (especially those of Naples, which have not been carefully examined,) and that is the late prevalence of the Greek language in those countries which were anciently called Magna Græcia.
Galateus, who lived about the year 1500, assures us that when he was a boy, they spoke Greek in Callipolis, (Gallipoli,) a town on the east coast of the Bay of Taranto. And Barrius, who lived about fifty years later, says in his ' Antiquitates Calabriæ,' that the Archiepiscopal church of Rossano, in upper Calabria, retained the Greek tongue and liturgy till bis time: and this was the case in many churches of Calabria till the middle of the fifteenth century. It appears that Barlaam, a Calabrian monk, who instructed Petrarca in Greek, spoke it as his native tongue, and knew but little of Latin.
Before our readers take leave of Mr. Mai, it may be as well to inform them, that lle is preparing for publication a fac-simile of a very ancient MS. containing about 800 lines of the Iliad, with paintings illustrative of the descriptions of the poem. The character of this MS. which is of parchment, is very remarkable. On one side of the leaf are the paintings, on the reverse the poetry; but this reverse had been covered with silk paper, on which are written some scholia, and the arguments of some books of the Iliad. Mr. Mai separated the paper from the parchment, which bast he thinks was written on at least 1400 years ago. The Aris
tarchean edition of Homer appears to have furnished the text of this MS. From another of the Ambrosian manuscripts, M. Andrea Mystosides, a Greek of Corcyra, has published the oration of Isocrates tepi ártidorews, with an addition of about eighty pages; but he has not fulfilled his task in a very critical or workmanlike manner.
Art. III. Narrative of a Residence in Ireland during the Sum
mer of 1814, and that of 1815. By Anne Plumptre, Author of Narrative of a Three Years' Residence in France, &c. illustrated with numerous Engravings of Remarkable Scenery. London.
4to. pp. 398. We were about to begin by exclaiming Sir John Carr in
petticoats!' but our respect for Sir John induced us to desist from a comparison which he does not deserve. Sir John was, it must be confessed, trivial and superficial, but he was not, like Miss Plumptre, pedantic and dull; his taste was not very good, nor his pleasantry always select, but he was not, like Miss Plumptre, gross and vulgar: he had a sufficient share of personal vanity, but he had not all the conceit of Miss Plumptre; and accordingly we find that his works, laughed out of literary life as they have deservedly been, are in most respects less ridiculous, and in every point of view, less revolting, than the trash which Miss Plumptre has, with an unlucky industry, gleaned after him.
A combination of circumstances rendered Miss Plumptre desirous of seeing Dublin and the North of Ireland, and she gladly accepted a proposal made by her friends, Mr. and Mrs. C(We really pity the persons who have visited Ireland in the last two or three years, and whose names begin with this unfortunate letter.) Liverpool was the place fixed for embarkation; but a friend of Mr. C's convinced him that it would be cheaper and better to go to Bristol and there take the accommodation of a trading vessel to Dublin; but alas ! on their arrival at Bristol, this economical scheme was overthrown—their friend, it seems proved false, and very, very false, for there was no trader sailing for Dublin, and they had now only the alternative of going in the packet to Waterford, which would have cost three guineas! and left them still sixty miles from Dublin; or of crossing the country to Liverpool, whence they could reach Dublin in the regular packets for il. ls. This last consideration determined the tourists, and by the help of all the cross stage-coaches in the North-west of England, they
arrived safely and cheaply at Liverpool.-One singular advantage which this plan had, and for which Miss Plumptre ingenuously applauds it, was, that instead of obliging her to travel sixty additional miles in Ireland, the country which she was professedly going to visit and write about, it led her through the counties of Gloster, Shropshire, and Chester.
At Liverpool, however, they embarked, and while all the other passengers contented themselves with laying in provisions for the body, Miss Plumptre—she must take the whole credit to herself' -had the providence to lay in food for the mind,' and she accordingly put up with her sea-stores, what?— Lady Morgan's excellent novel of O'Donnell'—'food for the mind' with a vengeance ! for it seems it was to serve her as a chart at sea, a road-book ashore, and an introduction into society
• As I was going to visit a part of Ireland admirably described in this work, the county of Antrim, and had besides a letter of introduction to the amiable authoress at Dublin, it received great additional interest from being read as I was crossing the Irish Channel.'— pp. 8. 9. Our readers will easily judge of a tour made under such auspices, But this work was not Miss Plumptre's only guide : before she left London, she had the good fortune to meet, and the good sense to engage, a very singular sort of companion,
“A servant hired for the excursion—who having, like myself, aca quired a smattering of mineralogical knowledge, was not less eager in the pursuit of aliment to increase and nourish it.'-p. 3.
The happy promise which these preparations give, our readers will find that the work amply fulfils. The historical and geographical parts are fully equal to Lady Morgan's romance, and the scientific parts do great honour to the mineralogical footman.
Miss Plumptre hastens to shew the whole extent of her skill, and to astound us in an early stage of our acquaintance, with the variety and accuracy of her information, by acquainting us, on the subject of the Lighthouse of hewn stone which is built nearly in the middle of the bay of Dublin, that
• In order to obviate the objection to the sandy foundation on which this structure was of necessity to be raised, it is built on empty woolpacks; an idea for which the engineer was indebted to the ingenuity of his wife.'-p. 10.
We could have wished that the philosophical footman had explained in a note on this passage what his mistress meant by an empty woolpack, and in what way woolpacks, full or empty, could have occurred to the mind of the engineer's wife as a fit foundation. for a lighthouse. Her taste in landscape and the fine arts is equally exquisite-she
finds the bay of Dublin very beautiful, but not so much so as the bay of Toulon and Belfast Lough; and she gives a view of it which certainly would justify her preferring Sheerness harbour or one or the Lincoloshire washes to this celebrated scene. It was drawn by her good friend Mr. C-, who, living in one of the houses' of an unfinished street in the outskirts of Dublin' was struck with the view and sketched it. It presents; Miss Plumptre adds with great naïveté,' a different view of the bay from any hitherto given to the public.' It certainly does—it excludes three-fourths of the extent, and all the beauty of the scene—it exhibits neither the bay, nor the villas, nor the mountains; nor the river, nor the city which adorns its banks; but there happens to be in one corner of the bay a muddy shoal, the land bordering upon which is a fetid morass, with a salt-work and a few wretched cottages, in which the lowest class of labourers reside,-and this is just the view of the bay of Dublin which her friend Mr. C- selected to sketch, and which Miss Plumptre chooses to present to us: if our ideas of the local be correct, there was no other spot on the shores of the bay from which the whole of its beauties could have been excluded. No wonder that it presents a view hitherto unknown to the public!
Miss Plumpire has the good fortune to find in Dublin all the advantages which the age of chivalry could have afforded to a wanderiug damsel and her squire-she is attended by two knights, at whose potent command the recesses of the most secret and mysterious curiosities are thrown open to her.
Sir Arthur Clarke, who is, it seems, a respectable apothecary, procured her,' through his obliging attentions, and his connexion with the proprietors,' not merely an admission into the Bank of Ireland—but, (such was his potency,) into places of the building not commonly shewn. Whatever those places may have been, Miss Plumptre has behaved with a discretion which justifies Sir Arthur's confidence, for she certainly does not mention any thing which may not be found drawn or described in every work which affects to treat of this edifice.
While Sir Arthur Clarke opened to Miss Plumptre the Bank, and the Custom House and Surgeons' Hall, and certain nameless places within these buildings which are not commonly shewn, Sir William Betham, another Knight, (by profession a herald at arms,) 'by his politeness and patronage,' procured her the advantage of seeing that most recondite and mysterious adytum, the Castle Chapel—'à beautiful specimen (she says) of modern taste and industry; the ornaments being chiefly copied from York Cathedral. (p. 30.) We shrewdly suspect that Miss Plumptre never saw York Cathedral, and we confess that we never. saw the Castle Chapel : but we are