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The evils that at present exist, the semi-barbarism which is so widely prevalent,—may, some time, be dispersed, and
The land of the cypress and vine,
And all save the spirit of man is divine;" — may, in its social relations, in the beauty and harmony of its government,--in the widely-diffused spread of art, science and literature,--present some analogy to the beautiful outward embellishments stamped by the finger of God upon its natural scenes.
We love to linger among the beautiful natural scenery so frequently presented to our captives. We quote another passage distinguished for its graphic elegance :
“Cleanly, and neatly built as was the town we had just left, and beautiful as we thought its situation, while gazing from the plaza at the bold and rugged mountains on every side, distance now certainly lent an enchantment we had not perceived before. Irrigating canals were seen extending in every direction; small patches of maguey, with their long coarse leaves, gave a picturesque air to the scenery; the orange groves now concealing, now disclosing the dwelling of some more wealthy proprietor, were clad in richest foliage and yellow with golden fruit, although January was about closing the doors of the old year. . The whole scene was mellowed by the distance, and was one of that varied and subdued beauty, seldom met with in other lands than Mexico." Vol. II., p. 128.
Having accompanied our author and his companions into captivity, it is time that we should take leave of them, referring the reader to the book itself, for the concluding passages of their adventures.
Time, in its onward march, will yet regenerate Mexico. The traveller who visits its lovely landscapes, after the lapse of years, will probably have a very different tale to tell than the one we have been perusing. A long period must, however, pass away, ere it present a spectacle like that of the free and enlightened Republic which we are so happy to call our country,—a country which surpasses all the Republics which the world has ever seen, or imagination ever feigned ; possessed of institutions well adapted to secure the welfare of a whole people,—where towns and villages are continually springing up in the forest, with the rapidity of
fairy castles in the Arabian tales.—where we have realized the beautiful land described in holy writ, where every man reposes beneath his own vine and fig tree,—where no superior is acknowledged, unless it be the superiority which great natural abilities, finished education, or real worthiness of character bestow. Prodigal as Nature has been in ber gifts to Mexico, she has not been less so to our country. Europe, 100, may boast of her proud architectural ruins, the glories of nations passed away,-may point to her sculpture, her painting, and the immortal productions of her poets,--to her beautiful rivers, meandering through vine-clad vallies,-to her mountain passes, rich in heroic and classic recollections ;-but God, the Almighty Architect, speaks to us from our still loftier mountains,-from the depths of our wider and hitherto untrodden forests,-in the voice of waters of our sublime Niagara --and in the rushing torrents of our mighty rivers. In Mexico, Superstition, clad in her ancient and gorgeous robes, still leads the multitude in fetters ; while, in our country, Religion, the child of Reflection, in the guise of sweet Simplicity, reposing amid the bowers of Nature, attracts to her beautiful retreats thousands and tens of thousands, who, thankful for the gifts of a bounteous Providence here, would taste the waters of life in an eternal world. In Mexico, knowledge, the noblest gift of God to man, shunning the cottage of the peasant, rests in the abodes of wealth, or is resorted to only by a favored few ; in the United States, she walks abroad free and unrestrained, every where a welcome guest, every where spreading her azure and various colored mantle over the eager crowds that throng around her. In Mexico, Liberty is but a pampered and sickly plant, with leaves parched and withered, that may only be said to vegetate ; while, in the United States, it may be compared to a noble tree, which spreads its branches widely, so that millions repose beneath its refreshing and invigorating shade.
ART. VIII.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
1.- A System of Greek Prosody and Metre, for the use of Schools and
Colleges; together with the Choral Scanning of the Prometheus
This work has been for some time before the public, but hitherto we have had no opportunity of examining it, which must be our excuse for not having noticed it an earlier date. There is so little attention paid to the subject of Greek Metres in the schools of this country,—such a profound ignorance of Metrical principles and of their application is prevalent even in colleges,—that we welcome with sincere good will Professor Anthon's present effort to introduce classical students to some acquaintance with this interesting topic.
This "System of Greek Prosody and Metre” is divided into three parts,—the first, containing the laws of Prosody, with the exceptions which are frequently as numerous in Greek, as the instances accordant with the rule : the second, is devoted to the elucidation of the several kinds of Metre, and the illustration of the various Metrical canons: and the third, exhibits the application of the doctrines previously laid down, by giving the scansion of the choral parts of the Prometheus Vinctus, the Ajax Flagellifer, and the Edipus Rex. To these is added a fourth part, as an appendix, which is appropriated to Professor Anthon's Indo-Germanic Analogies. We have a few remarks to make upon each of these parts.
The first part is necessarily little more than a judicious compilation : a large portion of it has been abstracted from Professor Sandford's Greek Exercises ; Dr. Anthon selected an able guide, under whose wing he might always be secure of his footing. Sir Daniel Sandford is far from being the single author consulted, and Professor Anthon has laboriously collected additional materials from other writers on the subject of deserved eminence. It is sufficiently full and complete for all the requirements of a text book; and the young student of Greek Metres will be amply provided with materials for acquiring an extensive knowledge of Prosody, if he has in his hands the present treatise, along with Brasse's Greek Gradus; while those who are desirous of prosecuting their researches further into the subject, may pass from these to Maltby's edition of Morell's Thesaurus, and Hermann's Elements, or Boëckh De Metris Pindaricis.
The second part, on Metre, is not so full as we should have liked to find it. Some explanation of the conflicting principles of the English and German schools of Prosodians, would have been scarcely out of place; and Professor Anthon might well have considered the different choral melodies employed by Aristophanes and the Tragedians, illustrated their connection and composition, and pointed out their relation to the several modes of Greek Music. He would have found an immense mine of erudition for the basis of his labors, in Boëckh's celebrated dissertation on Pindaric Metres,—a work with which, it would seem, Professor Anthon is wholly unacquainted, as well as with that of Dr. Apel, judging from the absence of any reference to either. We pretend to no acquaintance with the latter ourselves; curious works on so recondite and neglected a subject as Greek Metres, do not readily find their way into the remote parts of the country. But we think it hardly excusable to have overlooked Boëckh, who is the prince of writers upon this department of classical learning, and whose great treatise is an exhaustless repertory of all that is to be learnt of the principles of Greek Melody.
Professor Anthon's guides are Hermann, and his rivals of the Porsonic school— Porson, Tate, Maltby, Elmsley and Blomfield; and though he admits the superiority of the German school, yet there is too much leaning towards the narrowness and rigidity of the English school:
“Porson was a man of strong talent,' we quote from the Foreign Quarterly Review, "if not real genius,—but we declare that the whole matter (his metrical system) is trifling and puerile in the extreme; pure monomania; minute grammatical pedantry, unenlightened by a single ray of intellect. Porson was a giant; but if a giant choose to play with dolls, that is no reason why we, who are freemen, should baptize them gods, and slavishly bend the knee before them.”
We are no admirer of Böthe's editions, but there is much truth in a similar remark of his:
"Nostra memoria extitisse viros, alioqui doctissimos, qui, futilibus adducti rationibus, pro versibus substituerent versuum fæde truncatorum particulas, vocabula distraherent, vincula sententiarum ac numerorum solverent, dumque strophas suas, magno chartarum dispendio, totis extendunt paginis, omnem harum litterarum naturam atque gratiam extinguerent, quo tandem illud nomine appellabitur ? aut quid est, nisi hoc est, quod Terentius ait, cum ratione insanire ? et ista quidem commenta, quibus colorem dantes audacissime mutant scripta veterum, facete irriserunt Angli quidam, qui ex Porsoni schola prodierunt; sed tamen ne illi quidem omnia, quæ reprehenda sunt in hoc genere, intellexere, neque ipsi laborantibus litteris ita opitulati sunt, ut nulla alia circumspicienda esse medicina videretur. Nam sensu quidem communi haud carentes, variisque doctrinæ copiis instructissimi, furorem, quem vocant; antistrophicum retuderunt; ceterum in iambicis senariis, trochaicisque, ut usitatissimo quoque genere metrorum, magistri solertissimi insistentes vestigiis, ubicumque ultra Porsonianus fines progrediendum est, titubant, viamque nesæntes ducem quemvis, etiam pessimum, sequuntur.” (Bothe. Præf. Eur. Dram. tom. i., p. ix.)
These quotations may, perhaps, be regarded as having a more perti. nent application to the third part, than to the second. The usual mode of arranging Greek lyrics completely destroys their beauty, giving to them a short, ragged and broken movement, which wholly belies our conceptions of the rhythmical sweetness and prolonged grace of those enchanting compositions. To us, a Greek choral song is composed of
"soft Lydian airs
The hidden soul of harmony." But, in the form ordinarily given to the lyrical parts, these involuted and melting symphonies are entirely lost, and we hear only a jar of discordant and ill-assorted sounds, which but little accords with our notions of melody. The most of the chorusses in Blomfield's editions, are Greek prose run hopelessly mad. If they were, therefore, to be inserted in Dr. Anthon's work, he should have given the antidote side by side with it, which would have answered the Professor's plan of contrasting the Porsonic and German schools, much better than the method he has adopted. We regret that he has not included within his conspectus the Pindaric Metres; for while they are themselves the most finished remnants of Greek lyric poetry, the perversity of different editors has arranged them in such diverse forms, as to afford the amplest field for illustrating the discrepancies of conflicting systems. We give a single specimen from the rival and elaborate editions of Heyne and Boëckh, not only to show the incontestible superiority of the system of the latter, but more especially to exhibit the peculiar rhythmical ease and beauty of the latter, when there are none of those violent disruptions which have marred the melody of lyric verse in other editions of the Greek poets. We select the commencement of the first Pythian ode-one of the noblest in Pindar. The verses, as arranged by Heyne, may be read or scanned in the ordinary manner. We have given the marks of emphasis to those which exhibit the order of Boëckh, as his system is unlike any which preceded it: Χρυσέα φόρμιγξ, Απόλλω
2. á.K.B. νος και ιοπλοκάμων Σύνδικον Μουσαν κτέανον. .
Τας ακούει μεν βάσις, αγλαίας αρχα.
'Αγησιχόρων οπόταν των φροιμίων
'Αενάου πυρόσ: Εύ-
VOL. VI.NO. 11.