« السابقةمتابعة »
Think of" the vista of time," so frequently spoken of “This argument has been hitherto conducted, as if classical in rhetorical efforts—a long bordered avenue or road, studies were merely a means to some end, extraneous to them. extending from dim and distant antiquity, down by us, ideas worthy of preservation—no specimens of true eloquence
selves; as if the Greek and Roman languages contained no and onward, till the view is lost in the future. Think of genuine poetry—of elegant history—of valuable moral and of the lengthened succession of literati of all ages, tra- philosophical discussion. But the concurrent opinion of learned velling on it, and holding on their weary way, burdened men, since the revival of learning, has been, that they abound with the thoughts of the thinking men of every past subjects ; that in them, the statesman, the poet, the philosopher,
with excellent models of composition and argument on all those age, and proposing to show them and leave a copy of and the historian, may find materials for thought, and examples them with the living thinkers of every age as they pass. to correct and elevate the taste. The standard authors in Eng. The question is whether that burden of theirs is “mere lish, as well as the other modern languages, owe much of their useless lumber ?" Fools may think so, and doubtless excellence to the study and imitation of the ancients. They but no one else thinks with them. The calamity modern can fully understand the masters of his own literature
abound so much with quotations from Latin and Greek, that no is, that so much of that invaluable burden has actually without some acquaintance with those languages. It is not my been lost. Ancient literature, and foreign literature, is purpose to unite in that senseless and indiscriminate praise of stored away in ancient and foreign languages; and a the ancients, so common with many, who have never really apknowledge of these languages, particularly the ancient, preciated the excellence which they are in the habit of lauding.
The classic writers are fair subjects of criticism, and blind adProfessor D. offers as "the key which will unlock these miration of them is as absurd and pernicious, as it ever must be, stores of information infinitely diversified, and of which when its object is a mere human composition. Some authors, there is no end." They are the record of every science indeed, have been consecrated by the united approval of suc. and every art known to comparatively ancient times, ceeding generations of scholars. In examining their writings, the record of more than the half of human history--the blemish, is often a beauty in the estimation of profound scholars.
we should recollect that what appears to the superficial critic a materials of the history of language itself—the early A proper appreciation of their qualities requires an independent, annals of the human mind-ihe frame-work of intellec- but not a rash and conceited exercise of judgment. An exami. tual philosophy and the entire original record of in- nation in this spirit must bring us to the conclusion, that in works spired wisdom. Is this key a useless trifle and be- of taste and imagination the ancients have never been surpass
ed; while in treatises on moral, physical, and perhaps political cause, forsooth, some few of every age, and of our age, science, the writers of christendom have all the advantages, gifted with the knowledge of its use, have gone and which increased experience and revelation can give them. To brought forth for our edification, some fragments and the poet, the orator, and the historian, the classic writers furnish samples of that incalculable store?
excellent models for imitation, and constant subjects of meditaProfessor D. assumes, without enforcing it, the impor
tion and admiration. Their simplicity, their condensed power,
their ardent bursts of feeling, the perfect finish of many of their tant fact that elementary education is intended to learn compositions, are worthy of all praise. Would that their noble students to think and investigate, rather than to store models of eloquence could be imitated by some of the prolix their minds with thoughts, and the results of investiga- orators of our own day, whose only excellence consists in mul. tion. The latter is a consequence of the process almost tiplying words without either knowledge or taste! Our sickly, as much accidental as designed, while the former is the beams, and other such common places, might well derive energy
sentimental poets, too, whose strains abound in flowers, sun. very end and essence of the enterprise.
simplicity and taste from the pure masters of the ancient lyre. Of course, in learning young minds to think, we must It is by no means my wish, if it were possible, to depreciate, in make them think—"practice makes perfect ;” and in your estimation, the great men whose writings have immortaliz
Still farther is it from my intention to ad. making them think, we must give them something to think about, something to think after, and something quaintance with our own.
vocate the study of ancient authors, to the exclusion of an ac
On the contrary, I regard it as one of to think for. In this view of the case simply, it mat- the happiest effects of a classical education—that it qualifies the ters no great deal what the subject is, provided this mind for a more entire appreciation and higher relish for our own process actually go on, and go on by rule, and go on
standard authors. Our Erskine, our Burke, our Milton, and with vigor. The lecturer offers the ancient languages the Homer, and the Tacitus of ancient times. But a comparison
our Hume, do not yield the palm to the Demosthenes, the Cicero, for this purpose : their orthography, etymology and of distinguished authors on similar subjects at periods so remote, syntax-their structure, their spirit, their graces and enlarges the understanding and improves the taste. The moral embellishments—the new skies they open--the new and philosophical speculations, contained in the Latin and Greek worlds of thought and knowledge to which they lead, writers, although not corrected and purified by the infallible and the exhaustless mines of literary, scientific, and attentive consideration. They have much valuable truth mixed
knowledge since derived from revelation, are well worthy of an intellectual discovery, to which they are the avenue with error and absurdity. It is delightful to perceive, through and the entrance.
the midst of pagan darkness, those gleams of moral and reli. “This study,” says he, “when properly conducted, gious light in authors, who were not destined to see the sun of may be made a sort of gymnasium of the mind, giving revelation arise in its brightness. In politics, too, although their
authors do not deserve to be held up to unqualified admiration, more or less exercise and discipline to all its faculties."
as their poets and orators may be, they had many valuable ideas. ** If the mind should retain do single idea from the The ambitious aristocracy of Rume, the licentious mobocracy of study of the classics, it will have acquired habits of Athens, and the unnatural government of Sparta, are certainly thought-a muscular power—which will be of infi- undeserving of imitation. Yet the history of their rise and down. nite advantage in the prosecution of its future re
fall, with the reflections of their great men on the excellencies
which elevated, and the errors which sunk them, deserve an searches."
attentive examination and perusal. Minds, such as those of . In justice to the author, we insert the following para. Demosthenes, Cicero, Plato, Xenophon, and Tacitus, must of graph as a sample of his style-reminding him, how- necessity throw light on every subject on which they louch. ever, that the word "mobocracy” is of illegitimate com- They point out to us the weakness, as well as strength of the position, being the union of an English word, (scarcely lessons of encouragement from their partial success, as well as
governments under which they lived, and enable us to derive English,) and a Greek one. Democracy is the word, of warning from their ultimate failure.” and it is sufficiently expressive,
ed British literature.
The scathed mountain still was turned ;
And as they churned,
Forth issued from the stream;
Came out; then the divine
And in her cause
Followed the snow-white horse: All bent their footsteps upward to the sun.
Frowning in the distance, far
That lofty mountain had its birth.
And to the ocean's side,
With his vast load he hied;
In the depths of the flood,
And the serpent-king wound
His soft fold around The monster-mountain like a pliant rope: • The fable (of which this poem claims to be little more than a paraphrase) may be found in all its details, in the last note to Socthey's "Curse of Kehama.”
† The soors or suras are the good spirits, and the asoors or esuras, the evil spirits of Hindoo mythology.
; Pedalon, the place of eternal torment.
Then came a spirit with th' amreeta drink;
The precious cup-
Narayan stooping low,
As the bright bow Plays on the frowning visage of the storm.
Before his smile
And in the contest, from the hand
A SKETCH FROM THE RECOLLECTIONS OF A TRAVELLER.
Received the precious cup,
Mount Mander, the monstrous, to its former bed,
With songs, and rejoicing, and praises, was led ;
The sheckra, all harmless in beauty, ascended,
And with the warm light-flood of glory was blended; The asoors like a tempest on them burst.
The thrice blissful spirits, their vast labor done,
Quaffed free the amreeta, so painfully won.
Then the suras rejoicing, in gladness gave out
The token of triumph, a rapturous shout-
And the sea, and the shore, and the firmament rung,
As the pæān of victory by millions was sung.
Dickinson College, 1839.
With brand and stake,
MOLA DI GAETA.
Tu quoque litoribus nostris, Æneia nutrix,
Æternam moriens famam, Caiela dedisti :
Et nunc servat honos sedem tuus; ossa que nomen
Hesperiâ in magnâ, si qua est ea gloria, signat.
Virgil Ænead, Lib. VII.
The faintest signs of dawn were scarcely visible, Slowly to Narayan came,
when we set out from Velletri. We had left Rome on Who seized it in his mighty hand
the previous morning for Naples, and our route this day And dashed it at the affrighted band.
traversed the celebrated Pontine Marshes-a region of
disease and desolation. This “Serbonian Bog” stretches Forth it leapt,
from Cesterna to Terracini-a distance of from twentyAnd o'er the earth in terror swept:
five to thirty miles-between the first range of the ApIt tore, and burned, and crushed a path,
penines, and an extensive forest, which bounds it with As through the asoors it rushed in wrath.
short intervals, upon the sea coast. It is caused by the Awhile 'twould shoot on high,
want of declivity, which prevents the streams that flow And flash across the sky,
from the mountains, from discharging themselves freely. And then 'twould drop from heaven,
Two small rivers traverse it, besides several minor And run along the earth like liquid levin,
streams. Many efforts have been made to drain it, both And lap the blood
by Roman emperors and modern pontiffs: the last of
which was that of Pius VI. in the eighteenth century, That on the ground in stagnant puddles stood.
but without complete success.
A fine modern road,
elevated above the general level, and bordered with With tree and rock,
rows of elm and poplar, has been constructed along the And dreadful shock,
course of the ancient Appian Way. Parallel with it The asuras in their desperation rushed,
is the principal canal, with which numerous smaller And would have crushed,
trenches communicate. The soil is generally let to The purer spirits in the fight;
large farmers, who reside in Rome, while the labor is And with superior might
performed by overseers and husbandmen from the inteThey tore the lofty hills asunder,
rior, who do not long resist the deleterious influence of And dashed them to the earth with thunder;
the atmosphere. The produce in grain is large in some But in a moment all the hellish host
places, and the pastures are rich, affording sustenance Were in a shower of golden arrows lost.
lo numerous buffaloes, while great herds of swine roam XVI.
through the dense forest, which, with slight intervals, O’erwhelmed with fright
shuts out the view of the sea. The popular opinion The evil spirits turned to flight,
which ascribes the unhealthiness of Rome to the PonSome threw themselves in the wild commotion tine Marshes, is, I am persuaded, erroneous. They Of the raging, tempest-tost ocean,
are too distant, and moreover separated from the capiAnd others found
tal by spurs of the Appenines, besides which the CamRetreat in caverns under ground,
pagna di Romagna itself affords a sufficient explanation And sought again
of the melancholy phenomenon. As we passed through The raging pain
this “marish, vast and foul,” this dreary "slough of Which fate has doomed them to endure, despond,” my feelings soon partook of the gloom of the Forever and forevermore.
scene, and I sank into no enviable state of mind. The * The sheckra is an instrument frequently seen in the repre.
sombre landscape was wrapt in a profound stillness, sentations of Hindoo idols. It is double-pointed, and when used which was not repose, but the lethargy of " summer's is held in the middle.
noontide air.” The silence of day is more impressive
than that of night. It addresses itself to the eye as well tof of interesting events, the site of flourishing towns, and the ear. The oblivious veil of darkness is not then thrown the abode of a crowded population, has sadly declined over nature, which seems paralyzed and oppressed from its ancient prosperity. The traveller sees nothing rather than at rest. I could not resist the general but marshy plains, with here and there a wretched contagion; and in spite of the popular prejudice which looking town, straggling along the edge of the water, deems it fatal to sleep while crossing these pestilential and apparently inhabited exclusively by fishermen. plains, I fell back upon my seat and lapsed into a pro- Among these the most considerable is Fondi, which, found slumber.
although situated in a fertile plain, covered with poplar, When I awoke, we were already in view of Terracina, orange, cypress and myrtle, presents a most dingy and where we were to halt a couple of hours during the desolate aspect. Its inhabitants, who do not enjoy a greatest heat of the day. This town, which is at the very good reputation, suffer much from the malaria of south-eastern extremity of the Pontine Marshes, though the surrounding plains, which are subject to frequent formerly of some note, is now a miserable place, noto- inundation. It is built upon the Appian Road, which rious as the resort of bandits and outlaws. It has a is composed of large flags fitted together without cepopulation of nine or ten thousand, and boasts among ment. How admirable must be the work which has ils edifices, a cathedral, a dark and gloomy structure, as survived so many centuries ! well as a palace, built by Pius VI., who made Terra- Altogether the scenes and emotions of the day had cina his frequent residence while engaged in the effort been of a melancholy cast, and I was in no enviable to drain the territory which I have just described. It is state of feelings, when, fatigued in mind and body, we built in the vicinity of the Appian Way, and traces of approached Mola di Gaeta, where we were to put up for the ancient port of Antonius Pius are still visible. The the night. But how shall I describe the sudden transruins of the ancient city of Anxur are also to be seen formation which both the scene and my feelings underin its environs.
went? In the midst of a rich and fragrant valley, a Terracina has an aspect strikingly wild and desolate. lovely village lay reclined in the bosom of a gentle bay, It lies immediately upon the shore of the Mediterra- which yields not even to Naples in the softer features of nean, whose waves lave the very walls of the houses, beauty. The white walls of the houses, embosomed in stretching also upon a craggy, precipitous eminence, gardens, shone, from their contrast, with the dark verwhich rises abruptly from the centre of the town. It dure by which they were partially screened. Groves of was here I saw for the first time, and not without orange, and citron, and fig, and mastic, and myrtle, singular emotion, palm-trees of spontaneous growth, with other beauteous or fragrant trees and shrubs, and whose gaunt, lowering stems, surmounted by a radia- here and there a shining cottage, or dimly discerned ting canopy of enormous leaves, struck me as fit em- ruin, were scattered along the shore, which terminated blems of barbaric Africa. We were detained at this in a promontory, crowned by the white walls and ca3desolate looking place, until my patience was nearly tellated towers of the town of Gaeta. On one side rose exhausted. I will not, as is the wont of travellers, the blue hills of the Appenine, while on the other the dwell upon the discomforts of the inn, or the wretched-eye traced an extensive outline of coast, gay with vilness of the repast. To me the greatest inconvenience lages, vineyards, gardens and cottages. Numerous was the delay, and it was with no small satisfaction that skiffs—their white sails impelled by a gentle breezeI heard, at length, the cry of the veturino, “Andiamo were approaching the land, to take refuge for the night Signori !"
in the coves and inlets which indented the shore. The In passing out of the town, I was struck by a pecu- rays of the sun, which was just sinking beneath the liar discoloration of the rocks and adjoining waves, horizon, burnished a sky of unclouded brilliancy, while which emitted a noisome, sulphureous odor. These the soft expanse of the water beneath, glowing with the phenomena, frequent in the volcanic regions of Italy, horizontal beams of the descending luminary, and the never failed to fill me with solemn and painful emotions. brightness reflected from above, seemed literally to They speak of a power beneath, at war with the arts flow with molten gold. Presently a milder flush difof man and the beauties of nature. They vividly recall fused itself over the gorgeous seene, which gradually those awful calamities which have covered some of the invested itself with the soft, voluptuous tints of an fairest portions of the earth with “blackness and deso- Italian twilight. lation.” They are prelusive of that final doom, which Never had I been so affected by the tranquil beauty we are assured is to involve our world in a universal of nature; never had earth appeared so lovely to my catastrophe. Alas, poor Italy ! how many causes have eyes. I could not sufficiently contemplate the encombined to lay waste the beauty of her features! The chanting spectacle, whose charm held my spirit absoenmity of nature, the violence of man, the hand of God, lutely spell-bound. I roved among the luxuriant groves have all been upon her, and have left of her nothing but and fragrant gardens, inhaling with delight the perfume a lovely ruin.
that floated on “Favonian airs," and listening with Alas, o'er these fair scenes
rapture to the song of the nightingales among the Wild terror strides; their stubborn rocks are rent ;
branches. By slow degrees the shades of evening came Their mountains sink-their yawning caverns flame; on, changing but not withdrawing the beauties of the And fiery torrents roll impetuous down,
The queen of night succeeded to the king of Proud cities deluging ; Pompeian towers,
day, shedding a mild and pearly lustre over the distant And Herculaneum,
hills, the bright walls, the rich foliage and mellow The road continued, at intervals, to wind along the waves, which broke in sparkling ripples upon a spotless coast, and the sea was rarely entirely out of view. The beach. A gentle breeze, floating through flowers and country through which we passed, formerly the theatre | fruitage, filled the air with fragrance, and fanned the
J. L. M.
fevered temples with its cooling wings. The dark ver- | act as his journeyman, and the genteel carriage of the dure of the orange and the cypress seemed tipped with little Canova soon procured him the affection of the silver, as it rustled with the stirring air. It was an chief cook and of all the scullions of the house, so that, evening never to be forgotten. A delightful calm dif- the day's work being ended, Canova did not stir from fused itself throughout my whole frame, and plunged the pantry, where he executed in crumb of bread or in my soul in a delicious reverie. It was not the quietude plaster grotesque figures and caricatures, which delight. of languor, but the eloquent silence of thoughts too ed the valets, and in return they fed him in the style of big for utterance. But I fear to give expression to my lord. emotions which must have been felt to be believed. One day there was an entertainment at the country Nothing, it has been said, cools us like the enthusiasm house. Canova was in the kitchen, playing with the of others.
scullions, when they suddenly heard a cry of despair Sweet Mola di Gaeta ! How often amid scenes of from the pantry, and saw the head cook coming out in gloom and hours of sadness, has my spirit taken unto alarm, throwing up his cap, striking his breast and herself wings, and revisited thy lovely shore! How tearing his hair. After the first moments of astonishoften amid the strife of factions, the din of business, the ment, they crowded round him. “I am lost,” he cried, “I heartless sounds of gaiety, the fever and the agitation am lost! My magnificent master-piece! my palace, of the world, have s turned wistfully from the present which I had built for the dinner! see in what a condito the past, and wandered in soul among thy “gardens tion it is !" of the Hesperides !” Sweet Mola di Gaeta.
And with a pathetic gesture, he showed an edifice of pastry, which he had just drawn from the oven. Alas, it was burnt, covered with ashes, and half demolished. There was a general cry of surprise and grief.
“What is to be done ?" demanded the chief cook ;
“here is the dinner hour. I have not time to make THE FIRST STATUE OF CANOVA. another. I am lost! My lord expects for the dessert
something remarkable. He will turn me away!" (Translated from the French for the “Southern Literary During these lamentations, Canova walked round the Messenger.")
demolished palace and considered it with attention.
“Is this for eating ?” he inquired. There are, doubtless, few of our readers who have “Oh! no, my little one,” answered the chief cook, “it not heard mentioned with honor the name of the great is only to look at.” Canova, that skilful sculptor of modern times, whose “Ah well, all is safe. I promise you something better admirable statues have almost taken rank amongst the than that in an hour from now. Hand me that lump of master-pieces which Grecian antiquity has transmitted butter.” to us. Canova, like many other great men, owed his The chief cook, astonished, but already half persuaded rise solely to himself. Diligent labor was the only by his boldness, gave him all he wanted ; and of this source of his fortune, and the first attempts of his in- lump of butter, Canova made a superb lion, which he fancy presaged the success of his mature age.
sprinkled with meal, mounted on a pedestal of rich Canova was an Italian, the son of a mason. All the architecture, and before the appointed hour, exhibited education which he received from his father consisted in his finished work to the wondering spectators. The learning the business of his trade. As soon as his chief cook embraced him with tears in his eyes, callstrength permitted, he learned to handle the trowel and ed him his preserver, and hastened to place upon the the hammer, to mix the plaster and to place the gravel- table the extemporaneous master-piece of the young occupations which he discharged with sufficient zeal and activity to be soon able to serve as the journeyman There was a cry of admiration from the guests. or rather the companion of his father, not withstanding Never had they seen, said they, so remarkable a piece his youth. But in the frequent intervals of repose, of sculpture. They demanded the author of it. which his weakness rendered indispensable, he amused “Doubtless one of my people,” answered my lord, himself by observing the different objects which he saw with a satisfied air; and he asked the chief cook. about him—with sketching them roughly with brick or He blushed, stammered, and ended by confessing hard stone upon the wall against which he leaned, or what had happened. All the company wished to see even with modelling their forms in the plaster and the young journeyman, and overwhelmed Canova with cement which he had just mixed. These constant praises. It was decided at once that the master of the exercises, practiced with as much perseverance as household should take charge of him, and have him go intelligence, soon rendered him familiar with the prac- through studies suitable to his precocious talent. tice of drawing and of sculpture in relief. But his They had no cause to repent of this decision. We youthful talent was unknown to all, even to his father, have seen that Canova knew how to profit by the leswho only concerned himself with his greater or less sons of his masters, whom he soon excelled. Neverskill in passing the plaster to the sieve and in pouring theless, in the midst of his celebrity, he was pleased enough water into the trough.
with remembering the adventure of the lion of butA whimsical event suddenly occurred to reveal it to ter, and said he was very sorry that it had been meltall the world.
ed. "I hope,” he added, “lhat my later statues wil His father had been suminoned to make some repairs be more solid, otherwise my reputation runs a great in the country house of a rich lord of the neighborhood. risk.” He had taken his son with him, according to custom, to January, 1839.