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He proceeds to account for this by mentioning several exactions to which they were subjected by the emperors.

The history of Nicephorus Gregoras in two volumes, and that of the emperor Cantacuzenus in three volumes, contain all the particulars of the extraordinary discussions which agitated the Greek church after the dissolution of the Latin empire at Constantinople, respecting the light on Mount Tabor. The fourteenth century was not altogether unproductive of learned men; the patronage of the elder Andronicus filled the Byzantine court with orators and philosophers, not worthy, indeed, of the olden times of Grecian fame, but certainly superior to any that had appeared since the reign of Justinian. Nicephorus Gregoras at an early age was enrolled in the number of the learned frequenters of the court, and soon rendered himself conspicuous by proposing that reformation of the calendar which Pope Gregory XIII. subsequently adopted. The deposition of his patron, the elder Andronicus, involved Gregoras in some difficulties, which were greatly aggravated by his share in the Taborian controversy. It appears that some dreaming monks had affirmed that they could see divine light with their bodily eyes; some equally wise people denounced the assertion as blasphemous; Palamas, on the part of the monks, asserted it to be scriptural; and quoted the light seen during the transfiguration on Mount Tabor as at once eternal, uncreate, and visible. Gregoras took the side opposed to the monks; and for a long series of years the eastern church was diligently engaged in a very furious discussion, that did not always confine itself to words on this whimsical topic. The names of heretic, blasphemer, traitor, and every other epithet which the abundant resources of theological invective could supply, were liberally bestowed on both sides; synods and councils were assembled, with no other effect than to add fresh fuel to the contest. The accession of Cantacuzenus, who had been the pupil of Gregoras, inspired the Anti-Taborians with hopes of victory, but they were doomed to be disappointed; Cantacuzenus had got hold of some metaphysical crotchet respecting what the schoolmen were pleased to term “ the immateriality of visibility," and vindicated the uncreate light of Mount Tabor as vigorously as Palanas. Gregoras declared that the death of the Emperor's son was a punishment from heaven on the imperial heresy; a piece of profaneness paralleled by the commentator, whose notes the editors have thought fit to re-publish, who very gravely ascribes the downfal of the eastern empire to the rejection of papal supremacy. The controversy lasted through the entire life of Gregoras, and the rancour of his adversaries survived his death; they refused his body the rites of burial, and ordered it to be exposed to the dogs and birds.

Cantacuzenus is at once the critic and continuator of Gregoras; he composed his history, after his abdication of the empire, as a vindication of his life and actions. It is, indeed, rather a laboured " apology for the life of an ambitious statesman than a history, but it contains many eloquent passages and graphic descriptions worthy of the writers of a better age.” His account of the spasmodic cholera which devastated Europe in the fourteenth century, would, with but little change, serve for a description of the disease which still holds its course through England.

“ This plague,” he says, " originating among the Hyperborean Scythians, spread over all the maritime coasts of the babitable world, and destroyed a vast multitude of people. For it not only passed through Pontus, Thrace, Macedon, Greece Proper, and Italy, but also all the islands, Egypt, Libya, Judæa, and Syria, and wandered over almost the entire circuit of the globe. But so incurable was the disease, that neither any system of dietetics, nor any strength of body, could resist it; for it prostrated all bodies alike, the weak as well as the strong; and those who were attended with the utmost care died, as well as those who were wholly neglected. That year, indeed, was remarkably free from other diseases, but if any person had been previously indisposed, bis sickness assumed the types and character of this disease. The entire art of medicine was found unavailing. Nor did it similarly attack all; for some holding out but for a very brief space, died the very same day, some the very same hour.

But those who beld out for two or three days were first attacked by acute fever ; the disease then ascending to the bead, they became dumb and insensible to all occurrences, and so dropped off as into a profound slumber. But if any by chance came to themselves, they made attempts to speak, but the occipital nerves being paralyzed, the tongue refused to perform its office, and so, muttering inarticulately, they quickly expired. In some the disease attacked, not the head, but the lungs; soon their inward parts became inflamed, their breasts were racked with violent pains, and they vomited matter tainted with gore, and having a very fetid smell. The jaws and tongue were parched with heat, and became black and gory; it made no difference whether they drank much or little. They could take no sleep, but were tortured by continual pain. Abscesses and ulcers of various sizes seized on the arms and arm-pits of some; others had them in the cheeks and various parts of the body, but with these the ulcers were smaller, like black pimples. In some, black spots, like brands, appeared over the whole body, varying in size and intensity. But all of these died alike. Some had all these symptoms together, some only a few, but with most the appearance of any one of these signs was deadly. The few who escaped were never again mortally seized with the disease, so that when attacked a second time they retained their confidence. Great abscesses were sometimes formed in the arms and thighs, which being opened discharged a very foul pus, and thus the virulence of the disease was carried off. Several, though

attacked by all these symptoms escaped, contrary to general expectation. No certain remedy could be possibly discovered; for what was salutary to one patient was fatal to another. He that cured another generally took the disease, and funerals were multiplied, so that many bouses were left completely desolate, even domestic animals dying with their masters. But nothing was more wretched than the general despair. For when a person was taken sick, he at once resigned all hope, and not a little strengthening the violence of the disease by his utter dejection speedily expired. The species of this malady cannot therefore be described ; whence we may clearly understand that it was not any plague natural or common to mankind, but a fearful chustisement inflicted by Providence; and many, converted by its means, amended their lives and determined to forsake their sins ; not only those who were mortally attacked, but even those who recovered from the pestilence. Laying aside their vices, they devoted themselves to the study of virtue, and many, even before they were attacked by the disease, bestowed all their goods to feed the poor. But if any found themselves affected, there was none so flintybearted or obdurate that did not repent him truly of his former sins, and by sincere contrition afford the Deity an occasion of showing mercy at his gracions tribunal. Of this pestilence vast numbers perished at Byzantium, and among others Andronicus the son of the emperor.”

We cannot take our leave of this series without expressing our regret that the editorial cares have been, for the most part, limited to the republication of the Parisian volumes with a more correct text; we would gladly have hailed a good critical apparatus of notes and glossaries, the condensation of the prefaces and commentaries of the Parisian editors, and in many instances rejection of what, for want of a better term, we must call “twaddle.” Even of the originals a great part might have been safely omitted, for we cannot discover any reason for our being condemned to read the same absurdity, in the same words and syllables, both in Malalas and the Paschal Chronicle.

ART. V.-Poems by William Cullen Bryant, an American

edited by Washington Irving. London. 1832. 8vo. WE bave reason to hail with satisfaction such creditable productions of American authorship as the volume before us. England has been not only the parent but the preceptress of America. Our language is the sole repository of her literature. We furnished the models which her writers bave most evidently followed. In reading their works we are irresistibly led to associate them with those of England; and we yield easily to the temptation of adding their literary laurels to swell that vast aggregate of glory which illuminates the annals of the English language. Yet though the American writer is in many respects identified with ourselves, there is on the other hand much that renders him distinct. Though availing himself of the same vehicle of thought, and acknowledging the same models, he has his own peculiar sources of inspiration, has viewed scenes which we have never viewed, and has associations and feelings which are not as ours. With respect especially to the author before us, we agree in opinion with the distinguished editor, that his descriptive writings "are essentially American. They transport us into the depths of the solemn primeval forest, to the shores of the lonely lake, the banks of the wild nameless stream, or the brow of the rocky upland rising like a promontory from amidst a wide ocean of foliage; while they shed around us the glories of a climate, fierce in its extremes, but splendid in all its vicissitudes." Though a contributor to “ the common treasury of the language,” Mr. Bryant must still be regarded as a foreigner; and in that capacity his productions fairly bring him under the notice of this Journal a notice more willingly recorded, because our remarks will be rather those of eulogy than of censure.

The small collection of poems now first offered to the British public, under the editorship of Mr. Washington Irving, has been slowly formed. Some of them have been subjected to a probationary delay exceeding even that long term which is prescribed by Horace--a commendable contrast to the usual precipitance of these days of impatient authorship. The first and lovgest poem in the collection—“ The Ages," and about half a dozen others, were printed in America in 1821. Many of the rest have subsequently appeared in various periodicals in that country, and were first published all together at New York in the present year. The result of this modest reserve has been shown, rather in the quiet propriety and freedom from extravagance which characterise the poetry of Mr. Bryant, than in that refinement of execution which careful writing is expected to produce. We do not find the rich mosaic work of Gray-the faultless delicacy of Goldsmith-the polished brilliancy of Moore—and that unexceptionable elegance of thought and expression which appear in the “ Pleasures of Memory," and in many of the writings of Campbell. The rare finish which the works of these writers exhibit, is not very apparent in Mr. Bryant's. We do not feel, as in the foregoing instances, that the most careful elaboration could hardly have made them better; and yet there are, perhaps, few poems in which it would be more difficult to discover distinct blemishes than in those of the American poet. Mr. Bryant is not a writer of marked originality, but neither is he a copyist. It is true we are often reminded by him of other writers-of Thomson, of Young,

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of Akenside, of Cowper, not unfrequently of Wordsworth, and sometimes of Campbell and of Rogers. We are reminded of them by discovering passages which we feel they might have written, and which partake of the spirit which breathes in their works; but we perceive no traces of direct imitation, no resemblance which does not seem to arise rather from the congeniality of our author's mind than from his study of their productions. He cannot be truly called the follower of any one of them. Like each of them, he has, though unmarked by strong peculiarities, a manner of his own, and is, like them, original. This may not be very evident on the first hasty glance at his writings; for his is an unpretending, unconspicuous originality, not that which results from eager straining after novelty of effect, but such as will be naturally unfolded in the works of him who, drawing little from books, records the impressions of his own mind, the fruits of his own observation. It does not occur to us, in reading his poems, that he has ever tried to be thought original—that he has at all considered whether such or such a sentiment has been previously uttered by others—that he has ever studiously striven to be unlike his predecessors. Accordingly, he digresses slightly from off the broad straight highway of truth-deals little in novel illustrations and ingenious conceits, and has no epigrammatic pomts or bright quick turns of wit. The merit of his sentiments lies rather in their justness than in their novelty--the merit of the language in which he clothes them, in its unaffected propriety rather than in its point. There are hardly any short passages of his which, taken out of their setting, would sparkle alone, and have much isolated merit, independent of the poem of which they are a part.

They must be viewed with reference to the whole. Alone they seem scarcely more than well-worded truisms, excellent in their way, but rather common-place-and yet they are, perhaps, the constituents of a poem to which the term “ common place would be utterly inapplicable.

Mr. Bryant is not a literary meteor; he is not calculated to dazzle and astonish. The light he shines with is mild and pure, beneficent in its influence, and lending a tranquil beauty to that on which it falls. But it will be little attractive, except to sobered minds, which do not seek their intellectual pleasures in the racy draught of strong excitement. He does not possess the requisite qualifications for the attainment of extensive popularity. No writer will be extensively popular who does not employ notes more stirring than those of Mr. Bryant--who does not transport us somewhat more out of the realms of contemplation into those of action—who does not excite our sympathies by moving exhibitions of human passion-or who, in default of these means, does

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