ページの画像
PDF
ePub

the young man frankly acknowledged to and by sometimes adopting their opihim, that he had been three days seeking nions. Annibal Caracci ofien declared, for an exordium to a discourse, and that that he had learnt to judge of two pica he was now quite in despair, at not tores of the martyrdom of St. Andrew, having been able to find any thing that which Albano and Domenichino had pleased him. Is it not, returned Florus, painted to rival each other, from an old smiling, because you wish to do better woman, who stopped for sometime with than you can? There is certainly a great her daughter to sit before the picture of deal of presumption in this difficult dis- Domenichino, and who afterwards passed position. We reject every thing, because silently before that of Albano. The we think every thing unworthy of us; excellent works are those which immeand we act in nearly the same manner diately strike, and which are directed to as those ladies, who never think that the heart, their portraits resemble then, because THE FATHERS ATTACKED. they think theinselves more beautiful Barbeyrac, the learned translator of than any that can be drawn for them. Puffendorf

, attacked in his preface the It often happens, that froin self-love, and blind veneration paid by the Catholics in not from want of knowledge, we have so the Fathers. This of course roused the many faults in our works. Poets and indignation of the Romnish churcir. Pè a painters, particularly, are liable to have Ceillier published a voluminous detence too niuch atlection for their own produc. of these primitive Christians, but which tions; and to alter any of them, is to in fact is a continued invective against them a most paintul operation. A poet the Protestants. Barbeyrac retorted will clearly see that a thought which with greac ingenuity by his : Traité de la struck him, in the warmth of his enthu- Morale des Pères de l'Eglise," a curious siasmi, is not just, or that it does not suit work, in which, not satisfied with having bis subject : but there will be something attacked their talents, he even anns at brilliant in it which pleases him, and their morals. In a chapter tu eachi, le which makes bim desire to preserve it. He amasses all the ridiculous things he can wavers, reason puts the pen in his band collect against them. to suppress it; but he is immediately Justin Martyr, in order to shew the softened, and self-love easily obtains beauty of the cross, says that nothing is grace for it. Seneca has preserved an done in this world without a cross ; that example of an author's tenderness in the the inasts and yards of a ship, and the person of Ovid.

Some of his friends shape of most instruments, have ail bring advised him to repress in his crosses; and adds, that is hat inost disa works, two or three of his verses, which tinguishies man from the brute creation did not do bim inuch credit, he consented is, that in an elevated posture he can ere to it upon condition, that they should tend his arms, so as to form a cross with tind no fault with three verses that he was his body. going to write, privately begging them at Irenæus, highly approves of thicrery, the same time to write down those verses in justitying the Israelites robbing the they wished to be omitted, Having Egyptians; tor, (says he) whaicrer no agreed to these conditions, he found that acquire, though unjustly, it we employ it the three verses his friends had con- in the 'service of the Lord, we are juso demned, were the very same for which tified. he had obtained grace; and he declared Of Clement, of Alexandria, our anthor to them, says Seneca, that he was not has produced a copious fund of absurignorant of their defects; but that he dities. Clement tediously refutes those could not dislike thein. I am astonished who, because the title of children is giveni that a man who burnt the fifteen books to Christiuns, would inter that there was of the Metamorphoses, with the design to any thing childish in the gospel. Tiis suppress them, could be so difficult for father has a hundred sucli puerile disa three verses.

tinctions and dissertations; lie makes The eyes of the vulgar frequently see every part of the Scriptures mystical, what escapes those of the learned. It is He has poured out declamations with said of Malherbe, that he consulted the respect to manners, and considers the ear of an old domestic; the same thing use of looking glasses as idolatry, beis related of Molière. Every one knows

cause Moses forbids the making of any the esteem of Apelles for the judgment image! This will be sufficient. of the people, which he evinced by ex- Tertullian condemns all theatrical pusing his finest works to their criticisms, exhibitions, because, says lie, the actor's buskins give the lie to C, whó told its excellent founder. Conducted by the us, that we could not add one cubit to our hand of the invisible Jesus, they walked stature ! Tertullian, with all the fathers, in a path of roses, and slept in visions of considered marriuge as criminal; he immortality. writes to his wife, that after the resurrection, they will not make use of any

buskins

ON BOCCACIO, AND HIS DECAMERON. voluptuous turpitude, for God has nothing Boccacio was born at a little village filthy in his presence.

near Florence. His birth was obscure; Origen advises us to mutilate our man- and his father, in consequence of his pohood, if we would become good Chris- verty, sent him against his inclination to a tians; he not only preached this presept, merchant, to learn commerce: he rebut, what was still more extravagant, he mained with him some time, but having really set the example. His allegorical been to Paris with his master, and having explanations of the Scriptures are still seen there a little of the world, he soon more extravagant.

became disgusted with his profession. St. Cyprian's continence tormented The love of the Belles-lettres made him so him terribly, besides the ceaseless im- neglect all mercantile affairs, that the portunities of his exasperated lady: He merchant sent him back to Florence. His hardly disapproves of suicide; so that father then, by the advice of his friends, had their continence and their suicide made him study the law; but young prevailed among the Christian sect, (for Boccácio did not find his inclination lead at that moment christianity can only be hin to that either : he quitted the bar for considered as a sect), Europe would have the study of polite literature and poetry. been in time quite depopulated., St. His genius unfolded itself, and he compoAmbrose oddly observes, that where sed some tolerably good verses; but those there are Nuns, there are fewer persons of Petrarch, who flourished at that time, born; and he would increase their num. appeared to him so infinitely superior, ber as much as possible. They were so

that he resolved to burn his; preferring partial to martyrdom, that they accused rather tò inake mone, than to yield to anthemselves of crimes, as a stratagem to

other in that respect; it is true, that if we be put to death.

judge of his talent by the verses at the Such were the fanatic propagators of end of his Decameron, we shall not form primitive Christianity. Men who are a very advantageous idea of his poetry held in saintly veneration by the bigoted However, he and Petrarch were great children of 'Rone, yet who perhaps friends; for Petrarch constantly wore a committed more absurdities than any ring on his finger, on which was the porbody of fanatics that have yet appeared. trait of Boccacio; and the latter wore one, Sometimes they take a passage in the on which was the portrait of Petrarch. literal sense, and sometimes they accept

Boccacio was handsome and well it in a mystical one; their holy indigna- made; and his manners were charming. tion against the heathen, hindered them He was passionately fond of the women, froin dwelling on moral topics; and the as we may see by his works, and he was fine ethics of the ancient philosophers, also much beloved by them; amongst with which they might have enriched others by the natural daughter of the king their miserable writings, were contemned, of Naples, from whom it is said, he rebecause they were frequently considered ceived the greatest favours, and who is so as so many faggots, proper only to be celebrated in his works under the naine of burnt.

Fiammetta. Had there not been something more

The Decameron is his master-piece; attractive in the nature of Christianity, this work is full of fine and delicate than the savage piety of these fathers; thoughts, his expressions are happy, and Christianity would he gradually ex. he gives an air of gallantry to all he

says; pired, as a flame dies in its own ashes. but we cannot too much admire the purity But ine flame of this religion was nou- of his style; the Italians, fastidious as they rished by a sweet oil and an agreeable are on this point, still read it with pleaperfume. The females were allured by sure; and they have hired readers, or proihe flattering honours paid to the Virgin, fessors, who explain it. It is to be wished which convinced them that the sex was we could judge as favorably of his morals; not despicable; and the susceptible mind but in some parts he pushes libertinisin of youth was delighted by the meek too far. Unfortunately, if we were to take character, and the patient sufferings of away these parts, we should take from MONTILY Mag, 184,

3 в

Boccacia

[ocr errors]

THE CHARACTER OF PLINY THE

NATURALIST.

Boccacio all his graces and his beauties. having committed a great many more. With respect to his judgment, that is a Every wise man who considers the imfaculty he least excels in, for it very often mense extent of his design, the prodigious fails him: he makes women, whom he quantity of knowledge, and of curiosities calls virtuous, hold conversations which which it contains, the infinite number of would be shameful in the most infamous books from which he was obliged to take places; at other times, he makes them his materials, and that in the midst of speak as Epicureans, without considering considerable occupations, military as well who are the persons whom he introduces as political, must be struck with a just ada on the scene; and even his description of miration of the excellence of his history. the plague of Florence, pathetic as it is, He will say with the candour of Horace : does not appear to me quite in its proper Verum ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis place.

Offendar maculis, quas aut incuria fudit,
Aut bumana parum cavit natura.

But in a poem elegantly writ,
What respect is not due to the memory Such as our nature's frailty may excuse.

I would not quarrel with a slight mistake, of Pliny? He is without exception one of

He will laugh at those literary bullies, the greatest men of antiquity: he is an author who has received praises from all who, incapable of perceiving the solid the truly wise, and who is only despised think themselves great persons for disco

beauties with which a work abounds, by the vulgar literati, as iż has been remarked by one of our most formidable vering some trifling defects. In fact, he critics, Plinius tantus vir ut non mirum will say, with one of the most judicious sit, si vulgus illum improbet, quum minimé critics of the last century, that whoever sit Auctor vulgaris

. Gibbon has inge- speaks ill of Pliny, hurts that great man's niously described his work as “the Li- reputation much less, than he does his

own: Non tantum Pliniano detraxit no. brary of the Poor Man." Nevertheless, those who have praised him the most,

mini quam suo. have discovered in hin many defects; but,

PETRARCH'S WILL. for che greater part of these defects he

There is a Life of Petrarch, published by ought not to incur censure. Was he Jerome Squarzaficus of Alexandria, very obliged to know more of Physic,Medicine, scarce, but printed in the curious edition or Astronomy, of the virtues of plants of Petrarch's Latin works, in folio, at Veand minerals, or of other things of the nice, in 1501. It also contains his will, same nature, than was known in his time? which is rather singular, for the whimsical If he has appeared too credulous with and good-humoured satire with which he respect to some facts, which have the air disposes of his legacies to his friends and of the marvellous, has he not acted in the domestics. same manner as all the illustrious histori

He bequeaths to Lombardus Asericus ans of his age; and amongst others, Livy, his silver gilt goblet, out of which he is to whom I could on this subject turn into drink water, which he likes better than ridicule, as easily as Pliny has been?

wine: cum quo

bibat aquam, quam libenI have always thought, and I do still, ter bibit, multo libentius quam vinum;" to that great men ought not to be con

John de Bochetta, vestry-keeper of his demned so inconsiderately: Modestè et church, his great breviary, which had cost circumspecto judicio de tantis viris pro him a hundred francs; to John de Cernunciandum. I allow, that we should not taldo seu Boccatio, fifty gold forins, of copy their errors; but before we pro- Florence, to buy him a winter garment, nounce judgment against them, we

fit for his studies and his vigils; to Thoshould consider well whether some ex- mas de Bambasia de Ferrare, his lute, cuse might not be offered for them; rea- that he might make use of it to sing the son and equity command it, and so does praises of the Lord, non pro vanitate the self-interest of those who ever attempt sæculi fugacis ; to Barthelmi de Sienne, to write.

called Pancaldus, twenty ducats, with After all, though Pliny committed some the proviso, that he does not game them faults (which we cannot deny), we ought

away, Quos non ludat. to be less surprized at that, than at his not

ORIGINAL

ORIGINAL POETRY.

FROM CARLO MAGGI.

rol gay,

Own.

too.

TO EURILLA IN ADVERSITY. For Sympathy, blest instinct of our kind,

'Is purest opium to the tortur'd mind.

Seek, then, some Friend, who carly learn's ALONE and pensive in those wilds I stray, Where, save the feather'd choir who ca

to grieve

At others' woe, who lives but to relieve ; No sound obtrudes; where Silence rears her Some breast so much in concert with the

throne, By mute Oblivion's poppies overgrown,

As,' when thou smilst, or weep'st, to joy of

gróan; And with such sway despotic rules the soul,

With sweet Mimosa be her temples crown'd, As e'en the starts of Sorrow to controul; As e'en to bid the fears of Friendship cease,

By patient Prudence let her lips be bound; And make me fancy all my cares at peace.

Of all thy griefs let her have felt the smart,

And shew where once they rankled in her Yet, wheresce'er my wand'ring footsteps

heart; tread, My thoughts, by some spontancous impulse When to check tears, and when to bid them

Let her (rare gift!) possess the skill to know led,

flow; Fly fast to thee; nor will I pause to own, Thou most art with me when I'm most alone. Comfort's soft roses o'er thy thorny bed.

Thus will her hand be competent to spread But if my Muse, too sedulous t'impart The balm of comfort to thy anguish'd heart,

But, once again, dear suff'ring Saint, take

heed Hath oft disgusted by officious zeal,

This Friend be deck'd with Caution's choicest And widen'd wounds she fondly hop'd to

meed; beal, More irksome now thou'lt deem th’obtrusive For Grief unlocks the soul, and brings to

view lyre, Whose notes I waken with increas'd desire;

Each thought, each merit, and each failing Thy woes to soothe-forgive th’advent'rous

Seek then a Friend, sage, cautious, faithstrain, Which dares the rigours of thy fate arraign ; But hold ! -I know the temper of thy mind.

ful, kindWhich dares lament-(0 pardon, righteous if some good Angel such a Friend bestow'd,

Heav'n!)
That Peace to thankless A pathy is giv’n;

To rescue thee from Grief's o'erwhelming

load, Whilst Virtue's self, in human form en

Thy soul wou'd doat on herigmand should'st shrin'd,

thou lose To cruel, hateful Warfare seems consign'd. Full well I know reproach were vainly

This first of blessings-Hold! ah, hold, my

Muse! hurl'd

Nor paint a scene which Nature cou'd not Against the unfeeling baseness of this world:

bear. Full well I know how impotent each art

Yes-seek a Friend ! a firmer Friend than To melt, with Pity's drops, the finty heart;

e'er To check the bitter taunts of scowling Pride, Adorn'd our mortal clay—a Friend, whose Make ranc'rous Envy throw her snakes

mind aside,

Not all the malice of this world combin'd Compel curs d Falsehood at Truth's shrine to

Can e'er wean from thee-a celestial Guard ; kneel,

Who, from thy breast each stroke of Fate to Or rob the hand of Malice of its steel: Yet, thothy woes, with my upbraidings O'er Fate herself presides, o'er Time, o’er

ward, join'd, In vain wou'd strive to meliorare mankind,

Space, Still are there means all potent to confound

And all the myriads of the Human Race; The iron breasts thy suff'rings fail to wound;

Who knows no change, whose love will never Still to their pow's superior mayst thou rise, Whose voice is comfort, and whose paths are

cease, And ev'ry arrow of their wrath despise.

peace. Too just, too ample is thy cause for woe ; Then check not tears, but freely let them on whom thou may’st, without a fear, de

O turn to him, to God! the only Friend, flow; Amiction's tide, by constant force repress’d, And learn, that, mid Adversity's dark maze,

pend; And closely pent within a single breast, There rages fierce, with direst mischiefs rife, He ünly knows our erring steps to guide,

Or gay Prosperity's seductive blaze, Dethroning Reason, and o’erwhelming Life. Then give it' way ; and, to some kindred Where spotless Truth, and deathless Joy pre

side. heart, Thy čv'ry care, thy ev'ry thought impart; Exmouth,

M, STARKL.

MLR

IMPROMPTU LINES TO SIR JOIN CARR, Of murder, villainy, and teeming acts, AFTER READING HIS NORTHERN SUM- That call for bell and vengeance! Could

these bones,

The slender relics of thy little strength, THo much you've honour'd martial men,

Once dare to stretch their feeble nothingness The triumph is not their's alone; You, by your pencil and your pen,

Against the fiats of Omnipotence ? Make every realm you reach your own.

Of tardy justice mock th' impending bolt ?

Or clip the thread of gratitude and love, The wreath, for which the hero sighs, Inwoven in thy nature? Rather say,

Is staind with blood, however bright; Thou could'st forget the splendour of thy But you bring home a sforless prize,

birth Of rich instruction and delight.

And bend thee supple, fraught with lies, and Your Northern Summer seems a day,

smiles, As we retrace its varied hours;

In the lov'd sunshine of a patron's grace. Well pleas’d and proudly we survey

Say rather, thou didst busy thee in vain Your graceful wreath of “ Polar Flowers." Amid the phantom scenes of luxury

H. Irresolute; or, with extended arms,

Didst follow the receding, vagrant blaze

Of pleasures gross, as fatal. Yet, how grin, THE SKULL.

How bare thy joys have left these worthless “ Mors sola fatetur

bones! Quantule sint hominum corpuscula !" Juv.

Might the dread seal of secrecy be burst,

What noble converse could the charnel'd {The following Lines were occasioned by the

dead accidental discovery of a Skull, by the Plough, at no great distance from a populous Couldst weave a fit discourse to curb the rage

Pour in the list'ning ear! And truly thou town in the West of England.]

Of frantic man. Perhaps to thee was given WITHIN this earthy barrier confin'd To reach the depth and treasures infinite

Once breath'd a heav'n-born soul, long Of sacred lore; to commerce with those since remov'd

bards To bear the tale and story of these bones, And rev'rend sages of far distant times, When yet the streams of life cours'd over

Whose sense

unhallow'd still directs to them. Mean dwelling of that wondrous guest ! To trace the myriads of shining worlds, Couldst thou

That compass this mean speck; to spurn the Unfold the narrow volume of thy span;

sway Could that unseemly feature of grimace And endless throne of space; to name and That sneers upon its former state and that

range Which now I wear, relax, and break the The hidden and disclosed stores of things,

That croud the earth, and give a zest to life! Ofits ordained silence, how intent

Perchance in thee the lamp of genius burn'd, Would I the thousand scenes eventful change And thou could'st tread the steepy heights of Of thy unknown mortality record,

verse, Th'instructive lessons of a friend deceas'd! Or wind the maze of raptur'd thought, and To thee, poor, tenantless, exhausted case

pore Of man's frail compass, once belong'd the With wonder and delight upon the worlds rule

Of sportive forms, thou didst thyself create. 'Of passions headstrong as the wint'ry tide : Celestial joy !-Now, those rich day dreams To thee the helm and steerage uncontrould fied, Of that slight pinnace, man; the sov’reign Have left this monument, this clay-cold ash will

Of fire extinct. To brook the buffets of an adverse wind;

Immortal man! the care To dare the rocks, and struggle under storms And nursling of a Sire all provident, Of seas untried; or (happier lot!) to bask Th’inheritor of weakness, sin, and death, In moorings of some enviable port!

Suspended from the moment by a hair, Haply thy days are pencil'd by the hand Whose big designs, and lordly acts, embalm Of living fame, or stand enrolld above Thy name within the frail survivor's breast; Within the page alone of mortal doom, These are the base memorials thou shalt Whorn nor ambition sway'd, nor empty glare of praise. -Oh! the flesh creeps upon my This tle vile shell, in which that mighty bones,

soul When cancy paints thee some black harden'd Once quickened, and infcom'd thy proud exwretch,

ploils, Distain'd in heart with spots of unwashid Must be the goal of beauty, rank, and fame, crime,

A. B. E.

AMOR

heav'n ;

term

leave;

« 前へ次へ »