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nature in secret, beneath the depths of the ocean; the other was produced and perfected by the same hand, in equal obscurity, on the banks of the Ayr. The former was suddenly brought to light, and shone for a season on the forehead of imperial beauty; the latter, not less unexpectedly, emerged from the shade, and dazzled and delighted an admiring nation, in the keeping of a Scottish peasant. The fate of both was the same : each was wantonly dissolved in the cup of pleasure, and quaffed by its possessor at one intemperate draught.

RETROSPECT OF LITERATURE,

FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO THE TWELFTH

CENTURY OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA.

RETROSPECT OF LITERATURE,

· FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO THE TWELFTH

CENTURY OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA.

No I.

The Permanence of Words.

An eloquent, but extravagant, writer has hazarded the assertion, that “ words are the only things that last for ever.”* Nor is this merely a splendid saying, or a startling paradox, that may be qualified by explanation into common-place; but with respect to man, and his works on earth, it is literally true.

Temples and palaces, amphitheatres and catacombsmonuments of power, and magnificence, and skill, to perpetuate the memory, and preserve even the ashes, of those who lived in past ages — must, in the revolutions of mundane events, not only perish themselves by violence or decay, but the very dust in which they perished be so scattered, as to leave no trace of their material existence behind. There is no security be

* The late Mr. William Hazlitt.

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