Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

our parents and relations, and the remainder is due to our friends."

Dingenes, the Cynic. The opinions and sayings of this philosopher er dishabille are only soinetimes producible. He claimed a superiority over the Great King of Persia (as the flattery of the time called him).

My wants and desires," said the philosopher, « aro moderate and few; the king's are many and inordinate ; mine are easily obtained ; his difficult, and in some cases impossible.”—Cicero's Tuscul. Questions. 5. These just opinions of human felicity and its abode are well described in the excellent old song beginning

“ My mind to me a kingdom is."

Timotheus.

An Athenian citizen of a most respectable character, having dined with Plato the philosopher, praised the entertainment very highly, and meeting his host the next morning exclaimed,

Plato, your feasts are not only grateful at the time, but next morning are delightful un reflection.” Such a feast our great moral poet has nobly described The feast of reason, and the flow of soul.

Pope.

[ocr errors]

Theocritus.

A late learned and ingenious writer on “Taste*” has given a most singular opinion of the poems of Theocritus. There is another description of erotic poets, who combined the refinements of sentimental love with the manners of primæval simplicity and the imagery of pastoral life, as we see in the love-sick and sentimental savages, shepherds, and ploughmen of Theocritus." It would be a difficult task to find, amidst the strains of the Sicilian Bard, any love but l'amour physique, as the French term it; and that often expressed in very coarse diction, and thoughts very remote from the sentimental.

Good-Nature and Good-Humour.

In marking the distinction of these terms, so often confounded, Mr. Knight shews an acute mind and an attentive observation of life. " Goodnature is that benevolent sensibility of mind which disposes us to feel both the happiness and misery of others, and to endeavour to promote the one and mitigate the other. Failures, in both cases, often produce in the countenance and demeanour of the good-natured man a sceming melancholy

* An Analytical Enquiry into the Principles of Taste, p. 187, by R, P. Knight, 8vo. 1805.

and austerity. Good-humour, on the contrary, is that prompt susceptibility of every kind of social festive gratification wbich a mind void of sorrow in itself or about others, from want of thought and sensibility, will ever exhibit.”- Analytical Enquiry, &c. p. 417.

Old Age.

Though this state of human existence is suffi. ciently calamitous and wretched by its own evils, yet do the licentious tongues and inconsiderate brains of others augment its penalties. Avarice, in many instances, is charged upon old persons unjustly, as their love of old furniture, baubles, &c. which they continue to retain and hoard up from their associations of ideas concerning them. • This sofa,” says an old man, “ was given me by a particular friend; this carpet I bought on the day of my marriage; this bookcase I had when at college”; &c. Thus the pleasure of old recollections store an old man's house with old-fashioned things, that modern times will wag their heads at.

A Bon-Mot on the French Music. M. D'Alembert, who, among his other accomplishments, possessed a considerable knowledge and skill in music, wrote a treatise, called the

Liberty or Rights of Music." This is a learned and facetious defence of J. J. Rousseau, who had atlacked the French style in music, and recommended the Italian goût. J. Rousseau's attack occasioned much dissension and sensation at Paris; and the writer was considered as the “ disturber of the public repose." “ This expression," says D'Alembert, “ well accords with J. J. Rousseau's intention, which was, by abolishing the flat music of the French, to introduce a species which for the future should keep the audience awake.

An excellent Turn in a person who was no Orator.

When the Athenians were meditating the erection of some grand public monument, they summoned before them two of their most eminent architects. One was a great orator, the other a man of few words. When the former had harangued a considerable time on his art and his own talents, the other was expected and called on to produce what he had to say for bis art and himself. “Gentlemen,” replied the man of few words, “ I promise to do all that the great orator has talked about.”

On Tragic Theatrical Exhibitions. It is a singular observation of a sensible and acute writer, that men must have exhausted a large source of amusement, before they invented the representations of the evils and misfortunes of their fellow-creatures upon a public stage, and to make them spectators of sorrows (they were too well acquainted with), in order to assuage them, and to relieve their sufferings.-D'Alem bert's Letters to J. J. Rousseau.

Missionaries. These persons being commissioned to conrert adult persons (whose habits, be what they may, are already fixed and uncompliant) must often fail; for though ignorance of their grown-up pupils may be very profound, yet their obstinacy and prejudice are equally unpromising objects of instruction and amendment. In religious and moral subjects, as in medicine, means of prevention in a disorder are easier than the cure of it. Schools established in barbarous countries seem the only methods of propagating religious and moral truth in youthful minds.

Seneca.

The style of this author seems more congenial with that of our lively neighbours the French, than with our own.

The French language, though precise, is not rich and various, like the English; and is therefore more indebted to lively turns for

« AnteriorContinuar »