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FOR VOLUME LXXX. PART II.
Embellished with a View of THEYDON GERNON CHURCH, ESSEX;
Mr. URBAN, Epping, Dec. 24. Tischort two miles South of HE Church of Theydon Gernon Epping. It stands upon a small elevation, at a considerable distance from the village, with only an house or two near it. The whole is of brick and tile, like most of the Churches in this part of Essex. There are some Monuments; but those, like the Church, of no great antiquity.
The inclosed S. E. View of this Church (see Plate I.) was taken in the year 1808 by a shoe-maker (Wm. Franklin) of this town. This young man has a natural genius for the imitative arts, and has executed several pieces, without the least assistance, and under the greatest possible disadvantage, in a style that at once bespeaks his ingenuity and correctness.
I think, Mr. Urban, you will agree with me in opinion, that it is a matter of surprize, how any person, circumstanced like this humble son of Crispin, destined to labour hard at the awl and bristle for his daily bread, entirely self-taught, without the conveniences for the facilitation of his favourite pursuit, could have arrived at that proficiency which he is known to have acquired; as I trust the inclosed Drawing will be found to be no mean specimen of his abilities, and such as will insure a place in your Magazine.
Kirk Wall, Orkneys,
NONFINED as we are to the
terris nostri non plena laboris?" And, meed of benefits conferred, I cannot as gratitude and thanks are the due withhold that tribute which I feel so peculiarly your due, for the having given to us that exquisite production of the learned and elegant Mr. Mathias, which appeared in p. 346; and which is, if I can trust the evidence either of my head or my heart, the very perfection of friendly panegyric, and classical Biography. It is, indeed, difficult to say, whether the tender, though correct simplicity of the style, the discriminate selection of historical anecdote, or the deep insight into the human mind, dise played in the general observations, calls the most for our admiration. The amiable Author identifies us, as it were, both with himself, and the excellent and highly-gifted Friend whose life he records. We see the ingenuous youth, with glowing cheek and downcast eye, sinking under the eagle glance of the awful Gray; we tread with him the happy valleys of Helvetia, and the sacred shores of the Arno; and we view him, delighted, another Orpheus, calling with his lyre the willing groves to the banks of his enchanted lake, and converting into a new Tempe the Oäsis of Blundeston.
sublimely says, xato and pwy, your
To all that our own ruder tongue can give, Mr. Mathias has, with exquisite felicity, felicity, superadded the choicest flowers, culled from his own copious stores of classical lore. "Manibus dat lilia plenis," and we may truly say, that he has adorned
with a golden crown, studded with brilliant gems of every hue.
It is not without mingled sensations of surprize and regret, that we see a man, formed like Mr. Nicholls, to instruct and improve mankind, and to add lustre to the highest stations in life, pass through it in privacy or
retirement. His friend and master Gray seemed to have pointed at him, when he said,
"Full many a flower is born to blush
And waste its sweetness in the desert air."
But we must lament, in the words of the same exquisite Bard, that no
"Liberal hand, or judging eye, The flower unheeded should descry, And bid it round Heaven's altar shed, The fragrance of its blushing head." Virtues and science and graces, like those possessed by Mr. Nicholls, would have reflected new gleries on the Mitre of Parker and Tillotson; and the venerable Dorobernia would have hailed with transport her second Mellitus.
In the scientific and literary societies of unrevolutionized France, it was, Mr. Urban, the uniform practice, that the Secretary of each learned Body should pronounce an eulogium on each of their Members at his decease. Can we but regret that some institution of this kind does not exist in this country? From talents like those of Mr. Mathias, what honours would not be shed on our illustrious dead! And, though we could not expect that his powerful pen would in all cases sink so deep into our hearts, as in the present case, when the dove-like feathers of private and tender friendship winged the golden' shafts of his eloquence, yet sweet philanthropy, impartial candour, and classical taste, must ever preside over his labours, and command our respectful homage.
"Quoquo vestigia tendit Componit furtim subsequtiurque decor." We have long, Mr. Urban, lamented, that in our own time, the abilities of our best writers should have been almost exclusively exercised on Satire, in all its various modes; and that Heroic Epistles, and Probationary Odes, and Baviads, and a long train of such-like publications, `should, while they extorted our reluctant approbation, have wounded our kindest feelings: we may, in this enchanting work of Mr. Mathias, hail the bright dawn of a more genial day.
"Clarior it dies,
Et soles melius nitent."
Nature, it has been truly observed, seldom fails to place a remedy by the
ILLUSTRATIONS OF HORACE.
[In continuation from our last.] NTERDUM urbani, parcentis viribus atque, &c.] One that is bursting with the subject of which he is speaking, generally says (unless he is restrained by particular regards) all that he knows of the matter; talks in a positive, dogmatical tone, impatient of contradiction; rushes upon his opponent with the whole force of his argument, imagining all at once to crush him to the earth. This it is, which principally distinguishes the pedant from the man of polished manners and knowledge of the world, in conversation. The latter keeps a tight rein upon himself; spoaks as one who is ever ready to be better informed; conceals his strength; appears frequently to concede to the other more than is necessary, sure in the end to carry his point; and, even if he were not, yet politeness alone gives him such an air of modesty, that by the deference and respect which he shews to the understanding of the other, he avoids whatever is offensive in contradiction, and has the art of gaining his process, without humiliating his antagonist; and, as it were, leading him in triumph. I know of no better voucher for all that Horace says in this passage, than his own Satires and Epistles.
Kidiculum acri, &c.] Cicero, says Macrobius, gained a verdict more than once, in law-suits, where he had a bad cause to defend, by a witticism.
So much the worse, indeed, for the Roman justice in his days! The good effect, however, of a fine joke, applied at the proper time, and in the proper place, a piece of irony, and what Lord Shaftesbury (with whom our D. D.s and M. A.s are so prone to differ) calls the light of ridicule, is acknowledged by every man of sound judgment.
* Saturnal. lib. ii. cap. 1.
Quos neque pulcher Hermogenes Catullum.] Probably the ape whom Horace here couples with the handsome Hermogenes, is that Demetrius, whom he afterwards does the honour of consigning by name to immortality. It is laughable in the Scholiast who pretends to inform us, that Horace compares him to an ape, be cause of his cowering and lank figure; whereas the Poet himself plainly enough gives us the reason of it, by reproaching him, with having learned nothing but to harp after Calvus and Catullus. For, that cantare does not mean to sing, as a singing-master (modulator), but to versify, is apparent from the whole context. Licinius Calvus had composed a small number of sonnets of the Catullian species, sufficient to procure him a niche amongst the Erotic Poets of the Romans. We perceive, from an anecdote recorded by Gellius*, that the Greeks themselves, who had generally a high sense of their literary superiority to the Latins, held, notwithstanding, some few pieces of both Calvus and Catullus, exclusively and alone able to sustain a comparison with the amatory odes of Anacreon. The more pity, therefore, that nothing of his has come down to us.
Quod Pitholeonti contigit.] What Horace here says concerning this Græculus (who, according to the Scholiasts, is reported to have wrote a ridiculous medley of Latin and Greek epigrams) is all that we know of him; and better had it been for his reputation, if we had not known even this.
Petilli.] See Gent. Mag. volume LXXX. Part I. p. 327.
Pedius,---Publicola atque Corvinus.] The subject here,doubtless, turns on two eloquent pleaders; but who Pedius was, and who Corvinus, and whether the surname Publicola belonged to the one or to the other, the Commentators cannot come to any agreement; and, happily, our Bard is no loser by it,
Canusini more bilinguis ?] The cominon people at Canusium, and, in general, throughout all Calabria, Apulia, and Lucania (the antient Magna Græcia) spoke a sort of patois, a gibberish mixture of Greek and Latin.
*Noct. Att. lib. xix. cap. 9.
Græcos facerem --- versiculos, &c.] He probably made these essays while studying at Athens in his youth; and if Baxter's supposition, rather lightly taken up, however, that his proge nitors had been native Greeks, has any foundation, then Horace would have had an additional motive to compose verses in the Greek language. But Apollo, or his good genius, jogged him in time, and hinted, that it is more prudent to write verses in our native language; and would be more meritorious and honourable, to emulate the Greeks in a language, the literature whereof was still in its rudiments, than to add one to the infinite multitude of their poets, and to be an insignificant Greek author, when one might hope to become an excellent writer in Latin.
Post medium noctem visus, cum somnia vera.] That Horace, only by way of joke, represents himself as a believer in the vulgar superstition, that dreams after midnight are true, is self-evident; especially, he being a disciple of Lucretius. At this place occurs to Lambinus the beginning of the Europa, not of Theocritus (as he says) but of Moschus:
The Queen of Love, on amorous wiles intent,
A pleasing dream to fair Europa sent. What time still night had rolled the hours away,
And the fresh dawn began to promise day; When balmy slumbers, and composing [breast;
Close every eye, and sooth the pensive When dreams and visions fill the busy brain,
Prophetic dreams, that never rise in vain!
Turgidus Alpinus jugulat dum Memnona, &c.] Some bombastic tragedy-maker of those days belike, whose works must have left no lasting impression, since it is impossible to trace out who he could be. The waking dream of Cruquius, that Horace here under the name of Alpinus, intended to ridicule the dear triend of his own friend Virgil, the poet Cornelius Gallus, in revenge for an affront, no vestige whereof is any where discoverable, refutes itself by its chimerical stupidity. Whence can that satisfaction arise, which some learned Commentators on Horace have found, on every remote occasion, even if they must invent incidents, reasons, and proofs for it, in making