Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

prejudice nor preposfellion. Her piety is masculine like her courage, and her reign is fo wonderful, that fable itself can add glothing to it.' Truth and modesty are here supposed to be infulted and sported with by Reason itself 1-But it is not Rea. fon that offers such nauseous adulation at the fhrine of princes. It is the Marquis Carraccioli. And it is the same vain man, who, in offering incense to others, feems to think that a large proportion of it belongs to himself.-It is he (we fay), and not Reason, that drew the following picture, and called it the King of Denmark's. 'Lucidor (for that's the travelling name of Reafon) found himself in the midst of Copenhagen. He was charmed there to find a young monarch, who had the maturity of old men, and whose understanding, formed by travelling and reading, will one day enlighten his dominions.'

After having tripped through Europe, Reason fits down to give a fummary detail of the observations made in its light and volatile excursions. Lucidor went among some fteep mountains, where he repaffed in his mind whatever his eyes had seen: and then it was that he reflected on that number of paflions, projects, and whims, which agitate cities and courts, and which, under the mafque of a love for public good, produce the most singular events, and often the most monstrous ones.'

From the catalogue of profound judgments formed by our faga. cious traveller, we shall present our Readers with the first and the last.

• He judged that the age gave much into what is merely superficial: that people were less fond of diving into the bottom of things, than of flightly skimming them over: that men of real learning were as scarce as the number of men of wit was increased : that a love of novelty made people invent things as abfurd as they are ridiculous : that under pretence of aiming at the best, very often burlesque changes were made: that the senses usurped the place of the soul : that the necessary was neglected to hunt after the superfluous : that people allowed themfelves every thing, because they durft do every thing.--Independe ence is the ruin of all good order !' — Lastly, he judged, that his own remarks, though those of REASON itself, would not please all characters, because every man has his own way of seeing and thinking.There never was yet a book that pleased every body."

The Author will judge us unreafonable Critics :--but as we do not form our judgment by his Reason, we shall lodge our appeal with a higher court.—'Tis not what a thing is called, but what it is.- Now this is a touch in his own proverbial way: and with this we bid him heartily-FAREWELL!

[blocks in formation]

TH

ART. VII. Praftice common placed: or the Rules and Cases of Practice

in the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas, methodically arranged. By Geo. Crompton, Esq; of the Inner Temple. 8vo. 2 Vols. 16 s. bound. Uriel. 1780. HE evident utility of Books of Practice (so called, not in

opposition to the principles of law, but because they treat of the methods of commencing and prosecuting suits that are in constant use in the different courts, and of the rules by which

they are regulated) has given currency to very indifferent public | cations on this subject. The truth is, this, like many other

very useful subjects, has nothing in it to captivate writers of eminence or ambition,

It affords little room for fancy to enliven, and little scope for eloquence to adorn. It has accord, ingly been left to inferior hands, to whom profit was a greater object than reputation. And a celebrated Commentator * is well warranted in asserting concerning those numerous treatises which have already been published, that in point of compofi, tion and solid instruction they are pretty much upon a level.'

We are therefore happy to observe, that the work now before us appears to be the production of a man of real abilities and merit, and the result of an accurate acquaintance with this branch of the law. The extent of Mr. Crompton's plan, so far as it is com prized in these two volumes, is set forth in his Preface. The first volume (he informs us) he has designed for the rules and cases of practice throughout a civil action ;- for with criminal matters he has not at all interfered ; and his second, for proceedings by and against particular persons, and for points of practice in some particular actions. The whole he has endeavoured to adapt to modern use, and to illustrate those actions only, which, from the alterations of the law, by the abolition of military tenures, and disuse of real actions, our courts are at this day chiefly called upon to determine.'

It is but justice to add, that this work, independently of its being lately published, and thereby containing all the recent cases, has a very considerable advantage, in exhibiting at one view any diversities in the practice of the Court of King's Bench and Common Pleas: + Where the practice of the two courts does not materially differ, the cases adjudged in them are ingrafted together : but where there is a material difference, each court has its separate page fronting that of the other, and diftinguished by the letters B. R. and C. B. at the top. And this diftinction is carried on from page to page, where the subject requires it. This method is kept up without confusion, and

* Blackst. lib. iii,

+ Preface, ib.

the

the whole is compiled with an exactress and fidelity that reflect great credit on Mr. Crompton.

The first volume contains a learned and ingenious dissertation, (under the title of Introduction) in which is traced the origin of the jurisdiction of the several courts in Westminster-ball; and a chronological view is given of their, formation and establishment, as well as of their various alterations, down to the present time.-From this part of the work the student will derive much valuable instruction.

IT

Art. VIII. The Works of Lucian, from the Greek, by Thomas

Franklin, D. D. fome Time Greek Professor in the University of
Cambridge. 2 Vols. 4to. 21. 2 s. Boards. Cadell. 1780.
T is generally acknowledged, that we have not a good trans-

lation of Lucian in any modern language ; and the reason commonly assigned for this defect, is the dificulty of clothing, with a graceful modern dress, the wit and humour of antiquity.

In order to render the Greek of Lucian into English, it is not barely fufficient to understand the propriety of the two tongues ; it is further necessary to have imbibed fome portion of the fpirit of that inimitable writer, and to possess a turn of genius and fancy somewhat resembling that of the facetious Syrian. The present Translator boldly lays claim to these qualities; and to justify his pretension, gives us, by way of Preface, a Dialogue between Lucian and Lord Lyttelton, in the Elysian fields; in which he rivals the style and humour of the ancient author, and, in our opinion, offers a more distinct and probable account of his life and writings than had hitherto appeared in the numerous publications on that subject.

Luc. By that shambling gait, and length of carcase, it mut be Lord Lyttelton coming this way.

Lord L. And by that arch look and sarcastic smile, you are my old friend Lucian, whom I have not seen this many a day. Fontes nelle and I have jult now been talking of you, and the obligations we both had to our old master: I assure you, there was not a man in all antiquity, for whom, whilt on earth, I had a greater regard than yourself.

í Luc. Nor is there a modern writer whom I more esteem and re. spect than the amiable, the elegant, the moral, and virtuous Lord Lyitelton.

Lord 'L. In this, though Lucian was never remarkable for panegyric, I would fain think you fincere : that I am myself so in what I have said of you, I have given you, I think, in my life-ţime, sufficient proof by my Dialogues of the Dead: those who flatter a man may deceive, those who court may betray ; but those who take pains to imitate, have certainly the highest esteem for him. I endeavoured to come as nearly to you as I could.

* Luc. And were, upon the whole, tolerably fuccefsful; though, to say the truth and truth you know is always spoken in these re

gions),

C4

gions), you are rather too grave to be quite Lucianic, too polite to be merry, and too wise to be very entertaining. I speak with freedom on this head, and the rather, because your Dialogues, however ingenious, are but an inconsiderable part of that large property of literary fame which you acquired, whereas they in reality make up my whole estate ; you can bear therefore better than myself a little deduction from it. :! Lord Ļ. In point of humour and irony, I must ack.nowlege, I have followed you,

Haud pallibus æquis. There is a vein of ease and pleasantry in your works which I have always thought inimitable, nor do I know any author ancient or modern, that in this respect can enter into competition with you; and yet you are not half so much read, at least amongst us, as many much inferior writers: the true value and admiration of Lucian will, after all, I am afraid, in every age and nation, be confined to the judicious few, who have a kind of classic reverence for ancient story, and ap enthusiastic love of the fabulous and poetical: to these his delicate fatire and refined humour will always give inexpreslible pleasure.

* Luc. But surely, my friend, general fatire, and true humour (and these you are kind enough to grant me), ftand as fair a chance of general approbation as any other species of authorial merit can entitle us to,

Lord L. That, I grant you, is a fair fuppofition, and might have its effect, were it equally true that delicate irony, like yours, were universally tasted and understood ; but, as my friend Trisram Shandy says, “It is not in the power of every man to taste humour, however he may wish it ; it is the gift of God."

* Luc. Humour, I grant you, is the gift of heaven, and fo, for aught I know, may be a taste for it; but you will take this along with you, that whatever is poffeffed by few is always affected, and pretended to, by many: though not one in a thousand has a proper and adequate idea of true humour, yet every one puts in a claim to it : few, therefore, would willingly be thought totally unacquainted with, or disclaim all knowlege of and acquaintance with me; espe. cially amongft you Englishmen, of whom humour is said to be cha. racteristic.

Lord Ļ. It may be fo; but the unlearned have never yet seen you in a good English dress, and our literati are too proud or too idle to visit you in your own : they accuse you, besides, of certain faults, which it would ill become me to mention.

Luc. Opray, my Lord, be not fcrupulous in that point ; I took the liberty but just now to censure your works, and you have a fair right to retaliate on mine : let us hear what your Alexander's and Peregrinus's have to urge against me.

Lord Ļ, To be plain with you then, my friend, they object that in some parts of your works there is fome degree of obscurity.

* Luc. Nothing, my Lord, lo obscures an object as seeing it through a bad medium, that both distorts and discolours it; place that, I befeech you, to the blunders of tafeless and ignorant transcribers, who have frequently adulterated my sterling coin, and put their own pase metal in its fead; have often taken a great deal of pains to

make

make me fpeak false grammar, bad Greek, and nonfenfe not half fo agreeable as my own; and yet, my sense and meaning, in spite of all their interpolations, may in most places, I believe, be fairly made out by the context. But this is by no means the worst treatment which I have received. Translators, critics, and commentators have united to injure, misrepresent, and disgrace me. I need not point out to your Lordfhip the doll, imperfect, and unmeaning things which they have imputed to me, and which I never wrote, though they are to be met with in every edition of my works.

Lord L. In this, I own, you are to be pitied; but to have more literary crimes to answer for than you were ever guilty of, is what men of wit and genius must always expect; you have only ta comfort yourself with this reflection, that readers of taste and such only you would wish to please) can easily diftinguish, by internal and indisputable marks, what is really yours from what is falsely afcribed to you.

Can anv man in his senses fuppofe that the hu. morous author of Timon, Toxaris, and Hermotimus, could ever have thrown away his time and talents in such school-boy. declamations as the Tyrant Killer, Harmonidss, and the Difinberited Son; or that the avowed enemy of fuperftition and hypocrisy, would so contradict himself as to enter into a serious defence of Judicial Aftrology?

Luc. You have forgot the last, though not the least of their impositions, the Ocypus, which they have been so obliging as to compliment me with ; this, as I believe I one day hinted to you, was written by a witless Sophist, who, encouraged by my fuccess in the Traga-Podagra (one of my best performances), took upon him to imitate it in that very dull and unentertaining after-piece.

• But this is not all that I have to complain of ; the fame obliging gentlemen, who have attributed to me what I did not write, have thought proper also to rob me of what I really did : fome of them, on the wings not of love but of hatred, have made no fcruple of flying away with my Halcyon, because, forfooth, the bird is too grave

Vix credibile fit (says one of chem), Lucianum de deorum vi et potentiâ tam rectè senasle, et tam magnifice locutum," it is impossible that Lucian should think so property, or speak fo nobly of the power of the gods."

'Lord L. This, indeed, my good friend, was Arather hard upo you ; but, as our English proverb says, give a dog an ill name and hang him.” You had spoken, however, it must be acknowledged. pretty freely of your Pagan deities ; so freely, indeed, that I have often wondered how you came off with impunity, whilst you

lashed with so much poignant satire the established religion of your country.

Luc. I will tell you, my Lord, how that happened : at the time when I wrote,' three parts of those whom I wrote to and conversed with were of the fame opinion with myself: I had not only the laugh on my fide, but the majority also; add to this, my Lord, that, with regard to matters of this kind, if we ancients had not so much zeal as you pbilosophers of latter days, you must allow that we had more good-nature; and, however we might differ amongst ourselves in our religious sentiments, we did not like you Chriftians, cut one ariother's throats about them.

for me,

« AnteriorContinuar »