Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

which are immediately appropriated to their perception. This appears from the origin of the nerves, and from their progress; as far as it can be traced, through the brain ;-from the effects of blows ; of compression from extravasated Auids ; of different diseases, &c. &c. each of which may, and often does, injure one faculty, while the other is left unhurt. It is needless to produce instances; but on the whole, this general pofition is true, and the learned Author will not deny it, that the health of the whole mind, and the proper exercise of all its faculties, depend on an uninterrupted freedom of communication between the sea veral parts of the brain; but that any individual function, or the exercise of any one faculty only, requires that portion of the brain to be free that is peculiarly adapted to it by the Author of our frame, together with the free use of those nerves that are external to the brain, and which are essential to the communication of impulsions from the objects of sense.

In this lection, the Author contests the positions of Dr. Price and Mr. Harris with much good sense and plaufibility; and though he differs from that truly fagacious Physiologist, Baron Haller, in many inftances in which his theory is materially concerned, yet he frequently avails himself of that learned. phyfician's observations, and always speaks of him with a respect due to his fingular merit.

The third section contains fome fhrewd and ingenious remarks on the properties of matter. He thinks, the late Mr. Baxter bath thrown a very thick cloud on this subject.' In his idea, the doctrine of the vis enertia, so earnestly contended for by this philosopher, is indefenfible, and involves in it many palpable errors and inconsistencies. He infers from the phæno. mena of electricity, magnetism, chemistry, and above all from the simplest and commoneft of all appearances, viz. the communication of motion from a moving body to one at rest, that matter is poffeffed of powers incompatible with the suppofition of a vis inertie. His reasonings on this subject produce the following conclusions: 1. That where there is elasticity, contact is not necessary to the communication of motion. 2. That as we know of no bodies poffelling perfeet elasticity, we neither know of any perfectly hard and inelastic. 3. That (as the denseft bodies are pervaded by the matter of electricity and by heat; and as, by abstracting their heats we can proportionably lessen their volume) there is little reafon to imagine, that the particles of bodies, even of the clofeft texture, are, properly speaking, in contact with each other; and still less reason to presume, that in cates of the most forcible impulse, the impelling body even touches (Arialy speaking) the impelled. The sum of the whole is, that motion may be communicated without contact, and without any relittance from a supposed vis inertie, which is utterly in

conceivable

conceivable where contact is not concerned, and scarcely conceivable in any other point of view; consequently, that some different power is necessary: such a power is that of repulsion, of the existence of which we have unequivocal proof; and without its intervention, the communication of motion from one body to another hath been esteemed by the wisest phyfiolo. gifts an inexplicable phenomenon.

In a note referring to this part of the subject, our Author takes notice of some positions of the ingenious M. de Luc, which are incompatible with his hypothesis. This respectable writer (of whose works we gave a large and particular account in our last Appendix) attempts to accommodate the difference between the Materialists and Spiritualists, by suppofing that there are certain common properties by which matter and spirit may reciprocally act on each other. Our Author is not satisfied with this solution of the difficulty, and says- If I might presume to exercife the office of a commentator on what M. de Lue hath delivered, I should explain his principles on this footing; th: matter may be refined to such a degree as to emulate the subtilty of spirit; and on the contrary, that spirit may be condensed into what approaches. very nearly to the grossness of matter; and that at these opposite extremes of their respective scales 'they meet, and assume the common properties before spoken of.”On this intricate fubject it is hazardous to risk an opinion. The Author recommends a free discussion of it: and we think the hints thrown out by a very ingenious writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for March and April on the properties of matter, well deserving attention; though we almost despair of seeing any thing on a point of such exquisite subtilty and refinement that will bring the controversy to a decisive issue.

The last section, on the gradations in the works of Nature from the different clasles of vegetables to the various species and ranks of animals and rational beings, is curious and sensible. The notes at the end of the essay discover both learning and taste, and well illustrate the several subjects discussed in the preceding sections.

On the whole, we have read these. Miscellaneous Obferva. tions' (which appear to have been written by a medical gentle man) with much pleasure : and though we do not in every respect adopt his sentiments, yet we respect his abilities, and applaud his candour.

Art. XVI. Select Tragedies of Euripides. Translated from the original Greek. 8vo.' Ós. Boards.

Conant. 178c.
F the twenty tragedies of Euripides, now extant, the pre-

sent volume contains only four; the Phoenissæ, Iphigenia in Aulis, The Troades, and Orestes. It is the Translator's in1

tention,

0

tention, as we learn from his fenfible and well-written Preface, Mould this attempt meet with encouragement, to translate the remainder. • If, on the other hand,' says he, it should appear that I am unequal to the talk, I can lay down my pen without feeling any great mortification. In either cafe, I have the fatisfaction of reflecting, that I have spent those hours at least innocently, and with pleasure to myself, which, at my.time of life, are generally lost in a circle of folly and diffipation.'

Sensible as we are of the difficulty attendant on an undertaking so arduous as the present, and defirous as we may be of shewing every indulgence to a Writer who appears to have taken up the pen from fuch ingenuous motives; nevertheless, what we owe to the Public, in general, permits us not to be fo warm in our approbation of this performance as we could wish. In his dialogue, though the Translator sometimes preserves the characteristic fimplicity and conciseness of his original, yet he is too frequently languid and prosaic!; and in the choral

parts there is an obvious want of animation and vigour, so effential to Lyric composition. In justice to him, however, we must remark, that, as far as we have compared it with the original, his translation is faithful and close; except indeed in some of the Odes, in which he has indulged in greater latitude, though not in any unwarrantable deviations from the general scope or tendency of his original.

As a specimen of this tranflation, we fall lay before our Readers part of the first scene of the fifth act of the Troades: • TALTMY BIUS, HE CUBA,

CHORUS,
* TALTHY BIUS.
« One hip alone remains of all the proud
Thessalian fleet ; che rei, great Hecuba,
For Phthia's fhores have fieer'd their course,
Headed by Pyrrhus, who in haste departed
Soon as he heard the factions in his kingdom)
His grandfire, Peleus, from his throne expellid,
And proud Acaftus reigning in his itead :
And with him saild the poor Andromache,
Dissolv’d in tears! her country's hapless falę
She mourn’d, and frequently invok'd
The empty shade of Hector!-moy'd with her woes,
I melted into tears, and from her lips receiv'd
This luit request, which is, that you inter,
The body of her lov'd Allyanax,
Great Hector's son, who perish'd in his fall
From Ilion's towers! besides, the brazen hield
Which his great father on his moulders bore,
And spread a terror thro' the Grecian hoft,
Maft never be convey'd to Theffaly
As a proud trophy, to adorn the nuptials
Which, with reluctant heart, Andromiche

Prepares

Prepares to celebrate, but as a sepulchre
For her poor son, I now to thee present.
In linen garments wrap his lifeless limbs;
Adorn his head with flow'ry wreaths; and pay
Due honcurs to his Glent made.- Alas!
Absent his mother is, nor can attend
Her son's funereal rites, compellid to follow
The Ateps of her imperious lord !
Do thou adorn the body; we, meanwhile,
Will form the grave, and, in the crystal Itream
Of fair Scamander, wash the cloited blood,
And bathe his limbs. And now I halte
My promise to fulfil.

• H E C U B A.
Oh! far remove the variegated field
Which my dear Hector bore !-a spectacle
Displeafing to my fight!-Oh Greece! more fam'd
For timid counsels than for valiant deeds,
This tender child, alas ! has FELL a sacrifice
To gratify thy favage cruelty !
And fear, left he might live one day to raise
These ruin'd walls to all their former fplendor!
Not Hector's self, tho' great bis fame in arms,
Tho' aided by a numerous host of friends,
From diftant regions could preserve his country,
But bravely fell, and with him Troy expir’d!
The Trojans captive, and the town in flames !
Amid the joy which victory inspires,
Can this poor infant fill your souls with terror ?
How mean and pufillanimous that fear! -
Aftjanax, my dearest child! how hard,
How cruel was thy destiny !- fo foon
To seek the shades of death !-had heaven thy life
Prolong'd to some more diftant period, hadft thou dy'd
In fighting for thy country, and possess'd
Of the imperial sceptre, and bequeath'd
Thy kingdom to thy children, the blest fruit
Of some auspicious marriage, then I should
Pronounce thee happy, if that name belongs
To one who but poffeffes earthly blessings,
And in their nature of no long duration.
But thou, alas! born for the task of empire,
Haft scarcely enter'd on the flage of life
Ere thou art dead !-that beauteous face, alas!
Thy mother's fond delight-how torn-how mangled,
In falling from the heaven-built walls of Troy !
Oh tender hands! sweet mouth! eyes clos'd in death!
The very image of thy godlike father! -
Dear infant, you deceiv'd me when you held
My garment, and address’d me in these words :
My mother, at thy funeral l'll attend
With pious care, and offer on thy grave,

My

My trefles, and with mournful obsequies
Thy dear departed Made appease. Alas!
This melancholy duty I must pay
To thee, not thou to me!-worn down with years,
A flave-an exile-harder yet,-depriv'd
Of all

my

children!-this, alas! the fruit
Of tleepless nights, and kisses oft impress'd
On those sweet lips, with all a mother's fondness !
This verse upon thy tomb I must inscribe :
Aftyanax lies here, who fell
A victim to the fears of Greece!
Most glorious this elogium for that nation!
Thy father's sceptre thou dost not inherit,
Nor his extended realms, but yet this shield
Will serve thee for a sepulchre-Oh, faithful fhield!
Of all the great possessions of my Hector,
Thou art most valu'd-but, alas! the hero
Which once suftain'd thee, is no more-
How pleafing to my eyes, didst thou appear?
How did I fondly gaze upon the figures,
Which the engraver's hand describ'd around
Thy margin, when the godlike Hector
Return's victorious from his slaughter'd foes,
And from his temples wip'd the fweat and blood ?
Thou yet art deat—thus kindly to sustain
The body of this helpless infant, let us pay
The last sad honours to his empty shade.
Since heaven rewards not virtue with success,
Weak is that man, who with presumptuous pride
Fancies his happiness secure, and gives
His mind to infolence of joy ;
The gifts of fortune, never at a stand,
Shift here and there, perplexing human wisdom.'

M O N T H L Y CATALOGUE,

For JANUARY, 1781.

POLITICA L. Art. 17. A Letter to Lieutenant General Burgoyne, occafioned

by a second Edition of his State of the Expedition from Canada. 8vo. 15. Kearfly. 1780.

HE Author professes that the firft impreffion of General Bur

goyne's State of the Expedition *, &c. had efcaped his attention, but that the appearance of an 'advertisement announcing a Second edition, raised his curiosity; and the perusal of it, he gives us to understand, has provoked his indignation, at the fame time that it has produced his contempo."

The Author's great purpose, in this Letter, is to defend Lord G. Germaine, and Government in general, from the charges brought

* See Review for March 1780, p. 247 Rev. Jan, 17811

again?

« AnteriorContinuar »