« AnteriorContinuar »
ON LITERARY AND OTHER TOPICS,
A SELECTION OF ENGLISH DRAMAS,
WILD OATS---BT O'KEEFFE........ | THE DEVIL TO PAY---BY LUCAS,
Nemo dubitat, homines sua varietate recreari: quia in continuatione rorum
OF PAPERS ON LITERARY AND OTHER TOPICS :
BY A SOCIETY OF GENTLEMEN.
La masime n'est point fausse, qu'il n'y a si méchant livre dont on ne
puisse tirer quelque chose de bon ; aux uns on loue la doctrine, aux autres les expressions. S'il n'y a rien de bon de l'auteur, il rapporte possible quelque chose de rare qu'il a pris d'ailleurs.
DE LA CONNOISSANCE DES BONS LIVRES.
Good books are the mind's hread-
PURSUITS OF LITERATURE.
THIE influence of Literature upon the habits and passions, is confessed by all. It polishes the manners, enlightens the understanding, and expands the nobler affections of the heart. The study of good authours, says a celebrated orator of antiquity, will nourish youth, rejoice old age, embellish prosperity, console adversity, afford us pleasure when at home, and embarrass us not when abroad. They pass the nights with us, and abandon us not in our travels nor in the fields.* Many an hour is relieved of its wea
* Oration for the poet Archias.
risomeness by these pursuits, and the recluse, whether stayed by sickness or secluded by poverty, finds that solitude possesses the most captivating attractions for the mind that is illuminated by the rays of literature. Society has its pleasures; but they are ' gorgeous and illusory: they resemble the blaze that first pleases the eye, but soon fatigues the attention. We are delighted by flashes of merriment, and captivated by the smiles of beauty. But wit is too often prompted by ill nature, and sense sometimes surrenders her dignity to the whispers of flattery. In solitude, these temptations have no influence. When her silence is interrupted by those “master spirits” which may be summoned from every age and nation ; when History unfolds her wisdom, and Imagination pours her inspiring vein, the student acknowledges that he is never less alone than when ALONE. In retirement his mind is free from the solicitudes of life, and the thousand tongues of rumour cannot disturb his serenity
But we are not born for ourselves. The recluse whether abstracted by choice or banished by disgust, leaves a void in society. Social happiness is the great purpose of life: to attain it the efforts of all are required. The intellectual powers of the mind must be cultivated, before art can embellish or science enlighten. This is the glorious privilege, the high prerogative, of literature. Her light is not theignus fatuus that bewilders the benighted traveller, but it is a steady and unquenchable torch which guides him to safety.
The rust of time has eaten the sword of Cæsar; the splendid pageantry that invited the lover of Laura to the gates of the imperial city has passed away like a shadow ; and the triumphal arches, the lofty palaces, and the polished statues, that were once the admiration of a conquered world, have long been scattered by the winds. But the fame of the scholar, the deliciæ literarum, yet shines with undiminished lustre in his own immortal Commentaries, and Echo yet lingers on the breeze that fans the vale of Vauclusa.