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with all topics on metre from the days of the metrical scholiasts to those of Herman ; he has added a diligence, a precision, a distrust of conjecture, which are attempted by few, and equalled by none. The metaphysical heaviness of Herman, and the pert intrusions of the editor of the
Troades, are equally avoided by Dr. Burney's good sense. But alas! the corruptions of ages cannot be altogether purified by the assiduity of the most elaborate study. Stubborn and insulated lines, notwithstanding every amputation, will still refuse to be regularly arranged, and the liberal system of modern scanning, by wħich Demosthenes himself may almost be drilled into a poet, will occasionally fail in the more prosaic anomalies of Greek tragædi
As enthusiastic admirers of Greek tragedy, we sincerely thank Dr. Burney for what has been done : we applaud him for having adopted a much more rational and systematic plan of antispasts than has been arranged before, and boldly declare, that unless the Tentamen de metris is diligently perused and thoroughly digested, no scholar can be said to be a perfect master of Æschylus.
But of his labours, and those of Dr. Butler, whom we no.w only cursorily mention, we shall seize on an early opportunity of entering into a full discussion. Dr. Butler, the learned head-master of Shrewsbury school, has undertaken, under certain most discouraging circumstances, for which the University of Cambridge must take the full blame, a new edition of Æschylus, which has already placed four plays before us, with a corrupt text, occasioned by the restrictions which bound him, but enriched with a commentary of the most abundant and diversified matter. It grieves us here to enter (and we shall only do so for a moment), into a literary controversy, which has been embittered by too much of the odium criticum. It was our original intention to have published separate critiques both on this dispute and on that of still greater magnitude and more caustic acrimony, between Mr. Copplestone and the Edinburgh reviewers, on the Oxford Strabo. But time has passed by: the mutual wounds of satire are cicatrized, and we feel unwilling to add to the triumph or defeat of those who should unite against the unwieldy grenadier writers of Germany, instead of wasting their strength in civil broils. It remains, therefore, for us merely to state, lest we should have to condemn ourselves for an hiatus of information to the public, that Mr. Blomfield having reviewed Dr. Butler's first volume of Æschylus rather sarcastically in a northern periodical journal, the doctor fired off a pamphlet at him, full of bitter invective and criticism, replete with much sound sense, but at times disgraced by the most absurd puerility. Some plausible inuendoes were thrown out in this publication against the fairness of a critic, who would undermine the value of the same work in another, which himself was at the same time essaying to execute. Some remarks in the course of this pamphlet, which were aimed against Mr. Monck, professor of Greek at Cambridge, called for a rejoinder from that gentleman. An amicable parley from the press ensued, and mutual explanations produced mutual reconciliation in these literary champions. In regard to the ternination of the dispute with Mr. Blomfield, hæret lateri lethalis arundo.
Though last, not least, of the contributors to Eschylean lore, comes Mr. Blomfield himself, a thorough disciple of the Porsonian school. Of this school, for so we take the liberty of styling a decided majority of the Cantab scholars of modern days, we shall venture to communicate a short account and opinion.
Professor Porson's mind was so richly stored with all the treasures of antiquity, his memory was so supernaturally retentive, his judgment so decisive, and his penetration into the most corrupt fragments now remaining to us, was so surprising (both because the study itself was heretofore so unheeded and obsolete, and the fruit which he reaped from it of so novel and useful a nature), that in the short span of his life he leapt at least two centuries forward in criticism. But these mighty qualities were shaded by indolence, by an arrogance of superiority, that would never have been controverted; by a defiance of those, whose sense of their more moderate abilities would never have induced them to compete with him; and, lastly, by a minute and scrupulous attention to caligraphy, by which he childishly wasted many of his steadiest and most precious hours. That he would pass over a difficult passage, to the uhravelling of which he was alone competent with an air of hauteur, of banter, or of catechism, to his young readers, is evident to those who have but dipped into his critical stream. Probably not one point which he passed over, from contemning to answer his objectors, not one, in which he suffered ridicule to supersede opinion; not one, in which he exercised youthful genius by questions and the proposals of difficult solutions, had been overlooked by himself, unexplained to his own mind, or withheld from the public, but with the full idea of future communication. But the paroc: TOV VOL TEOV deceived itself, and the preface to the Hecuba alone contains matter for the study and ingenuity of fifty scholars, dios vov Elr.
The prevailing particularities of Porson's style of annotatory critieism, are three-conciseness, felicity of illustration, and ear, on all which we shall briefly touch, as it strikes us, after much reflection, that these are the fairest tests by which the Porsonian scholar must, after his master, be measured and distinguished; and in our critique on the most promising of Porsonian scholars at present, we much wish to reduce all our opinions to this triple definition. * I. In the full enjoyment and use of unbounded learning, it seldom happens, that the critic feels moderation in his discoveries, temper towards his adversaries, or bounds to his self-conceit. If, by conjectural emendation, by transposition, by concurring testimony of sone neglected MS. he lights on a happy illustration, icto accessit fervor capiti, that he is right, he will wager with you quôvis pignore, you must read as he does, - suo periculo;' and as for his opponents, he cares for them ne gry quidem.' If he is a German, his page of notes is immediately otorboypapos : if a mere Englishman, he swears against Brunck, Villoison, Capperonier, and all the French sciolists: if a Porsonian, he studies to express his opinions in as few words as possible. With him, brevity always produces effect; and verbiage is never used but for the purposes of ridicule. Few have understood how to relish the long note at the commencement of the Orestes. Few have understood, that the professor was φωναντα συνετοισι, and to them he speaks volumes. In the Addenda alone to the Hecuba, there is more sound criticism than in the enormous body of D'Or. ville's criticism to Chariton, highly and deservedly as those eforts are appretiated. But we, too, must study conciseness and proceed.
11. To felicity of illustration ; and here Porson is truly, unrivalled. The trivial paths by which critics march to illustrate most classical authors, are generally supposed to be pre-occupied, and they may equally be so accounted in reference to the higher department of philological researches among the etymologists, and to the easiest collection and adaptation of parallel passages, where fancy frequently takes place of sober judgment. To the lower of these pursuits, Porson seldom descends; but when he does so, strange and unaccountable is the effect and evidence which his quotations give. Citations are open to
all; but when he throws light on a passage, whether it be from an ancient or modern, we are struck with the re, semblance, and see, for the first time, that which we con ceive we have felt before. In the higher range of illustration, we admire him and revere his talents. When he brings the philosopher and the lexicographer to bear upon the poet, how dwindled are the Dutchmen, how little and trumpery even those he has taught. A prose writer (Athenæus or Plutarch, for instance), is quoted in illustra, tion. Heigh præsto! In one moment, that which has been considered prose for centuries, becomes (without any violence in the moulding), an Iambick or a Trochee under his creative hands, and the fourfold qualities of rythm, sense, purity, and illustration, adorn it in a shorter time than we can write these lines,
III. We must request the indulgence of our readers but one step farther, while we assert, that in ear, in sense of Greek musical intonation, of cæsura to an indescribable nicety, Porson was gifted by nature to such a degree, that labour and adscititious advantage must never expect to equal it. As well might Græsus have hoped and urged his deaf son to move the question in the Lydian House of Lords, as the Syndics of the Cambridge Press to excite and cause in the Porsonian school a love and taste for that nice judgment of harmony whieh was peculiar to Porson alone, and which not one of his disciples inherits.
Although we exercise high functions, we by no means deny, that we are amenable for long digressions. If the public will accept our apology with good humour, Mr. Blomfield will doubtless forgive us, for his attention must have been already fatigued with the perusal of critiques on himself: his vanity, if he has any, highly gratified by the encomia bestowed on him on all sides? his future comforts ensured by the knowledge of what his powers can execute; and by the high and disinterested patronage which we understand him to bave received from one, perhaps of the best judges of Greek literature in this country.*
The drama of Prometheus, which is probably garbled. from more plays than one by the same author, has always struck us more in the light of pantomime than tragedy. For exclusively of the strangeness of the.plot, the intro
* We are credibly informed, that Lord Spencer, on the perusal of Mr. Blomfield's Prometheus, unsolicited, and indeed without personal knowJedge of the author, presented him to a valuable living in Northamptonshire. RARI QUIPPE BONI.
duction of lo drest as a cow, and Ocean on a hippogriff (and we have nothing so outre in any other Greek drama), we think, that the bombastic anapests at the close would have sounded most ludicrously in the mouth of the Grimaldi of the day. This too, as it is the first in the general order of the plays of Æschylus, is also by far the easiest, and has been generally more commented on than the remaining six. Mr. Blomfield, although he has shewn most indefatigable industry in his present attempt, cannot, in our opinion, stamp himself an approved Porsonian scholar till he has encountered Agamemnon, of whom, if we remember right, it has been said by Saumaise é unus ejus (sc. Æschyli)' Agamemnon obscuritate superat quantum est librorum sacrorum cum suis Hebraismis et Syriasmis, et totá Hellenistica supellectile, vel farragine.' Salm. de Hellenistica. Ep. Ded. p. 37.
For an account of the motives which led to this publication ; for a succinct opinion of the real or pretended difficulties attached to Æschylus; and for a brief enumeration of the subsidia enjoyed by Mr. Blomfield, we cannot give a readier clue than his short and unaffected preface.
• Pauca sunt, quæ de instituto meo, et de hoc Promethei Æschylei editione præfari velim: ratio enim operis reddenda est, et quid efficere conatus sim, expenendum. Operam dedi ut hæc fabula ea forma prodiret, quæ tironibus maxime accommodata esset, easque difficultates quibus juvenes terreri solent, complanaret, et quantum fieri potest, enodes redderet. Quicquid in Æschylo salebrosi est, id omne ferè oritur ex linguæ insolentia, non autem ex perplexa verborum constructione, aut ex reconditis sententiis. Multa enim apud cum reperiuntur vocabula ex ultima antiquitate repetita, multæque dictiones ac formulæ loquendi, quas frustra alibi quæras, et quarum in lexicis vulgaribus aut nulla mentio sit, aut jejuna saltem atque exilis. Mihi igitur visus sum gratiam cum tironibus initurus, si opus susciperem, molestius illud quidem, et non tam artis indigens quam laboris, perquam tamen utile adolescentibus futurum ; nempe si singularum in Æschylo vocum interpretationes contexerem, glossasque ad eum pertinentes, per grammaticorum scholia et lexica hic illic sparsas, colligerem et concinnarem. Harum igitur delectum, et quicquid præterea juvenibus studiosis profuturum esse judicavi, simul in Glossarium conjeci. . ? Atqui pruisquam me ad hoc opus accingerem, refingendus erat textus; cujus incepti subsidia quædam ad manus habui, quorum nonnulla priores editores latuerant. Septem codicum collationes, hinc illinc a Petro Needhamo conquisitas adscripserat ille margini exemplaris editionis Stanleianæ, quod nunc in bibliotheca Academiæ Cantabrigiensis servatur. Has omnes