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From the European Magazine. How charming is divine philosophy! if duly polished, bursts forth with surNot barsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, passing radiance, and gives him a deBut musical as is Apollo's late,
cided superiority over all other animal And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
productions. This gem is Reason. Where no crude surfeit reigns.
Since, then, we are placed at the bead Milton---Comus.
of animate nature by the means of this INHE cultivation of literature, and splendid and valuable gift, how ought I its consequent effects on the mind, ve not
nd, we not to improve it? Should it not be deserve, in this age of politeness, parti- the business of life to cultivate those cular consideration, and present a wide powers which form its chief ornament, field for inquiry and speculation of the and which enable us not merely to fulfil most agreeable kind. To trace the the active duties of this world, but also evolutions of genius from its first bold, to soar in imagination to the next? To nervous, but rude efforts, to the soft us, who live in a land where the arts are languor and effeminacy of overstrained universally cultivated and admired, and refinement, is a study peculiarly plea- where excellence is sure to meet with its sant to the man of taste, and one which, reward, there is every incitement to imwhilst it corrects the exuberance of prove the mind, and to strike off the fancy, enlarges the understanding and shackles of ignorance. Ambition, emuimproves the heart. No one can rea- lation, even interest, urges us on to the sonably deny that the cultivation of task. But there is a feeling distinct literature is intimately connected with from those above mentioned, which virtue, and that the former tends to re- almost of itselt repays any labour we strain the violence of passion and appe- may undergo, and which certainly tite within the bounds of reason, and sud
ison, and supports our efforts to excel. I is the leads them as it were by a silken cord to consciousness of performing the purpose be subservient to designs of a more no- for which we were sent into the world, ble and elevated kind. Man in his na- joined with the hope that our endeavours tural state is rude, barbarous, and cruel, 'will prove beneficial to society; the agitated by uncontrolled passions, and thought inspires us with ardour, and, prone to follow their dictates with in- possessed of such sentiments, study will temperate ardour. He is but one re- appear rather as a pleasure than a task. move from the beast of the forest. But Various are the paths of science which the wise Creator of the universe has im- the learned choose to explore. Sonie, planted in his nature a gem, which, if wliose souls burn to discover the pheupattended to, lies concealed, but which, nomena every-where around them, dive
M ATHENEUM. Vol. 2:
into the depths of natural philosophy, moment, and relax their minds from care, calculate the rotation of the planetary let them take up Martial and Anacreon, systein, pierce the surface of the earth who play very prettily at the foot of for its minerals, ransack the vegetable Parnassus with the Loves and Graces, kingdom, and even pluck the coral from and pluck those flowers which a severer the reluctant wave. Others wander Muse would have disdained. Look they amid the labyrinths of metaphysical for teoderness, give them the epistles of speculation, and employ whole lives in Ovid or the tragedies of the Pellean the subtleties of an useless philosophy. bard, let them peruse the parting of But no study tends so much to improve Hector and Andromache, and, if they the taste, enlarge the faculties of the can, let them refuse a tributary tear to mind, and to feed the impagination, as the sorrows of Dido. Would they as that which is commonly denominated study the graces of oratory, refer them Classical Literature. There are ages in to the forcible and maply eloquence of which it seems that Nature has poured Demosthenes, or to the full and flowing forth genius with a profuse fertility, in magnificence of Cicero ! In short, the which the circumstances of the limes classics will afford them models of exhave proved peculiarly favourable to it, cellence in every department of literature and the most illustrious characters of the that can gratify the imagination, or im. age have been either men of learning prove the taste. In history, they have themselves, or the patronizers of it in the naiveté and sweetness of Herodotus, others. Such was the Grecian age in the strength and conciseness of Thucythe time of Pericles, the Roman under dides and Tacitus, the painting of Sallust, Augustus, and the Italian under the and the beautiful narration of Livy and Medici. We may observe that each of Xenophon and Cæsar. In tragedy, the these states was in the zenith of its power morality and tenderness of Euripides, during the lives of these luminaries of the sublimity of Sophocles, and the science. The two first ages are called severer strains of Æschylus. In comedy, purely classical, the productions of which the spirit of Plautus, the politeness and are now, and have been for several elegance o' Terence, together with the centuries past, the study and delight of fire and wit of Aristophanes. Such are Europe ; but why they should be so, it the allurements which classical literature will.not be, perhaps, superfluous to ex- hold out; and, thanks to the liberality plain, and at the same time to comment of our forefathers, there are seminaries on the advantages derived from them. established which permit not merely the Are there any who wish to acquire powerful and opulent, but even the poor, greatness of mind, unshaken fidelity, if they are so inclined, to enjoy all these contempt of human grandeur, unbounded sweets ; and genius, though in poverty, love of their country, and a firmness and has thus an opportunity of rescuing itself magnanimity that will enable them to from oblivion and undeserved neglect. buffet the boisterous waves in the sea of But the benefits of classical literature life, let them study the authors of Greece would be small indeed, did it only tend and Rome. Let those who wish to to the improvement of the taste and exalt themselves above their fellow-mor- style; it has a higher point in view. It tals by refinement of sentiment, elegance acts as a safeguard to the treasures from of diction, and noble dignity of style, whence we derive our holy religion, and store the writings of those great men in prevents the intrusions of interpolators their souls, and consider them as friends, and the corruptions of dogmatists. Can and as the companions of their solitude. there be a higher commendation than In studying the ancients, they will not this, that through its means the fountain be confined to one subject, or one style of our belief is kept pure and unconof composition; they may there revel in taminated, and that the contrivances of every thing that is noble and beautiful. scepticism and faction may endeavour in Do they wish for sublimity of thought vain to disturb the waters of faith. The and grandeur of expression, let them siinple and unaffected language in which turn to the pages of Homer, Æschylus, the Apostles wrote, the natural, and, no and Pindar. Would they trifle away a doubt, inspired, sentiments which they
breathe, and the fine and awful descrip- tures, in order that they might be contions they give us of the Deity and his vinced of the holy mission of the Pope, attributes, would indisputably bave been but left that to priests, vast numbers of for ever lost to the world, had they not whom, living at their expense, and pracbeen written in a language which was tising every vice, were employed to destined never to die; for they would wing their souls to the joys of heaven, have doubtless been altered to answer or to release them from the pangs of the views of sectarians, and their sublime purgatory. Oh incredible credulity! To precepts overwhelmed with a load of tin- what a state of darkness and error must sel and contradiction. While literature is the human mind have arrived !-Supercultivated, while a liberal spirit of edu- stition is founded upon ignorance, and cating their children in a knowledge of the effects of the one may be justly classical science prevails amongst parents, attributed to the effects of the other. the grand basis of our religion will still Thus it was that this detestable tyrant be secured, and the power of the state, of the soul extended wide its dominion so intimately connected with that of the over all Europe. Hundreds of thousands church, will still retain its solidity. Witb were led to perish on the plains of what horror must we contemplate those Palestine, through the blind rage of a dark and barbarous ages which imme- fanatic; and the inquisition, that dreadful diately followed upon the destruction engine of papal tyranny, spread its of the western empire. Indeed, for murderous influence far and wide. several centuries before that celebrated Fathers were dragged from their children, eveot, Europe had been buried in pro- from their wives, and from all they held found ignorance; the savage hordes who dear, immured in damp and lonely dunhad so often made inroads upon the geons, and at length tortured into a empire, and not unfrequently been in- confession of sins they had, perhaps, corporated with it, had already vitiated never committed. Should a spirit of the languages of ancient Greece and opposition arise, should any dare to exRome, and the purity and correctness of press sentiments hostile to the papal Virgiland Homer bad finally disappeared. power or to its institutions, they were The productions of those ages of taste immediately dragged awag as devoted and refinement lay neglected amid the victims, and, after certain ceremonies, dusty shelves of monastic libraries, and, burnt at the stake in the very sight of being immured amongst the ponderous multitudes! It argues a want of spirit and volumes of commentators, were seldom feeling, a blind and mean submission, or never noticed. What was the con- that the spectators of these horrible sequence of this contempt of refinement tragedies did not fall upon the actors, and learning? It is painful to declare it. and, by extirpating thein at once, put The lower orders of society were worse an end to the fatal curse. But their than barbarous. Taught to consider feelings were obscured by ignorance, knowledge as an attribute they had no and their actions guided by superstition. business to aim at, they were compelled But this does not finish the catalogue of to serve in order that they might subsist, the evils that afflicted mankind during and were made tools of ambition and those ages in which science was dead the victims of monkish craft. Nor were and civilization languished. Even the they the only sufferers at the shrine of fair sex were doomed to drink the bitter iguorance. Barons and princes, even cup of confinement and restraint. Nuokings and emperors themselves, were neries, priories, monasteries, and abbeys, under the influence of this detestable every-where alounded, raised by the scourge. Led, or rather compelled, to pious, but mistaken, zeal of the great. believe that the keys of divine grace were Enclosed within their gloomy recesses, in the possession of the see of Rome, and subject to the rule of haughty and they dared not to resist its mandates, or rigid superiors, youth, beauty, and to negative its demands. Passing all accomplishments, dragged on a weary their time in war, in hunting, tourna- and insipid life. Compelled by poverty, ments, or other amusements of the age, tempted by affliction, or deluded by the they never thought of perusing the scrip- artifices of interested priezts, they entered
these asylums of woe. To the minds of these mighty effects? It is sufficient to young females, which are generally ro- answer, the revival of classical literature. mantic, the distant contemplation of a Since so great, then, are the benefits secluded life is pleasant; to be able to of classical literature, the pursuit of it forget or despise the allurements of the must surely be arduous! So would the world, to coinmune with their Maker, inexperienced argue, for they naturally and to associate with none but those attach difficulty and labour to things who entertain the same opinions with that are of extensive utility. Nor in this themselves, is highly desirable. But respect would they be much mistaken. how dreadfully reversed did they find the To cultivate the classics with success, picture. Confined in garrow cells, with requires no little application, no little no other companions than a scull and exercise of the mind. But it is like crucifix, forced to the observance of travelling on a hard and uneven road, innumerable rites and ceremonies as from whence the most beautiful and ridiculous as they were gloomy, they sublime prospects meet the eye, and saw their companions languish and drop divert the attention from the unpleasant. off in succession, and contemplated their ness of the path. Are the paios we turo as not far distant. Thus were many take in turning over the leaves of a of the most amiable of their sex lost to dictionary, and the perplexity we are at so-iety, not to enjoy a life of philosophic first involved in with regard to construcseclusion, but to wander listlessly amongst tion, to be compared with the pleasure gloomy cloisters, as miserable as melan- we receive when some fine and noble choly and regret could make them sentiment or decription is developed ?
The fifteenth century saw Constanti- Surely not; our labour repays itself, and nople in ashes ; saw those few who yet the more pains we take the more perfect cultivated classical literature wanderers is the gratification we receive. How over Europe, neglected and despised. great a fund of rational delight do they But in the same age Providence raised lose who neglect the attainment of classiup one family who were destined to cal knowledge merely from the difficulty gather together the dying embers, and they encounter at the commencement, blow them into a flame. Florence was who consider the grain matical foundation happy, free, and prosperous under the as a sort of post which warns them not guidance of the celebrated family of the to trespass into a garden flcwing with Medicis, who were rich from commerce, the milk and honey of the mind. How noble from their ancestors, refined from innumerable are the advantages and delearning, and liberal from nature; they lights which await those who by uncollected around them the Grecian fugi- wearied perseverance have at length obtives, and by unbounded munificence tained admittance. They may then incited them to explore every quarter with the divine Plato listen to the dis. of Europe and Asia in search of the courses of Socrates, and commune with productions of Roman and Grecian lite- the simple and elegant Xenophon amid rature. Learning begun to revive, the the shades of Scyllus, or, with Euripides, old authors were found, read, and ad- court the tragic Muse in the romantic mired. Glorious was the consequence cave of Salamis. With Horace they -glorious in the cause of literature, but may politely ridicule the errors of the fatal to the power of superstition. In age, or with Juvenal level the boldest the fifteenth century, the century in shafts of satire at the vices of the great. which learning was revived, Luther - But enough ! to enter into a recapitubroke through the shackles of papal lation of all the advantages to be derived tyranny, and the Reformation was be- from classical literature would fill a gun. In the fifteenth century, a passion volume; let those whom the liberality of for discovery was encouraged, and friends have enabled to unfold the America was unveiled to admiring Eu: treasures of classic lore, not neglect the rope. Io the fifteenth century, printing golden opportunity, lest, by attending was invented, and through its means too much to the amusements of youth, learning disseminated through all ranks. they lose what will afford sterling and And what was the primal cause of all lasting gratification to old age.
balf-clothed waiting-damsel ran into one A LBERT ALTENBERG, one of of the most crouded dormitories, and A the richest citizens of Brussels, lay shaking a sleeper's shoulder, exclaimed on his death-béd with no consolations, in his ear, “ Monsieur !--monsieur has except that he had a son capable of mistaken the room--this bed is engaged atoning for the errors into which avarice to a lady."_“ This bed !” returned the had betrayed him. “Herman !" he angry traveller~" this vile composition said, as the young man sat by his bed of rushes and fir-shavings !-Must a studying the last expression of his glaz- man be disturbed even in purgatory !" ing eyes“ I leave you wealthy, and - The soubrette, arranging the stiff your uncles, if they are still living, have wings of her cap, begap an oration on no other heir-but we had once a sister the lady's prior claims, and the guest
-read these papers, and do justice to prolessed his belief that women belong my memory.”—Herman assented by a to one of the nine classes of demons supsilent pressure of the hand, which clung posed by a Flemish doctor, “ Sir," to his till it became lifeless. Soon after said a young student from Gottengen, his father's funeral, an extraordinary “it is some consolation to know that change appeared in his character. In- every great man for the last forty-two stead of the hospitality, the beneficence, centuries has been equally tormented." and spirit of enterprize, which old Al- "A glorious comfort, truly !" retenberg had been studious to repress, the torted the grumbler, “ that three or four beir discovered even more frugality and hundred fools have been remembered by caution than his father. He converted greater fools than themselves! I want all the scattered wealth he inherited into neither Skenkius, nor Jacobus de Doo. one fund, but its depository was a pro- din, nor Grupnius Coracotta, to tell me found secret. At length its amount why women love to teaze and a goose was doubted, and the reserve of his de- to go barefoot." meanor seemed the consequence of ne. This torrent was interrupted in his cessary retrenchment. Presently his way down-stairs by meeting the cause fellow-citizens discovered that be spent of his disturbance, a plain ancient genno inore than the moderate sum requir- tle-woman, whose ugliness restored him ed for mere subsistence ; and it was to good-humour. Grace or beauty easier to discern that he was poor than would have made him furious, by lesthat he might be virtuous. His friends sening his pretext for spleen : and as gradually changed their assiduons coure angry men usually submit to any evil tey into those cold and stately conde- they are allowed to murmur at, the malscensions which are practised to humible content seated himself in " grim repose the receiver. During two or three years by the kitchen-fire. There some Belbe continued to frequent societies where gian soldiers were congratulating themhis entrance was noticed at last only by selves on their future quarters at the a seorful smile or a careless fainiliarity, farm of a decrepit and solitary widow, which he affected to receive with indo- celebrated for wealth and avarice. Their jest indifference. But the result of sus- new auditor, concealed in a recess, lis. per red poverty was not unfelt, and he tened to their ribaldry, perhaps for the had not courage enough to contemn it. first time, without disgust, because bis He left Brussels in secret, without leave misanthropy found an excuse in the vices ing any trace of his route, as some sup- of others. Before the dawn of a morn-. posed to join the Emperor Joseph's as- ing over-cast with Belgian fogs, a dili. my as a volunteer, or, ay many more be- gence left this inn-door, containing only lieved, to perish by suicide.
M. Von Grumboldt and one female The great clock of a noted inn at passenger. Our traveller, with no small Brussels had struck twelve, when the chagriu, recognised the close coif and
* See Aty. Vol. 2. p. 8.