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The Bard, though perhaps not the best of English odes, is certainly the most popular; a narrative and a dramatic interest per vade it, which the odes of Collins want: and therefore, though of higher merit, they are read less frequently, and with less pleasure. The ore is purer, but it has been cast in a worse mould.
A fine passage in Dr. Ogden's Sermons is here traced to Xenophon. The preacher
addressing himself to a young man, whose behaviour he supposes less correct than it ought to be, enforces the obligations of children to their parents in a strain of irresistible eloquence, as follows:
“ Now so proud! self-willed ! inexorable! thou couldst then only ask by wailing, and move them by thy tears; and they were moved. Their heart was touched with thy distress. They relieved and watched thy wants, before thou knewest thine own necessities or their kindness, They clothed thee; thou knewest not that thou wast naked. Thou askedst not for bread; but they fed thee.”
• Did you ever read? or can any young man, however proud, self. willed, inexorable, ever read this impassioned address without emotion? Nor can we easily persuade ourselves otherwise, than that the respectable author was here transcribing the affections of his own heart; for, as appears from the short memoirs of his life, drawn-up and prefixed to an edition of his sermons, in two volumes, by the late Dr. Hallifax, he was a truly affectionate and dutiful son, such a one as “ maketh a glad father.”'
• It may not be uninteresting to see the same thoughts worked up into an elegant form by an admired ancient. Xenophon, you will recollect, in his Memoirs of Socrates, introduces the philosopher discoursing in the following terms:
• Η γνη υποδεξαμενή το φορτιον τατο, βαρυνόμενη τε και κινδυνευεσα περι το βια, και μεταδιδασα της τροφής, ή και αυτη τρεφεται, και συν πολλα πανω διενεγκεσα και τεκασα τρεφει τε και επιμελείται, εδε προπεπονθυια εδεν αγαθον, έδε ΓΙΓΝΩΣΚΟΝ' ΤΟ ΒΡΕΦΘΣ ΥΦ' “ΟΤΟΥ ΕΥΙΤΑΣΧΕΙ, 8δε ΣΗΜΑΙΝΕΙΝ ΔΥΝΑΜΕΝΟΝ ΟΤΟΥ ΔΕΙΤΑΙ. .
Xen, Mem. I. ii. c. II. “ The sentiments under the expressions, marked in the English text by Italics, and by capitals in the Greek, bear, you will take notice, a striking resemblance to each other; and, though evidently most just and natural, are, so far as my observation goes, no where to be found but in these two passages. If you read the whole chapter, from which the lines above are taken—and the perusal will abundantly repay your trouble-you will find throughout a great similarity of thought between the philosopher and the preacher. In the short passage immediately before us, the preacher appears to have given more of pathos to the subject, by a judicious amplification, illustrating the general sentiment by 'specific instances, very happily chosen to affect the feelings.
Dr. Ogden was undoubtedly well versed in all the works of Xenophon. May we not therefore suppose, without any derogation from his merit, that while he was composing this admirable sermon
his thoughts might take their colour from the tints collected upon his mind by frequent communication with this fine writer?"
We shall close our extracts with a passage from Horace, which Dr. Berdmore seems very happily to have elucidated.
• It has created,' he says, 'no small perplexity amongst the scholiasts and commentators—such of them I mean as have ventured to remark upon it: for some of the first order, as Bentley, Gessner, and others, with a reserve not very unusual where real difficulties occur, have kept a wary silence.
“ Hinc apicem rapax
34• It may not be unamusing to observe for a moment how these learned critics puzzle themselves in endeavouring to explain what, by their awkward attempts, they very plainly show that they did not at all understand.
• One gravely interprets the term rapax by mutabilis, acuto by luctuoso.
• Another, by an exposition still more extraordinary, renders rapax sustulit by clam sustulit.
• A third, with great importance, on the words cum stridore acuto, “ his verbis puto significari Fortunæ commutationem, quæ vix intelligi potest sine magno sonitu ac fragore. Stridor enim sonitum ac strepitum significat, non clamorem.”
• Thus do they go blundering on, rendering " confusion worse confounded,"—not attempting, any of them, to describe the unnsual figure which Fortune is here made to assume. Had they attended a little more to this circumstance, it would, perhaps, have saved them much of the trouble in which they have involved both themselves and their readers.
• Bene, says a modern editor, in general an acute and sagacious interpreter of his author, Baxter, cum stridore acuto, cum ante posuerit rapax, adinstar scilicet procellosi turbinis.
• This roar of storm and thunder seems also to have rumbled in the ears of M. Dacier; though, when on second thoughts he explains stridore acuto by the sounds made by the wings of Fortune, he seems to have caught a glimpse of the real image which the poet had in his eye-that of a soaring eagle; as will appear from an extraordinary occurrence related by the historian. I will beg leave to transcribe the passage.
“ Ei (Lucumoni) carpento sedenti cum uxore, AQUILA suspensis demissa leniter alis pileum aufert, superque carpentum cum magno clangore volitans rursus, velut ministerio divinitus missa, capiti aptè reponit; inde sublimis abit. Accepisse id augurium leta dicitur Tanaquil, perita, ut vulgo Etrusci, cæle tium prodigiorum mulier. Excelsa et alta sperare complexa virum jubet. Eam alitem ca regione cæli, et ejus Dei nunciam venisse. Čirca summum culmen horninis allspicium fecisse. Levasse humano superpositum capiti decus, ut eidem divinitus redderet.” Liv. lib. i. c. 34.
• Wonders and prodigies ever attend the remoter periods of great states and kingdoms. They never fail to be recorded in their earlier annals, are superstitiously delivered down from father to son, and received with an easy and wiíling credence amongst the populace. Of this description is the tale of Lucumo and the eagle, which I doubt not was as familiar amongst the Romans, as well-known, and as often repeated, as with us the legends of King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table, Guy Earl of Warwick, St. George and the Dragon, &c.
• Thus it appears that the poet, when he attributed so uncommon a figure to Fortune, with so singular a mode of action, alluded to a popular story in every body's mouth. The allusion, of course, was immediately acknowledged by the reader, and felt in all its force.
. By the light hence thrown on the subject, whatever there was of obscurity bas vanished, all difficulties are done away, every expression resumes its usual and proper signification, and the sentence becomes clear and luminous.
The term rapax is not, you see, to be understood as epithetical to Fortuna, but to be taken, as adjectives are often used by the poets, adverbially, and joined in construction with the verb sustulit. Rapax sustulit, i.e. rapaciter sustulit, rapuit.
. By the expression stridore acuto, the great stumbling-block of the commentators, are plainly signified, as intimated by a vague conjecture of the learned Frenchman, the sounds made by the eagle clapping its wings and screaming in its fight, which the historiam expresses by the words magno clangore.'
The other passages which Dr. Berdmore has illustrated are few in number. We cannot but remark, that the form of epistolary writing is surely but ill adapted for this species of research, though it have enabled the writer to swell his observations into a volume.
A disputatious tone pervades the book, which is exceedingly unpleasant. Dr. Berdmore attempts to revive the old Warburtonian controversies ; but we trust that he is blowing at a fire of which only the ashes remain.
I have by me (he says) at this moment a series of letters from Dr. Warburton to Dr. Jortin, in which he is repeatedly expressing his thanks for literary services received from Dr. Jortin, with many grateful acknowledgements of obligation.' P. 67.
To this passage there is the following note:
year 1758. • To remove the mysterious veil which hath long hung darkly over the transactions of certain literary men, eminent in their day, and the more decisively to vindicate the character of Dr. Jortin from the unprovoked attacks injuriously made upon it by those who, as they daily saw, ought to have respected his virtues and abilities, it has been suggested that it would be an act of justice to make these letters public.' P. 123.
We wish the very respectable author of this work had contented himself with convicting Dr. Hurd of plagiarism : that is consistent with the plan and title of his book; but the polemical spirit and the personal dislike which he indulges are unworthy', his own character. The eye is offended by the invidious appellation of the LEARNED CRITIC in every page, and every where forced into notice by capitals. These disputes are to literature what electioneering broils are to our home politicswhat the jarrings of the petty Italian states and Swiss bailiwicks are to history.
ART. XIII.- Observations on some Medals and Gems, bearing In
scriptions in the Pahlavi or ancient Persick Character. By Sir William Ouseley. 410. 55. sewed. Harding. 1801.
INDEFATIGABLE in his researches into oriental literature, sir William Ouseley has here entered into an explanation of several curious monuments of antiquity, which continued obscure till the learned M. de Sacy successfully offered an interpretation.
The present dissertation is introduced by the following advertisement.
Having been informed, by a letter received last month from a very learned foreign orientalist, that the study of Persian antiquities is widely diffused over the continent of Europe, and that a gentleman attached to the embassy from Vienna to Constantinople is enployed on the subject of Sassanian coins, I became apprehensive that some remarks and conjectures which had suggested themselves to me, whilst decyphering various Pahlavi inscriptions might be anticipated, and the merit of having first explained some gems and medals might be disputed by another.
• That I may secure my claim to priority, I have extracted, in the following work, some passages from the manuscript materials of a Treatise on the Numismatick and Miscellaneous Antiquities of Persia, which, although I have been several months employed in the composition of it, from the delay in cutting types and engraving plates, cannot be ready for publication before the spring of next year.
• In the present work, afier M. de Sacy's example, I have expressed the Pahlavi in equivalent Hebrew characters, and must refer my readers to the alphabet which that celebrated orientalist has given in his Mémoires sur diverses Antiquités de la Perse.
• To this alphabet I am enabled to add, by the study of several rare gems and medals, a variety of forms in different letters. - All these shall be exhibited at one view on a copper-plate annexed to my future volume ; for which, also, I am now preparing moveable types, to express the true and ancient Pahlavi character ; as those which were used by the learned Hyde, of Oxford, imitate only the hand.. writing of the modern Parsis, or fire-worshippers.' P. iii.
But as M. de Sacy has an undoubted claim to the priority of discovery, it cannot be a matter of much consequence whether sir William Ouseley, or the foreign orientalist here alluded to, appear in the second or third rank. M. de Sacy seems even to have felt that there was some little degree of injustice in any claim of antecedence to which he himself is alone entitled; and in a French journal he has published a critique on this work, in which there are some slight symptoms of displeasure--though, as a man of candour and science, he expresses satisfaction at the efforts of our learned kıright: he does not however approve of all our author's conjectures. A question is started, whether those medals of the Persian kings which bear the simple title of iran, or those which bear iran and aniran, be the more ancient? As these coins commence in the third century, and proceed down to the seventh, we should conclude it to be a common medallic question, and that those of the best workmanship are the most ancient. The question may also be estimated by the superior thickness of the more ancient coins, and a comparison of the more modern with those of the kalifs *.
M. de Sacy supposes that those with the title of iran only are the most ancient: he doubts the interpretation of a gem from the cabinet of Gorlæus, nor can he find the name of Khosrou on the coins mentioned by our learned orientalist. He also differs in some other minute circumstances.
M. de Sacy justly observes that the medal discussed in the second section of sir William Ouseley's work is the most cus rious and important of all, as it presents three heads, of a king, queen, and prince; and he perfectly approves the interpretation which sir William Ouseley has given. For this reason, and as the section is short, we shall select it as a sufficient specimen of this excellent dissertation.
• In the annexed plate are representations of two medals: that marked fig. 1. copied from the third supplement to Pellerin's Re. cueils de Médailles, the other taken from the coin itself, preserved in Dr. Hunter's museumt. Of this, Mr. Pinkerton, a most able and ingenious antiquary, perceived the value, when he selected it from the entire collection as a specimen of Sassanian coinage I.
* Those with a full lace must also be the most modern.-Rev. · + Mr. Tassie, a very ingenious young artist of London, has lately obtained permission to take moulds of all the Sassanian, as well as many other ancient medals belonging to this admirable collection, from which the impressious, in paste or sulphur, exhibit with such accuracy the minutest features, as to render any inspection of the originals almost unnecessary for the purposes of a decypherer.'
• See his Essay on Medals, vol. i. plate i. fig. 10—from which work an engraving of this medal has been copied in the Encyclopædia Britannica, latcly printed at Edinburgh. -Article Medal.