Imatges de pÓgina

guage of Goldsmith himself, in reviewing a collection of pieces, by Montesquieu, put forth under similar circumstances,* is strikingly applicable:-"There is," he says, "a pleasure arising from the perusal of the very bagatelles of men renowned for their knowledge and genius; and we receive with veneration those pieces after they are dead, which would lessen them in our estimation while living: sensible that we shall enjoy them no more, we treasure up, as precious relics, every saying and word that has escaped them; but their writings, of every kind, we deem inestimable. Cicero observes, that we behold with transport and enthusiasm the little barren spot, or ruins of a house, in which a person celebrated for his wisdom, his valour, or his learning, lived. When he coasted along the shores of Greece, all the heroes, statesmen, orators, philosophers, and poets of those famed republics, rose in his memory, and were present to his sight: how much more would he have been delighted with any of their posthumous works, however

inferior to what he had before seen !”

Both the old and the new materials are accompanied with brief notes, clearing up the local and temporary allusions in which they abound; but which the lapse of another generation would probably have rendered it impossible for any diligence to explain.

February, 1837.

*See Vol. iii. p. 486.

« AnteriorContinua »