Imatges de pàgina

The beautiful abruptness, dis- pitch, and we have to contemplate, played in the introduction to the not only the mode of her entrance subject, immediately after the por- into the fiddle, but how she will tion of the poem, reviewed in the come out of it. On the contrary, foregoing number, is, perhaps, in the poem, which some have without its parallel. Here no time pretended to compare with our unis wasted in ridiculous invocations paralleled performance, we have of mere creatures of the mind; nothing to cause our admiration ; neither does the poet consume for it is easy enough to suppose a three or four hundred lines in de cat may be in a well, although very scribing the contortions of the cat, wonderful how she could be in a at the time of her entrance into fiddle : and we could not wonder the fiddle. He barely states the long, in the first instance, allowing fact, without any complication of our admiration had been raised ; imagery, which, he prudently fore- for the author continues thus ; saw, would unavoidably divert our

Who put her in! attention from the main design. Little John Green. There is a poem, which has been Who pull'd her out ? deservedly celebrated, but which Great John Snout, is certainly very far inferiour to So, we know the whole at once, that under review, although many and our admiration can exist no of the learned have held it in equal longer. In fact, these poems are estimation. I refer to the poem, not of the same class, and it is beginning thus ;

therefore ridiculous for any one to

institute a comparison between Ding-dong, bell! The cat's in the well!

them ; it is absolutely “ Gryphes

cum equis." This does not charm us by its It is truly surprising, that, exabruptness, like

cepting the present, we have no The cat's in the fiddle !

great poem of antiquity, that is not

burdened with an invocation of the although it possesses, in an emi- Muse ; and it is very wonderful, Rent degree, all the beauty of ele- that the ancient poets could relate giack composition. But the first nothing of any consequence, withline prepares us for something ex- out the assistance of the Gods and tremely solemn, since bells ding- Goddesses. Our author very readong only on the most serious oc- sonably concludes, that he can casions. Dishclouteroff was there- give us the necessary information, fore incorrect in supposing, that that the cat's in the fiddle, without bells could be ding-dong'd for fires invoking any supernatural agent and town-meetings, since ding- to assisí him in the narration. dong implies a slower motion of Had the poem now before us comthe “ campanæ malleus,” than is menced with an invocation of the used on such occasions. We are Muses ; had the poet introduced a informed of the singular and won- long and formal proposition of his derful fact, that the cat is in the subject ; or had he attempted to fiddle, without anything like describe the various attitudes, ges. premonition ; we are not informed tures, etc. of the cat, at the time how she came there, nor how she of her entrance into the fiddle, will be extricated : our admiration the charm, by which we are now is therefore raised to the highest held in adı..iration, could have ex

Vol. IV. No. 4. Y

isted no longer, and the sublimity The cat's in the fiddle ! of this exordium would have been And if we will judge Addison by a nothing, but a long concatenation modern criticism, let us refer to of unmeaning expletives. We Dr. Blair ; he observes, exemplishall speak largely of the sublimity fying his remark by the above of this performance, when we lines, « This, and all introductions come to examine it by the rules of of the same kind, are a forced atthe scholiasts. But our modern tempt in a writer to spur up himpoets are just as bad, on the score self and his reader, when he finds of amplification and invocation, as

his imagination begins to flag." the ancients.

They cannot de. But, in this elegant performance, scribe a battle, but the whole hea

there is nowhere such a species of yens must be in an uproar ; nor

weakness. Let us suppose our can they relate the skirmish of a

author had begun like Addison ; couple of insignificant scouts, with- and we shall soon see, how far beout being at fifty times the trouble low it's present merit the poem in describing, than the scouts were will appear, when tortured with in fighting. In a word, they can- useless amplification : not speak of a palisado, counterscarp, or ravelin, which my uncle But, O my Muse! what numbers can Toby' would have described in be found twenty minutes, and even corporal To sing the cat, within the fiddle bound. Trim in twice that time, without So paint her form, what colours shall

avail ? carrying us all through the cov

Her lengthen'd talons, and extended ered-way, back again over the

tail ? glacis, through the trenches, nor Methinks, I hear the sounds tumuleven without leaving us, after all, tuous rise, confoundedly mauled with the And cat and cat-gut fill the distant skics, chevaux-de-frize : and, in doing all this, they must have the assist- Our poet knew how far superiour ance of three of the Muses at least, the elegance and concinnity of his with Bellona into the barguin. exordium would appear, when con

- If it will not lessen the dignity trasted with loads of epithet and of our poem to compare any por- heterogeneous matter. He theretion of it with a modern perform- fore rejected all superfluous ornaance, let us, for a moment, com- ment, which must necessarily have pare the exordium with that of presented itself to his mind on this Addison's Battle of Blenheim : occasion, and confined himself to

the bare relation of facts. Had he. But O, my Muse! wiat. numbers wilt been inclined, he might have ex

thou find To sing the furious troops in battle tended his performance to a greatjoin'd?

er length than any of his followers, Methinks, 1 hear the drum’s tumul. Homer and Virgil not excepted. tuous sound,

To say nothing of Homer's shield, The victor's shouts, and dying groans. coníuund.

our poet might have consumed an

hundred lines very prettily in deWhat man, so mad, so ignorant of scribing the fiddle, as did Virgil the rules of Longinus, Aristotle, in describing the shield of Æneas. and all the schoolmen, as not to He might very well have delinadmire the superiour beauty of the eated on the bottom, top, and sides. following ;

of the fiddle, the four provinces of Greece,... Macedonia, Epirus, A- begins with an invocation of no chaia, and Peloponnesus ; and, if one ; but the poet very familiarly the fiddle was of a superiour size, tells Phæbus, by whom, he says, he might also have drawn out the he is already inspired, that he incat's genealogy, after the manner tends to resound the deeds of some of Virgil, and reserved the bridge famous heroes ; and, as the first for the Trojan states and depen- part of this intelligence is probably dencies. How happily might he somewhat new to Phæbus, the god have described the claws of the cat, must have a strange opinion of the like the gauntlets of Entellus ! poet, not very different from the Obstupuere animi, tantorum ingentia idea we sometimes have of our visseptem

iting cousins from the country, Terza boum, plumbo insuto, ferroque But this is not all ; after a few rigebant.'

lines he invokes the Nine with all Al wonder'd when her claws she first possible politeness, begging their expos'd,

assistance in the most obliging So firm, they seem'd of seven bulls'horns compos'd.

terms. Now, whether he intendÎn fine ; we know of no poem, the

ed to insult Phicebus by this impuexordium of which is so truly

dent treatment, or, whether it probeautiful in any language-Homer ceeded from pure affection for the does not venture a single step in sex, it is not to our purpose to dethe Iliad, as well as in the Odyssey,

termine. It is however certain, without craving the assistance of that Phæbus resented it by with the Muse. Virgil, more daring of the Muses almost altogether, than Homer in this particular, has

, ventured to the distance of seven

for which we have the testimonies lines, and even proposed his sub of Longinus, Quintilian, Scaliger,

and Rapin. jects previously to his invocation, Silius Italicus has discovered him

But it is unnecessary to adduce self as much the ape of Virgil in

any more examples from the anthis particular, as in many others. cients in proof of our poct's supe:

. Lucan has marked out for himself fiority, on account of his elegant a road entirely new ; he first pro- exordium of his performance. And

and comprehensive brevity, in the poses his subject, next, begins the parration, and then invokes the

ås we have niore than once stated Muse. But what shall we say of

our determination to be as brief as Apollonias Rhodius? His poem, the present number.

possible, we think proper to close

S. on the expedition of the Argonauts,

For the Anthology.







Rome, Dec. 9, 1804. with which this city abounds, it XY DEAR FRIEND,

becomes extremely embarrassing AMONGST the innumerable to select those, which would be objects of curiosity and beauty, most interesting to onc's friends.

In my very imperfect sketches to pecially of the Romans, is now in its my friends I have taken up such Nadir. This opinion is 100 unidetached subjects, as accidentally versally admitted to require proof; presented themselves. In my last but general opinions are less interletter to you I enumerated many esting, than the facts and details of the extraordinary instances of upon which they are founded, that blind credulity and supersti- especially when these can be obtion, for which this country has tained from persons, of whose vebeen distinguished during the la. racity we can form a correct esti. ter ages, and from the tyranny of mate. The country around Rome which it has noi yet been libera- on every side is in the most deted, I could multiply these proofs serted, forlorn, and miserable situwithout limit, but I fear that I ation, of which the imagination have been already too diffuse on can form any conception. Except this point. I cannot however res- where some rich nephew of a pope train myself from mentioning iwo has erected a princely villa, the paintings, wpich inade a strong im- country perfectly responds to the pression upon me to the no small description of the ruins of Palmyra disorder of my risible muscles. or of Babylon, where, as travellers The one is a figure of Saint Charles relate, you are compelled to take Borromeo, (for whose merits and a guide and wander along the character you may consult my let- banks of the Euphrates, amidst ters from Milan) who is represent, tygers and other beasts of prey, to ed upon his knees before the Vir discover the spot, where the richgin Mary, very piously and libe. est city in the world once reared rally presenting to her his own its proud and lofty turrets. heart, which he holds bis hand, You will naturally inquire, is the The other is a representation of soil miserable ? Far from it. InSaint Dennis, and his extraordinary dependent of the well known fact, dying miracle. This saint, who is that it was once the most populous the protector of France, is descri- and best cultivated country in the bed as standing with his head in world, I assure you, that the soil his hand, in a most firm and digni. appears to me to be at present fied posture. The painter has ta. very strong, and capable of proken no poetick license in this rep- ducing most abundantly. Naturesentation. He has conformed ralists say, and I think the colour himself strictly to Catholick histo- and nature of the soil fully support ry, which states, that St, Dennis, the opinion, that the soil in this having suffered martyrdom by de- part of Italy is the product of ancapitation, instantly arose, heroical- cient volcanoes, or at least that, ly seized his dissevered head, and upon analysis, it is found to be the walked upwards of a mile in that same with that in the vicinity of situation, to the utter confusion Naples, which is known to have (no doubt) of his murderers. been produced by volcanick erup

But enough of these absurdities, tions. These soils, we know, are it is more interesting to a man of re- remarkable for their fertility, and flection to learn the effects of such the gardens and pleasure grounds a system on manners and national of the ecclesiasticks and nobility character. To you it would be around Rome are incontestible needless to remark, that the char- proofs of the excellence of this soil acter of the Italians, and more es even at the present day. The climate also is the most favourable tain death. A Danish writer, who for successful culture. It lies in passed through this country last the happy medium between the year, has just published an ingecold northern and scorching trop- nious treatise on that part of Laical climates.

tium, which is the scene of the six But this country is said to be last books of the Æneid. This unhealthy. This is but too true. writer attributes the mortality to No country is more ravaged by the miserable state of the poor inautumnal diseases, than the envi- habitants of this part of Italy, who, rons of Rome, and even the city after working in their enervating itself is not exempt from this ca- climate, are obliged to lie down, lamity. In the vicinity Famine exposed to the chilling night air, and Misery, Disease and Death without proper covering ; and also surround you ; and in the city the to the destruction of the woods, pallid countenances of the inhab- which formerly covered a very itants pronounce most eloquently considerable portion of the country. the fatal insalubrity of the air. An You know, it is the modern fashofficial statement, which I have just ion to attribute great virtue to seen, will give you some idea of woods, particularly evergreens. this extraordinary city. There They are said to imbibe the noxare about eighty parish churches; ious particles of the atmosphere, five thousand ecclesiasticks or re- and to emit oxygen, or the saluligious devotees, of both sexes, brious part. I should add, (as in celibacy ; twenty thousand more still more important) to the causes males than females ; and, for a above cited, the superiour industry century past, one thousand more of the ancient Romans, who draindeathe, than births. Still this city ed the meadows and morasses, was constantly on the increase, till with which the Campania abounds, the French revolutionized it and but which are now suffered to exannihilated the ecclesiastical au- hale putrid miasmata to the desthority, when, losing its only sup: truction of every living animal. port, it suddenly decreased twenty But, it may be asked, why are thousand.

the modern citizens of Rome so The result of the foregoing indolent? why have they not instatement appears to be, that Rome herited the spirit and enterprize of is a vast gulf, which annually their predecessors? The impedbrings within its vortex the popu- iments are ecclesiastical and politlation of its neighbours, who there ical. Ecclesiastical, because the fall victims to its climate. But to numerous festivals, saints' days, what causes are we to attribute perpetual masses, and pompous this ill state of the atmosphere ?- ceremonies of the Roman CathoIt is well known, that the city it. lick Church distract the attention, self was healthy in the time of the consume the time of the devotees, ancient Romans, and the air of the and prevenţ that steady and serious Campania was more salubrious, attention to their temporal affairs, than that of the city. Horace, Vir- which the gospel not only permits gil, Pliny, Cicero, all praise the but enjoins. Ecclesiastical, because country air. They retired thither the example of two thousand in summer to enjoy the cool shades monks, who make mendicity a proand refreshing breezes. In ali- fession, who perform no manual ymn it would be, aç this day, cer, labour, exercise no useful calling,

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