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disquisition on the Drama. The conversation led to the Unities, which, he agreed with Schlegel, were improperly fathered upon Aristotle. “He rejoiced," he said, "that, in this respect, Shakspeare was a dramatic outlaw. Had he arisen in France, his genius would have sighed in hopeless captivity. A languid, feeble elegance, an uninteresting symmetry of form, a system of conventional beauty, were the utmost emanations from those rules. Æschylus cared nothing about them. The French tragedies, he said, never warned him they were laid out, like French gardens, into regular vistas, and corresponding walks, which fettered and deformed what they were meant to improve. Yet it was, he observed, otherwise with regard to comedy. A good comedy ought not to comprehend any considerable portion of time. The whole action ought to be constantly tending to its end. If the plot hung fire, every body would yawn or hiss. Comedy being chiefly conversant with domestic scenes, was rather sedentary than excursive." He was requested to define comedy.

"Nothing," he replied, "was more undefinable than comedy. Its essence was to be the opposite of tragedy;-to produce mirth, where tragedy excited sorrow." But modern comedy he considered not to be pure comedy. Even Terence, strictly speaking, could not be said to have written comedy. Of the old Greek comedy we have now no complete specimen but in Aristophanes. What Eupolis and Cratinus were, it is impossible to conjecture; but, from the titles of their plays, it may be supposed that they were perfectly comic; that is, like Aristophanes, they breathed a comic atmosphere about them, and represented gods, men, Nature herself in a broad grin. Whereas, the modern comedy runs within a few gradations of absolute tragedy. To use a vulgar but expressive phrase, comedy might be said, upon the modern stage, to laugh on the wrong side of her mouth.

I lamented that none of the middle Greek comedy had come down to us. He called me a blockhead, and reminded me of Plautus and Terence. Their plays were Greek in manners, Greek in characters, Greek in action. Perhaps they had somewhat more intricacy of plot; but, in every other respect, they were specimens of the middle, or, to call it by a more appropriate name, the reformed Greek comedy. He said that Terence, instead of being Dimidiatus Menander, as Julius Cæsar had nick-named him, was Duplex Menander in fact; for he frequently clapped two of Menander's comedies together, to make one of his own. "Besides," added Parr, " you ought not to have forgotten, that one play, decidedly belonging to the reformed Greek comedy, is still extant in Greek-the Plutus of Aristophanes, which was acted after the edict had passed, restricting the satire of the stage, and the personal licentiousness of the comic writers.

He was strongly adverse to quackery in education. Old Dr. Busby, he observed, had a surprising faculty of bringing boys forward in a short space of time, whilst he was master of Westminster school. But it was not by short cuts, but through the old-established highway of learning. Learning the ancient languages without the aid of grammar, was an idea as old as Roger Ascham, who tried it for some time upon one of his pupils, but became afterwards convinced of its inefficacy, observing that it was attempting to get in at a window instead of climbing the staircase.

Öf a gentleman well known as a member of parliament, and remarkable for his scientific acquirements, and then actively employed in the printing of a new Greek Testament, he said that he would never become a scholar. To be a scholar is the habit of a life, not a task, which mere industry could get through. "In this case," said Parr, "Nature has forbidden it. She has interposed Alpesque nivesque. G~" he observed, "belonged to a class, termed by Cicero, dates, and by Persius, seri studiorum. Those Alpine impediments, over which a boy gradually mounts, can only be passed in the vigour of youth. Existing spoken languages were different things. They might be made the subject of new experiments. But Greek and Latin were consecrated temples, which were only to be entered through the vestibule."

Yet he admitted, that to this rule some splendid exceptions were to be found; but they were very few. Amongst these, I think, he instanced Mr. Payne Knight, who began Greek at a much later period of life than is usual with those who have attained great proficiency in that language. He also mentioned Dr. Harwood, the dissenting divine, who had edited a Greek Testament without accents. These, he said, were striking but rare instances. But the lateness of the acquisition, in general, was perpetually hetraying itself amongst the ads. They set off, he said, at a prancing pace; but they are sure to stumble. A false quantity detects the inexperience of the ear. It shows that a man has not been habituated to the instrument he plays on. Mackintosh, he allowed, had every requisite for a good scholar, but the scholarship itself. He was sufficiently read in the Latin authors, particularly in Cicero, whom he quoted with great enthusiasm. As for Greek, he could make it out as well as most Scotchmen. "Yet," exclaimed Parr, "if I were to have Jemmy up to a verb in μ, he would feel considerable perturbation. But, Sir, this is nothing at all; it is but as a drop of water in the ocean of Jemmy's acquirements."

I observed that I had lately heard from my venerable friend the Bishop of Norwich, similar remarks on the disadvantages of opsimathy. "Sir," said Parr, "you have adduced a high authority. Bathurst is a man of parts, and an excellent scholar. He was the contemporary and associate of both the Wartons at Winchester and at New College. Bathurst's character, in the moral relations of life, is beyond all praise. Nay, Sir, common-place praise of such a character would be detraction. I will speak of him, as Tacitus spoke of another good man: Integritatem et abstinentiam tanti viri referre, injuria fuerit virtutum.''

One of Parr's pupils became a member of the House of Commons about the year 1810. He was placed in a ministerial seat by the late Mr. Perceval. Having in a letter, intended as an apology for something of tergiversation from his former sentiments, communicated the transaction to his old preceptor, he received from him a long reply, one passage of which ran nearly thus: "If your change of party be sincere, your conduct requires no casuistical defence. Party divisions are beneficial to the state, and there are good men in both parties. You have, therefore, incurred no obligation which an honest man would disavow; and though your acceptance of the seat is a tacit compact of fidelity to those who gave it you, yet I take it for granted, that you had maturely weighed, and deliberately adopted their sentiments, before you undertook to support them. But if you have silenced the suggestions of your conscience, and abandoned the impulses of your understanding; if upon the vital, essential, consecrated principles of the English_constitution, you have acted against your own internal convictions, no good man can applaud you, no honourable man can acquit you. You will have become a slave in the lowest sense of that degradation; and on the day that saw you become one, you lost not half, but all your worth.'”

Parr said that a very philosophical and amusing book might be written upon the history of human error. Sir Thomas Brown confined his excellent treatise to common and vernacular errors. The errors of learning would be more instructive. He said, that he had seen a voluminous work to prove the possibility of a blind man's generating children that could see. A philosopher (he did not mention his name) had explained the production of the loadstone in a learned and scientific research, by ascribing it to atoms drawn from the North Pole by the heat of the torrid zone, and thus sent down into the bowels of the earth, where coming into contact with condensate matter, that matter grew into the stone, and thus endued it with magnetic properties.

Speaking again of Sir Thomas Brown's Vulgar Errors, he observed that Brown had overlooked many superstitions, which still lingered in Warwickshire and the adjoining county. Several people still believed, that the swell

ing of the hoof, a disease to which cows are liable, might be cured by

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cutting the turf from under the sore foot, and hanging it on a hedge to dry; and that as the turf dried, the disease would disappear. He told us also, that many old wives in Norfolk believed to this very day, that if milk boils over, it raises an inflammation in the cow's udder, which may be prevented by instantly throwing salt into the fire. He mentioned also the powers attributed to the divining rod, which, he said, were not fabulous. He had himself seen the spontaneous vibration of the hazel-twig. It was scarcely possible to give a satisfactory solution of the two problems, why the effect should only be produced, when it was held by the particular persons endued with the power, and why it should only vibrate, as the person hold. ing it approached a spring of water. But he had positively witnessed the discovery of water by this means. He observed, that it could not be a quality inherent in the stick, but in the animal warmth or electricity of the person who held it. Yet Brown condemned it as a superstition.

The discourse gradually turned upon the abstruse question of moral evil, and the apparent difficulty of reconciling its existence with the attributes of the Supreme Being. He censured Soame Jeayns's book, as a vain, superficial production. He said that it never satisfied but one person, and that was the author. "These matters," Parr observed, our researches. All human science here, is but methodized ignorance. It "are wisely concealed from is not indeed impiety; but let it be remembered that intellect was not given to man, that he might be enabled to pile up towers to scale Heaven. The divine nature is far, far beyond the rashness of human speculation. On these subjects, it behoves us to feel the holy horror of Virgil:

Has ne possimus naturæ accedere partes,

Frigidus en obstat circum præcordia sanguis.""

Parr was not pleased with Mr. Mitchell's translation of some of the plays of Aristophanes, and he expressed great disapprobation of his review of the Greek orators in the Quarterly. But he felt the strongest repugnance to that gentleman's disquisition on Socrates, prefixed to his specimens of translations from Aristophanes. It was full, he remarked, of proud pretence and pedantic ambition. "Sir," he continued, "the purity of the great teachers of mankind is one of the most powerful means by which youthful and unconfirmed minds are trained to virtue. He, who by sophistry attempts to subvert the suffrage of the ancient and modern world in favour of Socrates, is so far forth an enemy to virtue. If what has been said against Socrates was true, would it not have been adduced against him on his trial by Anytus, who prosecuted him? Socrates was prosecuted for dissenting from the orthodox faith of Athens; and in that sense alone, he was termed the corruptor of youth. Had he been a corruptor of youth in the other sense, it would have been urged against him as an especial topic of crimination. Plato, in the Apology written a few years after the death of his master, does not say a single word of such an accusation. No, Sir, it was the coinage of an Anti-Socratic sect, which arose many years after him. Their calumnies were preserved by Athenæus. That, Sir, is the mud in which Mitchell has been raking."

We reminded him of Juvenal's line, which alludes to the Socraticos cinedos. He said, that it had been proposed to substitute the words "Sotadicos cinædos;" but there was no necessity for it. By Socratics, Juvenal meant only to stigmatize the hypocrites, who affected the virtues of Socrates. It was impossible that a poet who had extolled Socrates in such beautiful lines as these:

'Dulcique senex vicinus Hymetto, Qui partem acceptæ sæva inter vincla cicuta Accusatori nollet dare,'

could have reviled him intentionally.

This topic gradually led the Doctor to enumerate other instances, in which, he said, ingenuity had been perverted, and learning prostituted, to

overturn the most received dogmas of literary faith. "Bryant had attempted to cheat us of the Trojan war. Bentley once ventured on a fearful paradox, that the whole text of the Iliad and the Odyssey was suppositious. But, Sir, said Parr, on graver consideration, he relinquished it. The manuscripts of some of his lucubrations on Homer were once in Cumberland's possession. Wolf afterwards professed the same scepticism as to Homer's text. But Payne Knight would cheat us of Homer himself. I, Sir, for one, would stick to Homer, even if he never existed! The truth seems to be this. The versification must be Homeric; the story Homeric; the text, not altogether, but essentially, Homeric. What he owed to the early Athenians, who methodized his poems; what interpolations were inflicted on him by the rhapsodists, who travelled about reciting his verses ;-all that, is uncertain: but the text as it was reformed by the grammarians of Alexandria, and acquiesced in by the critics of the lower empire, I consider to be the text as it now stands. The verses, however, cited from the Iliad by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and even some quoted by Cicero, do not exactly correspond with our Homeric vulgate."

Parr's fondness for good eating is unquestionable. Like Dr. Johnson, he was quite absorbed in the business of the table. But he had a few strong antipathies, which were carefully registered, and scrupulously remembered by those who invited him to dinner. Amongst these, was his aversion to salmon and to cheese, neither of which were ever permitted to appear on the tables of those who were acquainted with his peculiarities. Dining one day at Mr. Hargrave's, a dish was brought and placed upon the_table, which Parr was anxious to encounter. When the cover was taken off, it proved to be a fine piece of salmon. He could not restrain the strongest expressions of disappointment; and turning to Mrs. Hargrave, who politely apologized for having forgotten his dislike to salmon, said, "No, my dear lady, I take this very unkind of you. It is me that you have forgotten. You forget me when you forget my aversions."

In the autumn of 1823, he dined with Mr. George Griffiths, the editor of "The Monthly Review," at his elegant villa near Turnham Green. He was out-talked at dinner by a loquacious physician, who had the singular faculty of talking and eating with equal rapidity at the same time. Parr seemed at first to be lost in surprise at the velocity with which functions, apparently so incompatible, went on together; and, jogging his host by the elbow, said in a low tone of voice," It will be my turn when I get my pipe." It proved, however, not quite so easy as he had supposed. The cessation of the masticatory process gave the physician's loquacity freer scope, and every one began to fear that Parr would not "come out." But, interfuit numen. The medical proser was sent for express to a patient in London, and suddenly left the table. An incubus seemed instantly removed from Parr's powers, and he paid us ainply the arrears he had incurred in conversation.

Parr knew Sheridan well. He used to tell several characteristic anecdotes of him; but it was confidentially only. He thought it was a violation of the reverence due to exalted genius, to dilate in mixed companies upon its irregularities. I heard him describe a singular scene that took place at a dinner given to Sheridan at the Shakspeare, a tavern formerly much frequented, and situated over the Piazza of Covent Garden. The tide of wit and conviviality flowed for some time without interruption. It happened that a gentleman from the City, to whom Sheridan owed three hundred pounds, and whom he had kept patient by successive promises successively broken, was by ill luck one of the party. The citizen had just before dinner called him on one side, and peremptorily asked for his money; but he was pacified by Sheridan's assurances, and sate down to the table in apparent good-humour. The circulation of the bottle, however, after dinner, contrary to its ordinary effect, awakened all his angry recollections about his money, and he again addressed Sheridan upon the subject across the table; who, in a severe tone of rebuke, admonished him to desist, and added, that if he renewed it Dec. VOL. XVII. NO. LXXII. 2 M

and disturbed the harmony of the company, he should be turned out of the room. The ill-fated wight went on in spite of the admonition; when Sheridan seizing him by the collar of the coat and the waistband of his breeches, lifted him with great muscular strength from the ground, and told him, that as he did not know how to behave like a gentleman, he should be thrown out of the window. The citizen struggled to no purpose with his vigorous assailant, and was struck with horror at the idea of being hurled into the market; when Sheridan, who was better acquainted with the locality of the tavern, opened the window, deposited his burden upon the leads of the Piazza, upon which the window opened, turned the screw and fastened it upon his creditor. Sheridan then returned to his wine, and renewed the conversation, which had of course been interrupted by the incident, as if nothing had happened. In about six minutes a gentle tap was heard at the window; and immediately after the subdued voice of the culprit suing for readmission. "We will try whether you can behave better," said Sheridan, opening the window; "if not, you shall resume your meditations upon the leads." The citizen returned to the table, and conducted himself with the greatest civility to Sheridan during the rest of the evening. This anecdote Is circumstantially authentic. I heard Cobb, of the India House, who was intimately acquainted with Sheridan, relate it in the same way. He was an eyewitness of this extraordinary scene.

Upon the whole, Parr was an extraordinary man. In one department of philology he was deservedly eminent. But it is a reputation, which injudicious and exaggerated praise will injure. It has not base enough to sustain a lofty structure of panegyrick. He wasted upon party what" was meant for mankind." He left nothing behind him beyond the passing discussions of the day, and too often threw away the authority of his name, his mighty learning, and the splendour of his diction, upon controversies as trivial and insignificant as those of a parish vestry. It is to be lamented that nothing remains of him strong and enduring; nothing that, in his own generation, filled much space in the public eye, or is likely to transmit his memory to future ones. His Sibylline leaves are barely worth the pains of re-collection. Those of his writings which merit republication, in my opinion, are his Sermons. Of these a judicious selection might be made. He who revives, by force of a powerful and manly eloquence, the religious and moral impressions, which in the varied and bustling intercourse of life are so apt to be obliterated, unless perpetually renewed, or by fresh and striking illustrations imparts new forms to worn-out and forgotten truths, is a real benefactor to his species. His admonitions, skilfully interposed, recommended by the graces of an elegant rhetoric, and urged with the strength of a resistless logic, will remain a monument of his talents, that will long outlive the labours of critics and commentators, a thousand Hemsterhuises, Pauws, Scultzs, and Jacobs.


The King and the Lady.

He sat in purple pride,

A king, a crowned king;

The will of a realm was at his side,

All pleasure's train could bring.

He bade his court be gay,

And an hour to revel give,

For 'tis meet when the hours fly fast away

To enjoy what time may give.

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