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James Beattie was born in Scotland in 1735, and was educated at Aberdeen. He was intended for the church, but gave up the study of divinity. and became a teacher of youth He was afterwards professor of moral philosophy and logic in Marischal College, his alma mater. His prose works, especially his Essay on Truth, — an answer to the sceptical doctrines of Hume, - gained him great celebrity. Oxford conferred upon him his doctor's degree, the king gave him a pension of two hundred pounds, and Sir Joshua Reynolds painted his portrait with the allegorical accessories admired in that day. He is now chiefly remembered for The Minstrel, a poem in the Spenserian stanza, containing many pleasing natural scenes, with many excellent but rather prosy moral sentiments He died in 1803. His poems, in one volume, are included in the British Poets.
At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
For morn is approaching, your charms to restore,
[From The Minstrel.]
The hum of bees, the linnet's lay of love,
The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark ;
Slow tolls the village clock the drowsy hour ;
Deep mourns the turtle in sequestered bower,
Edward Gibbon was born at Putney, county of Surrey, in 1737. He was educated partly at Oxford, and afterwards more thoroughly at Lausanne, in Switzerland. He sat for a time in Parliament, but made no figure there. The work to which he gave his life was the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The scholar will not need to be reminded that this is a vast work, to which all the learning of the ages has been made tributary, written in a noble style (though somewhat too ornate, and lacking variety), and without a rival in any part of its extended field. As the reader contemplates the marvellous naitative, in which nothing, however remote or obscure, is omitted, - which depicts as well the movements of armies as the growth of legal science, the magnificence of barbaric rulers, and the manners of the humble poor, the only sensation is that of wonder at such unex ampled literary skill, such prodigious reading, such power of ranging topics in order, and such philosophic connection of events.
The Christian world objected, and probably with reason, to his account of the spread of the new religion in the old pagan empire, since he had treated it with coldly critical phrases ; and the current editions of the History in question are now furnished with notes by the late Dean Milman and by M. Guizot, supplying omissions, and correcting what they deem misstatements in the text.
During the last part of the time occupied in writing his History, Gibbon resided at Lausanne. The work was completed in 1787, and the author went to London to attend to its publication. He then returned to Lausanne, where he lived until 1793. He died in London in January, 1794.
THE OVERTHROW OF ZENOBIA.
(From the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.) AURELIAN had no sooner secured the person and provinces of Tetricus, than he turned his arms against Zenobia, the celebrated Queen of Palmyra and the East. Modern Europe has produced several illustrious women who have sustained with glory the weight of empire, nor is our own age destitute of such distinguished characters. But if we except the doubtful achievements of Semiramis, Zenobia is, perhaps, the only female whose superior genius broke through the servile indolence imposed on her sex by the climate and manners of Asia. She claimed her descent from the Macedonian kings of Egypt, equalled in beauty her ancestor Cleopatra, and far surpassed that princess in chastity and valor. Zenobia was esteemed the most lovely as well as the most heroic of her sex. She was of a dark complexion (for in speaking of a lady these trifles become important). Her teeth were of a pearly whiteness, and her large, black eyes sparkled with uncommon fire, tempered by the most