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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.
Ar the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
"Ah! why, all abandoned to darkness and woe,
"Now, gliding remote on the verge of the sky,
""Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more ;
For morn is approaching, your charms to restore,
"'Twas thus, by the glare of false science betrayed,
My thoughts wont to roam from shade onward to shade,
"And darkness and doubt are now flying away;
So breaks on the traveller, faint and astray,
See Truth, Love, and Mercy in triumph descending,
And nature all glowing in Eden's first bloom;
On the cold cheek of death smiles and roses are blending,
And beauty immortal awakes from the tomb."
[From The Minstrel.]
BUT who the melodies of morn can tell
The wild brook, babbling down the mountain side;
In the lone valley; echoing far and wide,
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;
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 narrative, in whic nothing, however re ote 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 unexampled 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 Milian 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 LauThe 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
attractive sweetness. Her voice was strong and harmonious. Her
This accomplished woman gave her hand to Odenathus, who, from a private station, raised himself to the dominion of the East. She soon became the friend and companion of a hero. In the intervals of war, Odenathus passionately delighted in the exercise of hunting; he pursued with ardor the wild beasts of the desert, lions, panthers, and bears; and the ardor of Zenobia in that dangerous amusement was not inferior to his own. She had inured her constitution to fatigue, disdained the use of a covered carriage, generally appeared on horseback in a military habit, and sometimes marched several miles on foot at the head of the troops. The success of Odenathus was, in a great measure, ascribed to her incomparable prudence and fortitude. Their splendid victories over the great king, whom they twice pursued as far as the gates of Ctesiphon, laid the foundations of their united fame and power. The armies which they commanded, and the provinces which they had saved, acknowledged not any other sovereigns than their invincible chiefs. The senate and people of Rome revered a stranger who had avenged their captive emperor, and even the insensible son of Valerian accepted Odenathus for his legitimate colleague.
After a successful expedition against the Gothic plunderers of Asia, the Palmyrenian prince returned to the city of Emesa, in Syria. Invincible in war, he was there cut off by domestic treason, and his favorite amusement of hunting was the cause, or at least the occasion, of his death. His nephew Mæonius presumed to dart his javelin before that of his uncle, and, though admonished of his error, repeated the same insolence. As a monarch and as a sportsman Odenathus was provoked, took away his horse, a mark of ignominy among the barbarians, and chastised the rash youth by a short confinement. The offence was soon forgot, but the punishment was remembered; and Mæonius, with a few daring associates, assassinated his uncle in the midst of a great entertainment. Herod, the son of Odenathus, though not of Zenobia, a young man of a soft and effeminate temper, was killed with his father. But Mæonius obtained only the pleasure of revenge by this bloody deed. He had