« PreviousContinue »
Jamium on the marriage of King Charles I. and a Panegyricum Carmen on the embafly to Spain. These verses were found in the British Museum, and are placed, in this edition, immediately after the Trailatus de pro elfu rei politicæ.
The book incicled De Siatu Prisci Orbis, though placed first by the Author himself, and by his present Editor, was, as we have already observed, last in the order of publication, and dedicated to Charles, Prince of Scotland and Wales. The Cicero Princeps, which first appeared in 1608, and the Cicero Consul, which followed it in 1612, were dedicated to Prince Henry. Before their republication, in 1616, this Prince was dead ; and from that event, Bellendenus takes occasion to pay the following compliment to the surviving brother :
Uno avuljo NON DEFICIT ALTER
Aureus, et fimili frondefcit virga metallo. The politician may difpute the juitness of this eulogy, but the man of feeling will be captivated with its elegance and pathos.
The book De Statu Prisci Orbis, contains fifteen chapters, Cicero Princeps, twenty-four, and Cicero Consul, fifty-fix. In the second and third books, we meet with the opinions of Cicero, in Cicero's own words, on topics of the highest importance to the character of princes, to the duties of subjects, to the preservation of vigorous and uncorrupt government, and to the general interests of rociety. In the first work, we seem to read Bellendenus's own expressions; the sentiments are certainly his own; yet we perceive, that he embraces every opportunity of interweaving the most choice and proper phraseology from his favourite author, Cicero. The historian, ine scholar, and the politician will find equal information and entertainment in this most valuable book. We will not, however, anticipate the pleasure of the Public by quotations from a work, in which our own eye has every where met with diction that must peale the most fastidious critic, and with matter that must interest the most curious enquirer.
The anxiety of learned men has been in no common degree excited by the contents, and their industry employed in searching out the writer, of a long and very singular Preface. In respect to ourselves, we confels, the fubject is not yet determined by any evidence which we have heard; and, therefore, we fall remain in quiet fufpense, till this secret is made known through the restless inquifitivenels or loquacious vanity of those, to whom the discovery of it may be more importani, than it seems to us.
The Preface contains some judicious criticisms on the style of Bellendenus, and a perspicuous account of the order in which his three treatises appeared. The Editor has added some curious information concerning the posthumous book ot Bellendenus, De tribus Luminibus Romanorum. He explains the full import of the tisle, which was involved in fome obscurity from the scattered LI 2
and defective state of literary anecdote, relative to this unfinished work. He avows his firm conviction, that Middleton, in his celebrated hiftory of Cicero, was much indebted to the writings of Bellendenus, whose very name he has stud ou fly, and, it lould seem, disengenuously omitied in his Preface. A suspicion of this kind had long been entertained; but the fact is we think determined by the testimony of the Editor.
He observes that the Scots were once far fuperior to the Enge lith in Latin compofition, and he refers his readers to Morhof's treatise De pura di&tione Latina, which Mofheim republished in 1725. We admit the justice of the preference given to the Scots: but we hope to be pardoned, either for our national, os for our literary prejudices, if we insist a little on the exceptions which may be made to the general position. Morhof says, " In Anglis ne unus quidem fuccurrit, qui puræ Latinæ dićtionis genium expreferit.” To this horld and unqualified censure, we cannot accede.-The men of Cambridge will zealously contend for the merits of Thomas Watson, of Sir Thomas Smith, and Sir John Cheke*, and they will be joined by a formidable and illustrious band of Etonians, when they apply the proudeft language of panegyric to the tafte and erudition of Walter Haddon. Morhof, who gives a cold and slovenly kind of praise to Ascham, pafles over in dilence the diftinguithed merit of Ascham's friend. This omillion, we are persuaded, is to be ascribed rather to want of information, than to want of candour. But we shall endeavour to counteract its effects by producing the threwd decision of Queen Elizabeth, when a dispute bad arisen, on the comparative excellence of Buchanan and Haddon : 6 Buchananum omnibus antepono : Haddonum nemini polipono." To this suffrage we give our hearty assent, and we feel ourselves juftified in giving it, by the authority of Janus +, who, in his very learned and ingenious differtation, De nimio Latinitatis sudio, has admitted the name of Walter Haddon into the catalogue of those scholars, qui genium atque indolem słyli Ciceronis adjecuti feliciter funt.
As our Editor infilts with so much warmth on the attainments of Bellendenus, who, as has been observed before, was Master of the Pleas to James I. we see no impropriety in our endeavours to
* Cheke's Latinity, as a translator, is mentioned by Huet, in bis inimitable work, De Claris Interpretibus : “ Ad Græca ille parum at. tentus pro libitu divagatur, sermo interim Splendidus, nec impurus.' p. 177: Gardiner, his ferocious antagonist, in the famous controversy about the pronunciation of Greek, begins his second letter in these words : “ Legi libellum, quem ad me dedifti, in quo fane flamen verborum et orationis copiam redundantem video." He repeats this observation in the third letter. He seems to consider Cheke's Latin as too elaborate; but never censures it for want of purity or ele. gance. t Sect. 22.
do justice to the character of an English scholar, who held a fimilar office in the preceding reign of Elizabeth. Haddon's works were collected and published by Dr. Hatcher. We think them worthy of attention from every scholar, and we particularly recommend the masterly reply to Oforius, and a charming speech, which Haddon delivered before the Econ boys, and which Mr. Upton has inserted in his excellent edition of Ascham's “ Plain and perfect Way of teaching the learned Languages.” We have heard with pleasure, and sometimes with admiration, the annual speeches at Eton school, and we beg leave to suggest to the very learned master, that the oration, wbich we have been commending, might, with great effect, be pronounced on some public occasion. It contains, like the iniroductory verses of Dr. Barford on the peace of 1762, not general or trite sentiments, but such as are marked by their pecu. liar and local propriety. It abounds with the most exquisite Latinity, the most judicious observation, and the moft falutary and pathetic inftru&ion. It will animate the honeft emulation of those young men, who are now exercising their genius, and forming their principles in this noble seminary. It will gratify the fineft sensibilities of every intelligent hearer, and especially of those luminaries in the Church and State, who with enthufiaftic fondness revisit the delightful scenes, which Gray has de. scribed, and amid which they were themselves formerly trained to the attainment of every literary excellence, and to the practice of every social virtue. Catching a generous sympathy from Haddon, they will recognize and feel,
quid mens ritè, quid indoles Nutrita fauftis fub penetralibus Pojfit.
Hor. L. 4. Od. 4. 25. The political part of the Preface neither contains, nor professes to contain, any profound research or elaborate reasoning. It is of the declamatory, rather than of the argumentative kind. It is written in a ftyle of perspicuous and nervous Latinity. Considered as a mere declaration of the writer's political opinions, or, as we should call them, his prepossessions, it is very copious, very spirited, and will both amuse and interest those readers whom it may not convince. The Editor sometimes points his attacks with the keenest wit, and sometimes assumes a tone of the most impetuous and fervid indignation. The energy of his di&tion, and the violence of his feelings, seldom forsake him, whether he be speaking of fricnd or foe. But his praises are profuse without adulation, and his reproaches are vebement without scurrility.
We have observed, that the Editor several times introduces a marked usage of illis quidem followed by fed. Now the same kind of phraseology seems to have been in high favour with
Tully, at some particular periods, and occurs more frequently in some of his works, than in others; not, as it Thould seem, from any peculiarities in the subjects themselves, but from the mere fondness which the writer felt for this phraseology at the precise moment of using it. The same kind of temporary partiality toward this or that mode of expreflion, may be traced in many other eminent writers. We shall establish the juftness of our remark upon Cicero, by adding, that the phrase, of which we have been speaking, occurs rarely in the three books De Oran tere, that in the Orator it is found five times, and in the Brutus fixteen.
In the Preface, we did not observe any Anglicisms; but we are sensible, how many expressions incur this reproachful appelJation, which may be justified by examples from the best Roman writers. Henry Stephens has collected many instances, in which the French idiom coincides with the Latin. Vorfius has done the same in regard to the German language, and we should be happy to find that a similar work respecting the English were undertaken by some countryman of our own. We have lost, it is true, a Markland, a Toup, and a Tyrwhitt; but the cause of literature will yet find the most able supporters in those who are ftill living ornaments of the age ; and whose modefty we will not on this occafion wound, by presenting their names to the Public.
The Editor seems to be not less familiarly acquainted with the writings of Cicero, than was Bellendenus. He sometimes applies pafiages from the Epistolary and Philosophical works of that writer. He frequently draws expressions from the Orations: -but his chief source feems to be the Rhetorical writings. Our Editor does not however confine himself to Cicero; but readily admits any expression suited to his purpose, in Cælır, Salluit, V. Paterculus, Quintilian, and other approved Roman authors.
Tnough the Editor has derived his phraseology from poetry as well as profe, and from writers who flourished in what is called the silver, as well as the golden age of Latinity, yet be has preserved a very becoming uniformity of style. On him who writes in languages no longer spoken, the practice of draw. ing expreslions from writers of different degrees of merit, is imposed by necesity. It is warranted by the example of scholars, who prefer real perspicuity to false elegance. It has been vindicated by the pointed raillery of Erasmus, and the solid reasoning of T. F. Picus, Politian, and Budæus. It cannot therefore be arraigned at the tribunal of manly and liberal criticism. The prefent Editor, perhaps, does not stand in need of this defence. But we have written it in opposition to those puerile and pedantic opis nions, which the German scholars of this century have induftri
ously combated with great variety of erudition, and with soundness of argument yet greater.
In the application of brilliant passages from Greek and Roman authors, the Editor is often happy. His allufions to Atrik. ing facts and marked characters, recorded by the writers of antiquity, are numerous and appofite. He has, with great propriety, apologized for inserting so much Greek in a Latin text, and we are disposed to pardon this motley appearance, for the sake of the intrinfic beauties which mice in the quotations, and of the consummate judgment with which many of them are in: troduced
On political topics we allow to all writers that freedom which we ourselves exercise, in judging of public men and public meafures. We do not, however, discover, either in Mr. Pitt, or his associates, those defects, which our Editor so acrimonioufly condemns; nor do we believe his favourite triumvirate poflefled of that unsullied and transcendent merit which he so highly extols. But it falls not within the limits or the plan of our Review, to controvert every political tenet to which we do not entirely accede. It is not our with to dispute the fincerity or the difintereftedness of the Editor, in forming his own opinions. But it is our duty and our right to express some disapprobation of the fierce and imperious fpirit, with which those opinions are sometimes maintained.
Whatever may be the excentricities of this unknown writer as a partizan, he certainly is intitled to much praise as an editor and as a scholar. The stubbornnefs of his political prejudices, and the asperity of his personal invectives, are, in a great measure, compensated by his candour toward the failings of learned men; by his admiration of their talents; and by bis endeavours to perpetuate the memory, and to extend the utility, of their works.
Puur. Art. X. Sermons. By Samuel Charters, Minister of Wilton. 8vo.
55. Boards. Edinburgh, printed for Creech, &c.; sold in London by Cadell. 1786.
luable discourses seem to be only hints, on which the preacher delivered himself more at large from the pulpit ; but, like them too, they contain many good thoughts, which may serve as materials for more regular compofitions. Of the author's manner a short specimen may fuffice to give a competent idea.
In enumerating the sources of evil-Speaking, he mentions ige norance, idleness, wit, and pride. Of wit he says:
• One who has wit is often so enamoured of it, só captivated with the attention the praise and the courtship it procures him, that he