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sent to the car of the past, soon induced rapid retrogression. Thus, we think centralization of thought occasioned the decline of civilization. Northern invaders introduced new ideas, brokt up centralization, arrested imitation, and begot origina ality and inventiveness. Thus a start was given to a new and Christian civilization. Now, a centralization occasioned by commerce and fashion, threatens the overthrow of our civilization, as arms and conquest overthrew the ancient.
The ill effect of centralization of thought, whether its centre be the past, or some locality of the present, is apparent in the arts and literature of the Latin nations of Europe. France, Spain and Italy, though possessed of more genius, have displayed less originality than England and Germany. French art is a mere re-hash of Roman ürt, and very inferior to its original. The natural growth, changes and adaptation of language, are admirably described by Horace in his De Arte Poetica. He makes a great blunder in advising the forming and compounding words from the Greek, however; for the very want that occasions new words, shows that they cannot be supplied from the past. In the passage we are about to quote, he seems to have seen and deplored the advent of that age of rule and criticism that was to stereotype language, thought, art itself, provent progress, and inaugurate decline. From Horace's day, criticism ruled,
language and art were stereotyped, and the world declined:
“Dixeris egregiè, notum si callida verbum,
Italy, of the middle ages, imbibed more of the Christian and chivalric element, threw off for a while imitation and subservieney to the past, and shone forth with brilliant originality in all the works of art. But she, like France, has relapsed into imitation of the antique, and falls far belo y either Roman or mediaval art. With the age of Cervantes, Spanish genius expired. His happy ridicule expelled the absurdities of Knight Errantry, but unfortunately expelled, at the same time, the new elements of thought which Christianity and Chivalry had introduced into modern literature. They were its only progressive elements, in the Latin nations of Europe, who in all else were mere Romans.
Fenelon's Telemaque is a servile imitation of Virgil's Æneid, and that is an equally servile imitation of Ilomer. Each copy falls below the original.
Nothing shows so strongly the want of originality and want of independence of taste and thought among these Latin nations, as their contempt for Shakspeare. He violates all the rules of Greek and Roman art, and erects a higher art of his own; but Frenchmen, Italians, and Spaniards, have no tastes and no ideas differing from, or in advance of, the ancients, and can neither understand nor appreeiate the genius of Shakspeare. In Germany, he is almost as much read and admired as in England.
Imitation, grammar and slavery suit the masses. Liberty and Laissez faire, the men of genius, and the men born to command. Genius, in her most erratic flights, represents a higher Grarımar than Dr. Blair or Lindlay Murray--the grammar of progressive nature. To secure true progress, we must unfctter genius, and chain down mediocrity. Lib- . erty for the few--Slavery, in every form, for the mass! The rules of art destroy art.
Homer never could have produced the Iliad, had he learned grammar and rhetoric and criticism. Tis well for the world, he lived before Longinus. Euripides, Sophocles, and Aristophanes, and the Greek Masters in Sculpture and Painting, knew nothing of the rules of art and canons of criticism. Without the modern helps to art, Grecian art so far excelled pers, that it is a popular theory that they possessed an Ideal that has been lost. Early in the days of the Roman Empire, the rhetoricians, by attempting to teach eloquence by rule, so corrupted it, that the Emperors found it necessary to banish them from Ponde,
We are no doubt indebted to the ignorance of the ancients for the invention of Gothic architecture. No one taught to reverence Greek architecture, would have violated its rules by imitating the Gothic.
When about the time of the Reformation, the study of the ancients was revived, each Gothic spire stopped half way in its course towards heaven. Vediæval art expired:-and now the world has no art, but basely copies the past.
Had Shakspeare been as learned as Ben Jonson, he would have written no better than Ben Jonson. The lofty genius of Milton would have created a glorious English epic, had he not travelled too much abroad, and dwelt too much with the past. The Paradise Losi is a splendid piece of Mosaic, made up of bits of Greek and Roman mythology, Hebrew theology, Christian morality, Mediæval romance, set in the purest Angi.-Saxon, twisted into Latin collocation. 'Tis the song of the mocking-bird.