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learned from it; and it is no sinall benefit $ 81. Recourse must chiefly be had to the to be made accquainted with Cicero's own original Writers.
idea of eloquence. The “Orator ad M. It is to the original ancient writers that “ Brutum,” is also a considerable treatise; we must chiefiy have recourse; and it is a and, in general, throughout all Cicero's reproach to any one, whose profefsion calls rhetorical works there run thole high and him to speak in public, to be unacquainted sublime ideas of eloquence, which are fitted with them. In all the ancient rhetorical both for forming a juft taste, and for crewriters, there is, indeed, this defect, that ating that enthusiasm for the art, which is they are too systematical, as I formerly of the greateft confequence for excelling fewed; they aim at doing too much; at in it. reducing rhetoric to a complete and per But, of all the ancient writers on the fect art, which may even supply invention fubject of oratory, the most instructive, and with materials on every subject; insomuch most useful, is Quindilian. I know few that one would imagine they expected to books which abound more with good sense, form an orator by rule, in as mechanical and discover a greater degree of just and a manner as one would form a carpenter. accurate taste, than Quinctilian's InitituWhereas, all that can, in truth be done, is tions. Almost all the principles of good to give openings for assisting and enlighten- criticism are to be found in them. He ing taste, and for pointing out to genius has digested into excellent der all the the course it ought to hold.
ancient ideas concerning shetoric, and is, Aristotle laid the foundation for all that at the same time, himself an eloquent wriwas afterwards written on the subject. ter. Though some parts of his work conThat amazing and comprehenfire ge- tain too much of the technical and artifnius, which does honour to human nature, cial system then in vogue, and for that and which gave light into so many diffe- reason may be thought dry and tedious, rent sciences, has investigated the princi- yet I would not advise the omitting to read ples of rhetoric with great penetration. any part of his Inflitutions. To pleaders Aristotle appears to have been the first at the bar, even these technical parts may who took rhetoric out of the hands of the prove of some use. Seldom has any persophists, and introduced reafoning and good fon, of more sound and distinct judgment sense into the art. Some of the profoundest than Quinctilian, applied himself to the things which have been written on the study of the art of oratory,
Blair. paflions and manners of men, are to be found in his Treatise on Rhetoric; though $82. On the Necefity of a Clasical Eduin this, as in all his writings, his great brevity often renders him obscure. Suc The fairest diamonds are rough till they ceeding Greek rhetoricians, most of whom are polished, and the purest gold must be are now loft, improved on the foundation run and washed, and lifted in the ore. We which Aristotle had laid. Two of them are untaught by nature; and the finest still remain, Demetrius Phalerius, and qualities will grow wild and degenerate, Dionysius of Halicarnassus; both write on if the mind is not formed by discipline, and the construction of sentences, and deserve cultivated with an early care. In some to be perused; especially Dionyfius, who persons, who have run up to men without is a very accurate and judicious critic. a liberal education, we may observe many
I need scarcely recommend the rheto- great qualities darkened and eclipsed; their rical writings of Cicero, Whatever, on
minds are crufted over like diamonds in the subject of eloquence, comes from so the rock, they flash out sometimes into an great an orator, must be worthy of atten- irregular greatness of thought, and betray tion. His most considerable work on this in their actions an unguided force, and subject is that De Oratore, in three books. unmanaged virtue ; something very great None of Cicero's writings are more highly and very noble may be discerned, but it finished than this treatise. The dialogue looks cumbersome and awkward, and is is polite; the characters are well supported, alone of all things the worse for being and the conduct of the whole is beautiful natural. Nature is undoubtedly the beit and agreeable. It is, indeed, full of di- mistress, and apteft scholar; but nature greffions, and his rules and observations herself muft be civilized, or she will look may be thought sometimes too vague and savage, as the appears in the Indian princes, general. Uteful things, however, may be who are vefted with a native majesty, a fur
prising greatness and generosity of foul, those who would excel, and be diftinguithand discover what we always regret, fine ed in them. Human learning in general ; parts, and excellent natural endowments, natural philosophy, mathematics, and the without improvement. In those countries, whole circle of science. But there is ng which we call barbarous, where art and neceffity of loading you through these sepoliteness are not understood, nature hath veral fields of knowledge: it will be most the greater advantage in this, that sim- commendable for you to gather fome of plicity of manners often secures the inno. the faireft fruit from them all, and to lay cence of the mind; and as yirtue is not, up a store of good sense, and found reason, so neither is vice, civilised and refined: but of great probity, and solid virtue. This in these politer parts of the world, where is the true use of knowledge, to make it virtue excels by rules and discipline, viçe subservient to the great duties of our molt alio is more instructed, and with us good holy religion, that as you are daily groundqualities will not spring up alone: many ed in the true and saving krowledge of a hurtful weeds will rise with them, and Christian, you may use the helps of huchoak them in their growth, unless removed man learning, and direct them to their by fome silful hand; ner till the mind proper end. You will meer with great and be brought to a just perfection, without wonderful examples of an irregular and cherithing every hopeful feed, and repres. mistaken virtue in the Greeks and Romans, fing every superfiuous humour: the mind with many instances of greatness of mind, is like the body in this regard, which can- of unthaken fidelity, contempt of human not fall into a decent and easy carriage, grandeur, 4 most passionate love of their unlefs it be fashioned in time: an untaughệ country, prodigality of life, disdain of serbehaviour is like the people that use it, vitude, inviolable truth, and the most pubtruly rustic, forced and uncouth, and art lic disinterested fouls, that ever threw off must be applied to make it natural. all regards in comparison with their coun
Felton. try's good: you will discern the flaws and
blemishes of their faireft actions, see the $ 83. On the Entrance to Knowledge,
wrong apprehensions they had of virtue, Knowledge will not be won without and be able to point them right, and keep pains and application : some parts of it them within their proper bounds. Under are easier, some more difficult of access : this correction you may extract a gene. we mut proceed at once by rap and bat- rous and noble spirit from the writings and tery; and when the breach is practicable, histories of the ancients. And I would in you have nothing to do, but to press bold- a particular manner recommend the claslic ly on, and enter: it is troublesome and authors to your favour, and they will redeep digging for pure waters, but when commend themselves to your approbation. once you come to the spring, they rise and If you would resolve to master the Greek meet you: the entrance into knowledge is as well as the Latin tongue, you will find, oftentimes very narrow, dark and tiresome, that the one is the source and original of but the rooms are spacious, and gloriously all that is molt excellent in the other: I furnished: the country is admirable, and do not mean so much for expression, as every prospect entertaining. You need not thought, though some of the most beauti. wonder, that fine countries have strait ave- ful strokes of the Latin tongue are drawn nues, when the regions of happiness, like from the lines of the Grecian orators and those of knowledge, are impervious, and poets; but for thought and fancy, for the fut to lazy travellers, and the way to very foundation and embellishment of their heaven itself is narrow.
works, you will see, the Latins have ranCommon things are easily attained, and facked the Grecian store, and, as Horace no body values what lies in every body's' advises all who would succeed in writing way: what is excellent is placed out of well, had their authors night and morning ordinary reach, and you will easily be per. in their hands. suaded to put forth your hand to the utmoft And they have been such happy imiftretch, and reach whatever you aspire at. tators, that the copies have proved more
Ibid, exact than the originals; and Rome has
triumphed over Athens, as well in wit $84. Claffics recommended.
as arms; for though Greece may have Many are the subjects which will invite the honour of invention, yet it is easier and deserve the feadieft application from to strike out a new course of thought,
than to equal old originals; and therefore rity of the Roman muse, the poem is still it is more honour to furpass, than to invent more wonderful, fince, without the liberty anew. Verrio is a great man from his own of the Grecian poets, the diction is so great designs; but if he had attempted upon the and noble, so clear, so forcible and expresCartons, and outdone Raphael Urbin in five, so chaste and pure, that even all the life and colours, he had been acknowledged strength and compass of the Greek tongue, greater than that celebrated master, but joined to Homer's fire, cannot give us now we must think him less. Felton. Itronger and clearer ideas, than the great
Virgil has set before our eyes; some few $ 85. A Comparison of the Greek and initances excepted, in which Homer, thro' Roman Writers.
the force of genius, has excelled. If I may with a short compa
I have argued hitherto for Virgil; and rison of the Greek and Roman authors, I it will be no wonder that his poem should must own the lait have the preference in be more correct in the rules of writing, if my thoughts; and I am not singular in my that strange opinion prevails, that Homer opinion. It must be confessed, the Ro- writ without any view or design at all; mans have left no tragedies behind them, that his poems are loose independent pieces that may compare with the majesty of the sacked together, and were originally only Grecian sage; the belt comedies of Rome so many songs or ballads upon the gods and were written on the Grecian plan, but Me- heroes, and the fiege of Troy. If this be nander is too far loit to be compared with true, they are the completest string of balTerence; only if we may judge by the lads I ever met with, and whoever collectmethod Terence used in forming two ed them, and put them in the method we Greek plays into one, we shall naturally now read them in, whether it were Pililtraconclude, fince his are perfect upon that tus, or any other, has placed them in such model, that they are more perfect than order, that the Iliad and the Odysseis seem Menander's were.
I thall make no great to have been composed with one view and difficulty in preferring Plautus to Aristo- design, one scheme and intention, which phanes, for wit and humour, variety of are carried on from the beginning to the characters, plot and contrivance in his end, all along uniform and confitent with plays, though Horace has censured him for themselves. Some have argued, the world low wit.
was made by a wise Being, and not jumVirgil has been so often compared with bled together by chance, from the very Homer, and the merits of those poets so absurdity of such a supposition; and they often canvassed, that I shall only say, that have illustrated their argument, from the if the Roman shines not in the Grecian's imposibility that such a poem as Homer's flame and fire, it is the coolness of his and Virgil's should rise in such beautiful judgment, rather than the want of heat. order out of millions of letters eternally You will generally find the force of a shaken together: but this argument is half poet's genius, and the strength of his fancy, spoiled, if we allow, that the poems of Hodisplay themselves in the descriptions they mer, in each of which appears one contigive of battles, storms, prodigies, &c. and nued formed design from one end to the Homer's fire breaks out on these occasions other, were written in loose scraps on no in more dread and terror; but Virgil mixes settled premeditated scheme. Horace, we compassion with his terror, and, by throw are sure, was of another opinion, and so ing water on the flame, makes it burn the was Virgil too, who built his Æneid upon brighter; so in the storm; so in his bat. the model of the Iliad and the Odyfieis, tles on the fall of Pallas and Camilla; and After all, Tully, whose relation of this palthat scene of horror, which his hero opens fage has given some colour to this sugger. in the second book; the burning of Troy; tion, says no more, than that Pififtratus the ghost of Hector ; the murder of the (whom he commends for his learning, and king; the massacre of the people; the sud- condemns.for his tyranny) observing the den furprize, and the dead of night, are so bocks of Homer to lie confused and out relieved by the piety and pity that is every of order, placed them in the method the where intermixed, that we forget our fears, great author, no doubt, had first formed and join in the lamentation. All the world them in : but all this Tully gives us only acknowledges the Æneid to be most per as report. And it would be very strange, fect in its kind; and considering the dif- that Aristotle should form his rules on Hoadvantage of the language, and the seven mer's poems; that Horace hould follow
bis example, and propose Homer for the their verse. Orpheus, Alcæus, Sappho, standard of epic writing, with this bright Simonides, and Stefichorus are almost enteftimony, that he never undertook any tirely loft. Here and there a fragment of thing inconsiderately, nor ever made any some of them is remaining, which, like fooliih attempts ;” if indeed this celebrat- some broken parts of ancient statues, preed poet did not intend to form his poems serve an imperfect monument of the deli. in the order and design we see them in. If cacy, strength, and kill of the great mafwe look upon the fabric and construction ter's hand. of those great works, we snall find an ad Pindar is sublime, but obscure, impetumirable proportion in all the parts, a per- ous in his course, and unfathomable in the pecual coincidence, and dependence of one depth and loftinels of his thoughts. Anaupon another; I will venture an appeal to creon flows soft and easy, every where difany learned critic in this cause; and if it fusing the joy and indolence of his mind be a fufficient reason to alter the common through his verse, and tuning his harp to readings in a letter, a word, or a phrase, the smooth and pleasant temper of his soul. from the confideration of the context, or Horace alone may be compared to both; propriety of the language, and call it the in whom are reconciled the loftiness and restoring of the text, is it not a demonstra- majesty of Pindar, and the gay, careless, tion that these poems were made in the jovial temper of Anacreon: and, I fupsame course of lines, and upon the same pose, however Pindar may be admired for plan we read them in at present, from all greatness, and Anacreon for delicateness of the arguments that connexion, dependence, thought; Horace, who rivals one in his and regularity can give us? If those cri- triumphs, and the other in his mirth and tics, who maintain this odd fancy of Ho- love, surpasses them both in justness, elemer's writings, had found them loose and gance, and happiness of expreflion. Anaundigested, and restored them to the order creon has another follower among the they stand in now, I believe they would choiceft wits of Rome, and that is Catulhave gloried in their art, and maintained lus, whom, though his lines be rough, and it with more uncontested reasons, than they his numbers inharmonious, I could reare able to bring for the discovery of a word commend for the softness and delicacy, or a syllable hitherto falsely printed in the but must decline for the looseness of his text of any author. But, if any learned thoughts, too immodest for chaste ears to men of fingular fancies and opinions will bear. not allow these buildings to have been ori I will go no farther in the poets; only, ginally defigned after the present model, for the honour of our country, let me ob, let them at least allow us one poetical fup- serve to you, that while Rome has been position on our fide, That Homer's harp contented to produce some single rivals to was as powerful to command his scattered tlre Grecian poetry, England hath brought incoherent pieces into the beautiful fruc- forth the wonderful Cowley's wit, who was core of a poem, as Amphion's was to sum- beloved by every muse he courted, and has mon the ftones into a wall, or Orpheus's to rivalled the Greek and Latin poets in every lead the trees a dance. For certainly, kind, but tragedy. however it happens, the parts are so juftly I will not trouble you with the historians disposed, that you cannot change any book any further, than to inform you, that the into the place of another, without spoiling conteft lies chiefly between Thucydides the proportion, and confounding the order and Salluft, Herodotus and Livy; though of the whole.
I think Thucydides and Livy may on ma. The Georgics are above all controversy ny accounts more juftly be compared: the with Hefiod; but the Idylliums of Theo- critics have been very free in their cencritas have something so inimitably sweet fures, but I shall be glad to suspend any in the verse and thoughts, such a native farther judgment, till you shall be able to fimplicity, and are so genuine, so natural read them, and give me your opinion. a result of the rural life, that I must, in my Oratory and philosophy are the next dispoor judgment, allow him the honour of puted prizes; and whatever praises may be the paftoral.
justly given to Aristotle, Plato, Xenophon, In Lyrics the Grecians may seem to have and Demosthenes, I will venture to say, excelled, as undoubtedly they are superior that the divine Tully is all the Grecian in the number of their poeţs, and variety of orators and philosophers in one. Felton.
§ 86. A ff.ort Commendation of the Latin he has said upon any point, by consulting
per heads, that may readily find what Language.
an alphabet. This practice is of no use but And now, having possibly given you in circumstantials of time and place, cussome prejudice in favour of the Romans, tom and antiquity, and in such instances I must beg leave to assure you, that if you where facts are to be remembered, rot have not leisure to master both, you will where the brain is to be exercised. In find your pains well rewarded in the Latin these cases it is of great use: it helps the tongue, when once you enter into the ele- memory, and serves to keep those things gancies and beauties of it. It is the pe- in a fort of order and succeflion. But, culiar felicity of that language to speak common-placing the fense of an author is good sense in suitable exprefions; to give such a tlupid undertaking, that, if I may the finest thoughts in the happiest words, be indulged in saying it, they want com. and in an easy majesty of style, to write up mon sense that prachide it. What heaps of to the subject. ~ And in this, lies the great this rubbih have I seen! O the pains and “ secret of writing well. It is that elegant labour to record what other people have si fimplicity, that ornamental plainness of faid, that is taken by those who have no• speech, which every common genius thing to say themselves! You may depend " thinks so plain, that any body may reach upon it, the writings of thefe men are ne“ it, and findeth so very elegant, that all ver worth the reading; the fancy is cramp
his sweat, and pains, and study, fail him ed, the invention spoiled, their thoughts on « in the attempt.”
every thing are prevented, if they think at În reading the excellent authors of the all; but it is the peculiar happiness of these Roman tongue, whether you converse with collectors of tense, that they can write withpoets, orators, or historians, you will meet out thinking, • with all that is admirable in human com I do moit readily agree, that all the posure. And though life and spirit, pro- bright sparkling thoughts of the ancients, priety and force of style, be common to their finest expresions, and noblest senti, them all, you will see that nevertheless every ments, are to be met with in these transcribwriter shines in his peculiar excellencies'; ers: but how wretchedly are they brought and that wit, like beauty, is diversified in, how miserably put together! Indeed, I into a thousand graces of feature and can compare such productions to nothing complexion.
but rich pieces of patch-work, fewed 10I need not trouble you with a particular gether with packthread. character of these celebrated writers. What When I see a beautifal building of exact I have said already, and what I fall say order and proportion taken down, and the farther of them as I go along, renders it different materials laid together by themJess neceflary at present, and I would not selves, it puts me in mind of these common: pre-engage your opinion implicitly to my place men. The materials are certainly fide. It will be a pleasant exercise of your very good, but they understand not the judgment to distinguish them yourself; and rules of architecture fo well, as to form when you and I shall be able to depart them into just and masterly proportions from the common received opinions of the any more: and yet how beautiful would critics and commentators, I may take some they stand in another model upon another other occasion of laying them before you, plan! and submitting what I shall then say of For, we must confess the truth: We can them to your approbation. Felton. say nothing new, at least we can say na
thing better than has been said before; but $ 87. Direzions in reading the Clasics.
we may nevertheless make what we say In the mean time, I shall only give you our own. And this is done when we do two or three cautions and directions for not trouble ourselves to remember in what your reading them, which to some people page or what book we have read such a will look a little odd, but with me they are paliage; but it falls in naturally with the of great moment, and very necessary to be course of our own thoughts, and takes its observed.
place in our writings with as much ease, The first is, that you would never be and looks with as good a grace, as it apperfuaded into what they call Common- peared in two thousand years ago. places; which is a way of taking an au This is the belt way of remembering thor to pieces, and ranging him under pro- the ancient authors, when you relith their