Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

nitude that rise and set with the Sun, untill the opposite motion of their orbs bring them to such a place in the firmament, where they may be seen evning or morning ? The light which we have gain’d, was giv'n us, not to be ever staring on, but by it to discover onward things more remote from our knowledge. It is not the unfrocking of a

[ocr errors]

for one I cannot coincide with Dr. Johnson, that it was happily imagined : to my apprehension this application of it, to the immortal Bard's blindness appears more worthy an imitator of Cowley.

It was the advice of Sir Henry Wotton, “ by no means to “ build too near a great neighbour; which were, in truth, to be “as unfortunately seated on the Earth, as Mercury is in the “ Heavens, for the most part ever in combustion or obscurity, « under brighter beams than his own." Reliquiæ Wottoniana.

By it to discover onward things more remote from our knowledge.] Thus, in the noble Sonnet on his own blindness, addressed to his Pupil, Cyriac Skinner,

-“ still bear up and steer

“ Right onward." The general tenour of the text reminds me of an energetic exhortation in his Reason of Church Government: “ If God come “ to trie our constancy we ought not to shrink, or stand the « lesse firmly for that, but passe on with more steadfast resolu“ tion to establish the Truth though it were through a lane of “ sects and heresies on each side. Oiher things men do to the “ glory of God: but sects and errors it seems God suffers to be “ for the glory of good men, that the world may know and re“ verence their true Fortitude and undaunted Constancy in the “ Truth. Let us not therefore make these things an incumbrance, " or an excuse of our delay in reforming, which God sends us

as an incitement to proceed with more honour and alacrity. For if there were no opposition where were the triall of an “unfaigned goodnesse and magnanimity? Vertue that wavers

Priest, the unmitring of a Bishop, and the remoring him from off the Presbyterian shoulders that will make us a happy Nation, no, if other things as great in the Church, and in the rule of life both economicall and politicall be not lookt into and reform’d', we have lookt so long upon the blaze that Zuinglius and Calvin hath beacon'd up' to us, that

1

" is not Vertue, but Vice revolted from it self, and after a while “ returning.”—p. 28. 4to.

9 The rule of Life both economicall and politicall be not looke into and reform'd.] Milton was at this time strenuously occupied with endeavours to prepare the public mind for a Law on the Liberty of Divorce. It was an object near to his heart, and he pow glances at it by the word economical, i. e. domestic. In the Address prefixed to his Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, he calls a Marriage between persons ill-assorted to each other,

an-economicall misfortune." With a similar sense, Quarles : “ The economical part (the object whereof is private Society) “ teacheth first the carriage of the Wife to her Husband.--Divine Poems ; p. 86. 12mo. 1630.

Zuinglius and Calvin hath beacon'd up-) So before, “ the bag-pipe and the rebbeck reads”- &c. And, Par. L. II. 495.

“ Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings.” This idiom, a Verb in the singular Number with more than one nominative Case, is peculiar but classical ; Eroritur clamorque virum clangorque tubarum.”

Æn. II. 313. “ Mater sæva Cupidinum, “ Thebanæque jubet me Semelæ Puer.

Horat, Carn. I. XIX. I. « Quo bruta tellus, et vaga flumina, “ Quo Styx, et invisi horrida Tænari “ Sedes, Atlanteusque finis « Concutitur.

Ib. XXXIV. 9. This mode, if it were undoubtedly correct, it would, I think,

we are stark blind. There be who perpetually complain of schisms and sects, and make it such a calamity that any man dissents from their maxims. 'Tis their own pride and ignorance which causes the disturbing, who neither will hear with meeknes, nor can convince, yet all must be supprest which is not found in their Syntagma?. They are the troublers, they are the dividers of unity, who neglect and permit not others to unite those dissever'd peeces which are yet wanting to the body of Truth. To be still searching what we know not, by what we know, still closing up Truth to Truth as we find it (for all her body is homogeneal, and proportionall) this is the golden rule in Theology as well as in Arithmetick, and makes up the best harmony in a Church; not the forc't and out

be better not to follow, since the practice must increase the letter s, which is unfortunately so multitudinous in our Language, as to make it by far too sibilant.

· All must be supprest which is not found in their Syntagma.] Though now gone out of use, this word was inserted in the Eng. lish Dictionaries of the time; and is to be found in Marvell ; who speaking, in his celebrated Tract the Rehearsal transprosed, of the invention of moveable Types, says ironically—"a bulky “ Dutchman,-contriving those innumerable syntagmes of alpha

bets, hath pestered the world ever since," &c. Works; II. 7. 410. Milton, I apprehend, adheres to the Greek idiom, of which Isocrates' Areopagitic Oration affords an apt example: « Το μεν ουν ΣΥΝΤΑΓΜΑ της πολιτείας τοιουτον ήν αυτοις.. (Op. I. 324. ed. Batt. 1749.) “ Such was their System of Polity.”

ward union of cold, and neutrall, and inwardly divided minds.

Lords and Commons of England! consider what Nation it is wherof ye are, and wherof ye are the governours : a Nation not slow and dull, but of a quick, ingenious, and piercing spirit, acute to invent, suttle and sinewy to discours, not beneath the reach of any point the highest that human capacity can soar tos. Therefore the studies of Learning in her deepest Sciences have bin so ancient, and so eminent among us, that Writers of good antiquity, and ablest judgement have bin perswaded that ev'n the school of Pythagoras, and the Persian wisdom took beginning from the old Philosophy of this Iland. And that wise and civill Roman, Julius

S A Nation not slow and dull, but of a quick, ingenious, and piercing spirit; acute to indent, suttle and sinewy to discours, not beneath the reach of any point the highest that human cupacity can soar to.] This lofty panegyric bears no slight resemblance to what Voltaire wrote in praise of the mental qualifications and intellectual activity of the English Nation : “ Les Ita“ liens ces peuples ingénieux ont craint de penser, les Français “n'ont osé penser qu'à demie, et les Anglais qui ont dolé jus, qu'au Ciel, parce qu'on ne leur a point coupé les ailes sont de“ venus les precepteurs de nations. Nous leur devons tout de-. “puis les loix primitives de la gravitation, depuis le calcul de “ l'infini et la connaissance précise de la lumiére si vainement “ combattues, jusqu'a la nouvelle charue, et à l'insertion de la “ petite vérole, combattues encore.”-Ode sur la Mort de Mar dame de Bareith, avec une Lettre, par Mons. de Voltaire.

* Writers of good antiquity, and ablest judgement, have bin perswaded that co’n the school of Pythagoras, and the. Persian

Agricola, who govern'd once here for Cæsar, preferr'd the naturall wits of Britain, before the la. bour'd studies of the French". Nor is it for nothing

Wisdom took beginning from the old Philosophy of this Iland.) Was the elder Pliny his authority for this statement relative to the origin of “ the Persian wisdom?” “ Britannia bodieque eam « attonite celebrat tantis caerimoniis, vt dedisse Persis videri

possit. Adeo ista toto mundo consensere quanquam discordi, “et sibi ignoto.”Nat. Hist. I. 30. c. 4.

But this Writer's reflection in the latter sentence, on the agreement of customs among nations not known to each other is unfounded, as to this particular application : for the similarity between numbers of radical words in the Persian Language and the Teutonic Dialects, affords the surest and convincing evidence of considerable intercourse having subsisted at some remote pe: riod, perhaps in their primæval history, between the inhabitants of that country and the hordes who peopled northern Europe.

" The old Philosophy of this Iland" was that taught by the Druids. Of which an ingenious but fanciful Philologist, Mr. Cleland, does not hesitate to avow it as his opinion that " a just “ examination would, in all probability, restore to the British " Druids the honor of the sublimest and usefullest discoveries “ issuing from the gloomy depths of their groves, and of their “simple but awful cells of instruction, most likely, ages before “ the real or fabulous siege of Troy. So that, without even “ straining facts or words, what Cicero alledged to have been « only matter of opinion, as to Athens, was literally true as to « Britain: • Unde humanitas, doctrina, religio, fruges, jura,

· leges ortæ, atque in omnes terras distributæ putantur.'”—The Way to Things by Words, and to Words by Things; p. 68. 8vo. 1766.

Lipsius, however, doubted, according to Selden, whether Pythagoras received the doctrine of the Transmigration of Souls from the Druids, or they from him? because in his travels he " converst as well with Gaulish as Indian Philosophers.”—Notes on the first Song of Drayton's Poly-olbion ; p. 14. fol.

s That wise and civill Roman, Julius Agricola, who govern'd once here for Cesur, preferr'd the naturall wits of Britain, before

« AnteriorContinuar »