Imagens das páginas
[blocks in formation]


Remarks on Schlegel's History of Literature

maandaca 497 Samuel Johnson and David Humemw511 Menil's Edition of Antara com wa513 Remarks on the “ Anonymous and Fu

gitive Essays of the Earl of Buchan” 515 In my Younger

ww517 The Cockney School of Poetry, No IV. 519 Letter to the Committee of Dilettanti,

occasioned by their Report on the
Plans for the Repair St Giles'
Church, Edinburgh..

-524 Letters of Timothy Tickler to eminent Literary Characters. Letter V. To the Editor of Blackwood's Magazine

w527 The Mad Banker of Amsterdam ; or,

the Fate of the Brauns. A Poem, in
Twenty-four Cantos. By William

Wastle, Esquire. Canto IV.. 530 On the Dress of the Elizabethan Age534 On the State of Music in Edinburgh ...538 Remarks on Altham and his Wife 542 An Ancient Blue Stocking.

546 Letter from Nell Gwyn.

-547 Horæ Cantabrigienses, No I. Epigrams Translated

-548 Hazlitt Cross-questioned

1650 Account of some curious Clubs in Lon.

don, about the beginning of the 18th

-552 Analytical Essays on the Early English

Dramatists, No V. Webster's White
Devil, or Vittoria Corombona mwmw556

On the Great Madonna of Letter from an English Officer to a Friend in Liverpool

,565 Tales of my Landlord

w567 Proposed Reform of the Beggar's Opera 575 Details respecting the Philippine Islands 576 Remarks on Currents..

579 Discovery of Haüyne in the Island of
A Word to the rival Huttonian and
Wernerian Disputantsarar

ib. On the Use of Petrifications as a Cha

racter in the Discrimation of Rock

-584 On the Vertical Strata of the Isle of Wightmare

m585 On Shakspeare's Sonnets

ib. Haymarket

588 Phantasmagoriana.

m589 Extracts from Gosschen's Diary, No I. 596 The Works of Charles Lambeccaminm 599 LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC


macammanam617 MONTHLY REGISTER. Promotions and Appointments .621 Commercial Report

.622 Meteorological Report

.626 Births, Marriages, and Deaths...mam 628


To whom Communications (post paid) may be addressed ;

(Oliver & Boyd, Printers.}

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

·EMARKS ON SCHLEGEL'S HISTORY OF ling to believe in the excellence of LITERATURE. *

what belongs to ourselves; we begin

with our apparel, furniture, and houses, It seems to be received among most and extend, by degrees, the compliof the good people of the present agement to our town, our nation, and last as an axiom not to be disputed, that of all, to our age. the period to which they have the hap- We have no intention to deny, that piness to belong is, beyond all ques


many matters of no inconsiderable tion, the most enlightened which the moment, the self-gratulations of the world has ever seen. Nothing can be present generation are well founded. more natural than the species of ratio- Were there no ground for their belief, cination upon which this comfortable except in vanity, it must indeed have belief is founded. Every individu- long since given way. The fault lies al, however unskilled in the more in extending to the condition of the secret mysteries of psycology, is me- whole man that which applies in truth taphysician enough to be sensible of to one part only,---perhaps not the the gradual enlargement and improve- most dignified or important part of ment of his own understanding dur- that mysterious being. The part which ing the far more considerable por- has been the scene of improvement is tion of his life: and it is quite in the indeed that to which the philosophers course of things, that individuals of the last century chiefly devoted their should reason from themselves to every attention. But it remains to be dething around them. To the man who, cided by posterity, whether their dein reviewing a few past years of his votion, or our applause, should be conlife, perceives in every direction the sidered as among the excellencies or traces of intellect strengthened and the defects of our respective periods, knowledge extended, it must needs Among the many ages which have appear at first sight a very improbable preceded ours, not a few, and these thing, that, while the individual is at too,--at least some of them,-ages to all times so actively progressive, the which we now look back with very general mind should at any time be little reverence, were, in their day, retrogressive, or even stationary. He equally self-complacent in their opinion takes it for granted that the nation, of themselves. Perhaps no times were the world, are moving at the same ever more filled with self-conceit than pace with himself, and his favourable the corrupt and trifling ones of the last opinion respecting the century in which Roman and Byzantine emperors. The he happens to be born, derives not a blindfold mill-horse has no suspicion little of its charity from the unsus- in how narrow a circle he is moving, pected, but unintermitted, workings To go somewhat towards the bottom of his self-love. We are all wils of the matter, we may observe, that

the exertions of human intellect are * Lectures on the History of Literature, directed either towards the bettering Ancient and Modern ; from the German of of our earthly and corporeal existence, Frederick Schlegel. 2 vols. Edinburgh, or to something quite foreign, and, we William Blackwood; London, Baldwin, are not singular in supposing, quite &c, 1918,

superior to this. One great class of objects are useful, and pursued as much of the humiliating as of the means for producing tangible and vi- cheering. We are more knowing than sible improvements in the external ac- our fathers, but the old breed was a commodation of man; another great noble one, and it may be worth our class of objects have, in most ages of while to consider with ourselves wheththe world, attracted the zeal of the er we may not deserve the reproach of finest spirits of the earth, although the satirist-Gens pusilla, acuta. not leading to any thing so obviously Such reflections as these are not advantageous—have been pursued, in very common among the men of our a word, for their own sake alone, nation, but in the book which now lies and believed to bring with them abun- before us, and in many other works of dantly their own reward. In regard those whom Madame de Stael classes to the former class of objects, it must with its author, under the name of be admitted that the world was never ces grand penseurs Allemands," we so well off as it is now; we suspect find sufficient proof that they are by that, in regard to the second, a little no means unusual among the reflective research would have a tendency to lead men of another nation, which, in so to a very different conclusion. far at least as philosophy and art are

In respect to those branches of hu- concerned, may be entitled to fully as man exertion which are most evident- much respect as our own. Although ly ornamental, our inferiority to form the last fifty years have produced in mer ages will not be disputed, even by Germany more great nd valuable li. the warmest admirers of their own terary works than the last hundred time and of themselves. Our age pro- years among all the other nations of duces no paintings like those of Leo- Europe, even the authors of Germany nardo, Raphael, Michael Angelo, Cor- appear to be pretty free from that reggio, or even like those of Holbein. overweening self-complacency which In sculpture and architecture our po. is so visible in the writings of their verty is equally apparent. If we are French and English brethren. The better than ourimmediate predecessors, truth is, that all the German writers if we no longer admire or imitate the of eminence are also scholars of emiabsurdities of such men as Bernini, nence. They read before they think still we can sustain no comparison with of writing. Their reverence for others the times of antiquity ; nay, in regard tempers their confidence in themselves. to one of those arts we are utterly des- They labour to improve and adorn picable, when compared with those their age, but they are modest enough ages of modern Europe which we are to consider no little preparation as nepleased to think and talk of as utterly cessary for those who would enter updark and barbarous. Whatever excel- on such a vocation. In like manner, lence we attain in sculpture is derived their books are too full of learning for from a servile imitation of the antique ; our public, in its present state ; they and in regard to architecture, we seem make allusions which our wits would to be so impressed with a sense of laugh at as obscure, and pass into dilittleness, that we have absolutely gressions which they would censure as given over attempting any thing that absurd. Nevertheless, they are worth is worthy of being called great. We the studying, and will repay the lamake no fresco paintings now-a-days, bour which they demand from those no colossal statues, no cathedrals. We who peruse them with advantage. may call this wisdom and philosophy According to the author of these if we will. We may rave about poli- lectures, the chief cause of those detical economy and chemistry, and de- fects which may be discovered in the spise, if we choose, the simple ages art and literature of the present time, which were more occupied with art is to be found in the spirit of thought than with science, with feeling than introduced by the philosophy of the with analysing ; but to those who con- last century. The object of that phisider this world as a preparatory scene, losophy was revolution ; its engine and our earthly life as a school for our was derision. Its masters devoted all intellect, and' man as an immortal their talents to destroy the habitual creature, whose desires and aspirations veneration with which their country, are at all times after the infinite, the men of France and of Europe were spectacle of this, our boasted age, may accustomed to regard the political, perhaps appear to partake at least as moral, and religious institutions of


their fathers. They strove to repre- gard to that great and splendid branch sent every thing beyond their own of human exertion, that he has chosen, sphere, as existing only in prejudice, in the first instance, to meet and comand held sacred only by folly. Above bat the purposes and opinions of his all things, it was their wish and pur- antagonists. It is not necessary for us pose to undermine those forms of gov- to explain by what circumstances, in ernment which are established among the late history and present condiall the descendants of the Gothic con- tion of his country, his views have querors of Europe. In order to make been more immediately turned to the these appear ridiculous, they pointed consideration of some of those subjects the shafts of their wit, not only against which his present work is most calcuthe Gothic thrones themselves, but lated to elucidate. against all the art, and literature, and The truth is, that the old contest philosophy, which had sprung up un- between the friends and the enemies der their protection. Their sole topics of empiricism, which was sufficiently of praise were found either among the violent in the days of the Platonists republican peoples of antiquity, or a- and Peripatetics of antiquity, never at

' mong themselves ;-the former having tained its full height and vehemence to boast, as they asserted, of the only till of late. The balance inclines true artists, and their own age of the grievously to the meaner side. Manonly true sçavants.

kind are now every where ashamed of It is with a certain mingled feeling being, what the philosophers of the last of calmness and melancholy that we age were pleased to call unphilosophical. look back, from the present situation of Even the common people begin to take affairs, to the image of those old times more pride in having some general when the external aspect of things was ideas, than in retaining that warmth harsher and ruder, but when hearts of attachment to one set of objects, were warmer than they now are, and which entirely depends, as they have faith more firm. The history of the last told, upon ignorance of that which is century may at times provoke a con- beyond their circle.

The travelling tempt almost touching upon ridicule, regiments of books which pour in their but in general it is with feelings of á heterogeneous impressions from the very different nature indeed, that we four quarters of the heavens, level all connect the circumstances of that e- peculiarities before them, and turn the ventful period with those of our own. private enclosures of attachment and As when dark clouds are seen progres- opinion into a thorough-fare. When sively advancing over the face of a the mind is artificially supplied, by calm and lovely heaven, and the me- means of books, with more sources of mory of past tempests is revived in the sentiment than are able at once harapprehension of new, it is not without moniously to keep possession of it, the an anxious and a mournful expectation speculative understanding steps in to that we see the old bands every day settle their claims, and concludes by relaxing around us, and, under the leaving the whole man in a woful state specious name of improvement, every of obliteration, which corresponds with thing which our fathers loved and ve- Wordsworth's description of a moralist. nerated borne by slow but sure de- “ One to whose smooth-rubbed soulcan cling grees, into the reach of that revolu- No form nor feeling, great or small, tionary current which leads to a fear- A reasoning self-sufficing thing, ful, and as yet an unexplored, abyss,

An intellectual all-in-all.” None seems to have contemplated the To trace with that boldness which tendency of this age with more concern can only be inspired by mature skilthan Frederick Schlegel. The work fulness, a map of the whole history of which we have just read is a noble ef- human literature; to show how in every fort to counteract and repel its effects, age, the action of literature upon nato arouse forgotten thoughts and des- tionality, and that of nationality upon pised feelings, and to make men be literature, have been strictly recipronational and religious once more, in cal; and thus, by past examples, to order that once more they may be warn the present generation of the great. He is quite right in believing dangers in which they have involved that, as the evil has proceeded, so themselves, this was a great attempt, must the cure also proceed from the and we think Frederick Schlegel has influence of literature, and it is in re accomplished it with very singular

« AnteriorContinuar »