Imagens das páginas

originating, as it would seem, entirely in his own good pleasure, that the Arians should be styled Porphyrians."

Of the subjects discussed in the notes, the most important are the capacity on which the legates of the see of Rome attended the first councils; the authority by which they were summoned, which Mr. Brown clearly shews to have been that of the Emperor, not of the Bishop of Rome;and the submission of the clergy to the secular tribunals. Those in which he investigates the disputed questions of who presided in the Council of Nice; whether it was held in the palace of the emperor or the church ; in what character the Emperor Constantine attended it; and, particularly, that in which he endeavours to ascertain the real import of the sixth canon of the Council of Nice, which the advocates of the see of Rome have long been accustomed to look upon as a proof of the recognition of the papal supremacy in the first ages; exhibit, in the strongest light, the author's patience of investigation, depth of research, and correctness of reasoning. In these, as in the other notes, he adduces and compares the testimony of the fathers and ecclesiastical historians, who lived in or near the times of which they wrote; pointing out many instances of error and misrepresentation, and shewing the degree of credit which ought to be given to their accounts. In the same manner, he also quotes modern historians and controversial writers, both Catholic and Protestant, sparing neither the one nor the other, where they have distorted the truth, to make it answer their party-views. In exposing the gross misrepresentations of the great Catholic annalist Baronices, be has been particularly successful; having generally done it by the aid either of ihe ancient anthors, whom Baronices himself quotes, or of Tillimoret, Dupin, Valesius, and other writers of the Romish faith. On the other band, he has corrected many errors in our Protestant historians; so that his work will prove a valuable acquisition to those, who may hereafter enter upon an enquiry into the discipline of the Christian church in the earliest ages.

The Appendix contains no less than one and twenty imperial letters, and other documents connected with the period of ecclesiastical history to wbich the work relates. These have been collected with great care from many of the huge folios of Optatus, Eusebius, St. Augustine, and other works of the Fathers, which have long enjoyed a peaceful slumber on the shelves of our public libraries. They are accompanied by the various readings, which a collation of each decree with the various works on which it is, has afforded, and by judicious notes on their authenticity and import. In fact, these ancient decrees of the secular power in ecclesiastical affairs, are to be met with in the work before us, in a more collected and correct state than in any other with which we are acquainted.

Art. X.-Ovidii Metamorphoses, in usum scholarum ex

cerptæ; quibus accedunt Notulæ Anglicæ et Questiones. Studio C. BRADLEY. Longman, Law, &c. 1816. Price As. 6d.

This work is uncommonly well contrived for the use of schools. It is without any introduction. But the editor's object obviously is, to present the public with an accurate and perspicuous text of the poet, omitting those passages which might tend to inflame the hearts and imaginations of youth. The book is illustrated with short notes, which must be of great use to a learner; and is terminated with an assemblage of questions, calculated to exercise his recollection, as well as to enlarge his stock of knowledge of the history and mythology of the ancients.

Art. XI.-Gulzara, Princess of Persia ; or the Virgin

Queen. Collected from the original Persian. 8vo. Price

10s. 6d. Souter. 1816. We presume that this work is meant as a satirical view of the present state of the kingdom; or at least of that state in wbich it was when the MS. was sent to the printer, and of what it may be by the time the second part of the performance is called for by the public ;-a period which, if the public be of our opinion, is sufficiently distant to allow of Îhe whole civilized world being re-organized. Yet there are

passages in it, which, as Parson Adams says of the Conscious Lovers, “ are good enough for a sermon,” and many excellent remarks upon governments, and ministers, and religion, and literature; but these truisms are engrafted upon an action so bald, that, with the exception of the names alone of the illustrious performers, which are changed, we have a mere recital of the principal occurrences which have lately filled up the columns of our newspapers, or the barren pages of periodical publications. The dramatis persond may be easily guessed by the following list. Abbas, King of Persia, surnamed The Well-meaning, who at the opening of the volume has just fallen into a trance, which renders it necessary for Prince Ali, his son, who is represented as choosing his favourites by their whiskers, to assume the reins of government. His spouse, Princess Fatima, is described as an adept at blind-man's-buff and hunt-the-slipper; but these qualifications failing to secure the affections of her lord, she is quickly thrown into the back-ground. Her only child, the Princess Gulzara, is brought forward, and the progress of her education described with minute dullness. The neighbouring kingdom of Tartary is shewn as under the dominion of the Angel of Mutation; Noureddin, the usurper over it, has been gifted by one of the genii with a complete knowledge of the human heart; and bis “ fearful command of the physical energies of millions,” plunges all the neighbouring countries into war. His successes and final disa grace, and the restoration of the pious Fadlallah, are described in good language, but with so little fertility of invention or incident, that the work may as well be called the Annual Register as the Princess of Persia. Nothing can be more dull than this sort of humour, which depends en. tirely upon a change of names—which debases the dignity of facts, without reaching the playfulness of fiction.

At length the Princess ascends the throne, and some broad hints are given as to the conduct which a young lady in such circumstances ought to observe. Unfortunately for prophets of the present day, events have not always the politeness to wait for their directions. Joanna Southcote's followers were continually writing to prophesy the end of the world, and were more than once obliged to change the date they had already fixed upon, in consequence of the provoking delay of printers' devils, which brought the event somewhat too near to the annunciation of it. Perhaps it is owing to some. similar cause, that just after our author has shewn the Princess Gulzara as about to fall in love with a noble oppositionist, and to assert her own right to marry one of her own countrymen, the volume closes in a fright, as if the author had heard of certain matrimonial arrangements respecting the living prototype of bis Virgin Queen; arrangements which, it is to be hoped, will secure to her that happiness in her domestic affections, which is the best support against the cares unavoidably entailed upon rank exalted as hers.

Our readers will easily recognize the following portrait.

“ It happened one day, that Nadir, one of the most powerful of the capricious genii, who, sometimes for good purposes, and sometimes for mere mischief, interest themselves in the fortunes of the human race, was flying over the island, and perceived a boy, apparently about six years of age, climbing a precipice in pursuit of the nest of an eagle. Struck with the audacity of the attempt in a child so young, he assumed the appearance of a mortal; and, having questioned the daring lad concerning his age and parentage, he quickly discovered, by his art, that he was destined to govern a mighty empire. Pleased with the adventure, the genius resolved to take the embryo hero under his special protection, and even to endow him with a portion of his own supernatural intelligence. For this purpose he assumed the character of a Tartarian nobleman; and, introducing himself to the parents of the young Noureddin, offered to procure him an admission to the military schools of the Kahn, which proposal they accepted with joy. The genius took this previous step, because he knew there was no other road to empire than that of arms, and was determined that his protege should lay a foundation of mundane science for the structure of super-human acquirement he resolved to bestow upon him. From time to time, therefore, he rendered himself impervious to the eyes of other mortals, to attend to the progress of the young Noureddin; who often, when he was thought to be musing in solitude, or wrapped up in unsocial gloom, was acquiring the profound and fearful energies which were, in due time, to unsettle the world. Nadir shewed him, as in a glass, the form of ages past; developed the iron policy which bad heretofore mastered the civilized world; and stamped indelibly on his young bosom the leading predispositions for command. He was next taught the secrets of the world of matter, how to exact the services of the potent spirits who preside over its elements, and to force their dark and mystic combinations to his purposes. Lastly, the genius opened to bim the mysterious volume of intellectuality, and laid bare the human beart: he was instructed how to detect the lurking motive, and unveil the incipient purpose, to awe the resisting spirit into obedience, and the willing one into devotion. He was permitted even to throw a quick and rapid glance over those tracts of mind which are but dimly observable by the wise, but which form the mental terra incognita of general mortality. Thus endowed, his immortal patron saw that nothing inore was necessary to his success, and that he might safely be committed to his fortune.

“ * Farewel, Noureddin,' said he to him one day, after a lesson at which all the secret intelligences of nature pansed and trembled, · Fate decrees,

that I shall leave thee for a season, and seek my native regions in the midair. Soon wilt thou appear among thy fellow-mortals, and receive from the sons of Adam the homage which is due to the child of my good graces ! -Noureddin, farewel!

“ The haughty boy slightly bowed his head; for he would scarcely bend even to immortality. Nadir witnessed the imperial nod with a smile, somewhat clouded by a discovery, which he bad that day made, of a dark unintelligible spot, which hung over the final fortunes of his favourite, and involved his ultimate fate in obscurity. “I know not,' exclaimed he mentally, ' whether I have formed a meteor or a star, a transient blaze or a lasting light; but, at least, I have educated a being

who will affect the fate of nations, and modify the history of the age. He said-and, involving himself in a dark cloud, ascended to Gininstan."--pp. 16-19.

The above extract will serve as a specimen of this work, the style of which is every where elegant, the sentiments good, and the opinions veiled in a garb of decent respect. But its faults are of a kind beyond all others unpardonable in books that profess to have the amusement of the reader for their object-want of incident, want of spirit, want of interest-want of every thing, except conscience to ask twice as much for the book as it is worth.

[merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »