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No empty threat, while the enormous censures of the Star-Chamber subsisted in full activity.
Such extravagant stretches of the regal Prerogative of course incited the Parliamentary Leaders of the People's Party in England to insist on a legislative provision that their meetings in future might not be precarious, nor so unfrequent. In 1640 a young nobleman, the Lord Digby, introduced and carried a Bill that a Parliament should never again be intermitted above three years at furthest, after the example of the Scottish Patriots, who according to Mr. Laing (see his valuable Hist of Scotland ; I, 173, 8vo. 1800.) had recently wrong from Charles his assent to a Law to prevent the discontinuance of their Parliaments for a longer term. Yet Clarendon is express to the contrary. His words are : “ the King at his last “ being in Scotland had, according to the precedent “ he had made here, granted an Act for triennial “ Parliaments in that kingdom.” Hist. of the Rebellion. (I omitted to note down the Volume and Page.)
Public business did not yet require a regular Session annually.--As one measure to reconcile the country to his usurpation, Cromwell promised a convocation of Parliament once every three years.
(Referred to in p. 49.) Paul—thought it no defilement to insert into holy Scripture the sentences of three Greek Poets, and one of them a Tragedian.] The Apostle cited the
Cretan Epimenides, in his Epistle to Titus, 1, 12: an hemistic from Aratus in Acts, 17, 28: and in 1 Cor. 15, 33, an apophthegm to be found in the fragments of Euripides ; the passage referred to more particularly in the text: from which Writer, by the word “ Tragedian” it is to be inferred that our Authour believed it to have been taken. But surely evil communications corrupt good manners is a proverbial sentiment likely to float in popular conversation. Grotius, and the best Commentators, however, think that Saint Paul borrowed it from Menander, as Newton has observed in a Note on Milton's prelusive strictures to apologize to his contemporaries for having thrown the story of Samson into a dramatic form. There, after pleading nearly in the words above of my text, the example of this Saint's quoting from a dramatic Poet, he presently proceeds, “ This is mentioned “ to vindicate Tragedy from the small esteem, or « rather infamy, which in the account of many it or undergoes at this day, with other common Inter66 ludes.". So indiscriminate was the horrour of the Puritans at the sinfulness of Stage-Plays, how. ever moralized! they were not (we see) to be tolerated in any shape. Our poetical Antiquaries in addition accuse them of having, through their fanatic contempt for profane Learning, destroyed whatever fell into their hands of the early Poetry of their native tongue. It is not unlikely. Zealots of every persuasion are much the same at all times,
and in all places. Laud was guilty of similar spoliation. This keen Curator of the Press is known to have consigned to the flames, whole impressions of English Poems. The M.S.S. of the Poets of ancient Greece found as little favour with the Greek Priests at Constantinople. Possessed with the same preposterous detestation of polite Letters, these “ holy Vandals” were eager to burn all they could procure. We have to thank this bigotry for the destruction of the inestimable remains of Philemon, Sappho, Bion, Alcæus, with others, and above all of Menander.
This I learn from the succeeding extract--ex Petri Alcyonii libro priore de Exilio ; which I give as Barter exhibits it among the Prolegomena to his Edition of Anacreon. “ Audiebam etiam puer « ex Demetrio Chalcocondylâ, Græcarum rerum pe“ ritissimo, sacerdotes Græcos tantâ floruisse aucto“ ritate apud Cæsares Byzantanos (ut integra “ eorum gratiâ) complura de veteribus Græcis “ Poëmata combusserint, imprimisq; ea ubi “ Amores, turpes Lusus et Nequitiæ Amantum .“ continebantur ; atque ita Menandri, Diphili, “ Apollodori, Philemonis, Alexis fabellas, et Sap“ phûs, Erinnæ, Anacreontis, Mimnermi, Bionis, “ Alcmanis, Alcæi carmina intercidisse : tum pro “ his substituta Nazianzeni nostri Poemata, quæ « etsi excitant animos nostrorum hominum ad
flagrantiorem Religionis cultum, non tamen “ verborum Atticorum Proprietatem et Græcæ
“. Linguæ Elegantiam edocent: Turpiter quidem “ Sacerdotes isti in veteres Græcos malevoli fue“ runt, sed Integritatis, Probitatis, et Religionis “ maximum dedêre testimonium." - And see too Fabric. Bibl. Græc. I. 679. Hamb. 1718.
We must indignantly regret this irreparable injury to classical Learning; and may suspect that the motive to such havoc might not have been purely spiritual. Perhaps the vanity of Anthourship co-operated in instigating to this irretrievable loss. Gregory Nazianzen might be desirous that no evidence should survive to future times that his Christianized Anacreontics were immediately from the Grecian Lyrics. It is remarkable, that Alcionio himself, having obtained possession of the sole extant copy of Cicero's Treatise de Gloria, should have been taxed with having destroyed the M. S. to conceal his plagiarism, after having transcribed largely from it into his work above quoted concerning Exile. (Bayle ; au Mot, ALCYONIUS.) -Aristotle has been suspected of the same fraudulent practice, after availing himself of the writings of his predecessors.
And the ensuing extract from the very ingenious M. Raynouard's Eléments de la Grammaire de la Langue Romane avant l'an 1000, will show the narrow escape of Livy's mutilated History from perishing totally through Monkish superstition. Cet illustre pontife (Grégoire 1"] “ apprenant que Didier, évêque de Vienne, don
“ nait des leçons de l'art connu alors sous le nom “ de grammaire, lui en fit de vifs reproches :
“ Nous ne pouvons, écrivait-il, rappeler sans “ honte que votre fraternité explique la grammaire “ à quelques personnes ; c'est ce que nous avons “ appris avec chagrin, et fortement blâmé .... « Nous en avons gémi. Non, la meme bouche “ ne peut exprimer les louanges de Jupiter et celles “ du Christ. Considérez combien, pour un prêtre, « il est horrible et criminel d'expliquer en public “ des livres dont un laïque pieux ne devrait pas se
permettre la lecture. Ne vous appliquez donc plus aux passe-temps et aux lettres du siècle.
“ Le dédain pour la littérature latine, qu'exaltait “ encore la haine pour le paganisme, porta Gré
goire-le-Grand à faire brûler tous les exemplaires “ de Tite-Live qu'il put découvrir. Saint Antonin “ raconte cette action comme honorable à la mé« moire du pontife romain.
“ Ce zèle, trop ardent sans doute, l'entraîna dans
une erreur que j'appellerai celle de son siècle ; “ mais quel nom donner au veu du professeur de “ Louvain, Jean Hessels, qui s'ecrie à ce sujet : Heureux, si Dieu envoyait beaucoup de Grégoires !” p. 14. 8vo. Paris 1816.
(Referred to in p. 52.)
The Divell whipt St. Jerom in a lenten dream,