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former lexicographers, he is still furnished with all the ety-
mological aid, which is requisite for understanding the true
derivation of words.

We shall not be thought to stray far from our purpose, by
speaking in conuneiidation of the many valuable works which
have proceeded from the press connected with the large and
flourishing Theological Institution at Andover. The Biblical
Repository, the first volume of which was completed in the
number for October last, deserves a place in the library of
every theologian and philologist. It contains a great amount
of valuable theological learning, and introduces us to a much
more familiar acquaintance with the German universities, and
the state of theological education, than the English reader
can derive firom any other source. We hope and trust that
the public will not sufier this work to fail for want of that
kind of encouragement, without which the learned cannot be
expected to furnish for others that intellectual aliment, which
it has cost them so much expense and toil to acquire.

Amidst the various conflicting opinions of theologians and
of sects, it must affi>rd pleasure to every man of liberal mind
and sound learning to watch and trace the proeress of bibli-
cal knowledge, in whatever sect it may be manifested. And
we are pleased to find that such things are not overlooked by
the scholars of our mother country. The Rev. Samuel Lee^



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1888.] Oreek CUmic Po9t$. 15

Royal Professor of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge^
England, with a generosity becoming a man of his eminent
acquirements and gifts, writes to Professor Robinson, the
editor of the Biblical Repository ; '* It delights me and all
my Cambridge and other friends, to find that our American
neighbours are really outstripping us in the cause of biblical

literature I am quite sure you will find no unholy rivalry

here, although I do hope you will find us endeavouring to
keep up the race, as well as the contention necessary to
secure that crown which fadeth not away."

The country of this learned Professor has not for a long
period past been distinguished for attention to the Hebrew
language and literature ; but we cannot doubt that the land
which can boast of such men as Pococke and Lowth, will
resume its place among the nations, and produce its fair
portion of great oriental scholars and biblical critics.



Art. III. — Introduction to the Study of the Greek Classie
Poets y designed principally for the Use of Young Per"
sons at School and College. By Henrt Nelson Cole-
ridge, Esq. A. M., late Fellow of King's College, &c.
Part I. Philadelphia. Carey & Lea.

A DELIGHTFUL volumc. We had perused it before the
American reprint came out, with unmingled pleasure, and
we rejoice that the Philadelphia publishers have brought it
in the power of all our scholars to avail themselves of its
charming pages. Mr. Coleridge announces his intention
^' under favorable circumstances to continue these Introduc-
tions through the whole body of Greek Classical Poetry."
We earnestly hope be may go on with the work, for we are
persuaded that it will conduce to the best interests of sound
scholarship on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr. Coleridge
possesses much of the fine poetical spirit of his great relative,
united to the thorough and philosophical learning, which runs
through the best productions of the author of ^* Biographia
Literaria." His language is remarkable in many respects.
He writes like a man who has a perfect mastery over the
treasures of his native tongue. He has gone to the primitive
meaning of his words, and uses them with a singular clear-
ness and force. Amidst the general indistiDctDess which the



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16 Qreek Classic Poets, [Jan.

foolish adoption of fashionable phrases, and the childish aspi-
ration for strong and sounding eloquence, have spread like a
mist over much of the writing of the present day, it is heart-
cheering to emerge into the sunlight of such a book. Clas-
sical studies appear to have wrought their legitimate effect
upon a mind originally gifted with acute perception and
poetic feeling. His thoughts are sound and well ordered ;
his arrangement and expression are logical and e^cact ; his
sense of beauty is quick, discerning, and beams out in lan-
guage of graphic propriety, and at times of surpassing splen-
dor. No Englishman ever entered more completely into
the spirit of classical literature ; no critic ever judged with a
more just appreciation and a more sympathizing heart. He
has no set of critical dogmas, founded on a conventional
mode of literature, by which he decides on the worth of the
" blind old man of Scio's rocky isle." He does not measure
the majestic remains of a far-off heroic aee by a system of
rules, built upon a misinterpreted passage from a fragment of
antiquity ; but he enters, with a believing heart, into the
secret soul of elder poetry. He applies his clear reason to
the comprehending of those marvellous songs ; embodying
the irrepressible spirit of a young nation, an heroic race, with
a fine physical organization, surrounded by the luxuriance of
an unsubdued nature, beneath the glories of more than an
Italian heaven, inhaling the balmiest breath of the sky — sung
in the old Ionic language, the most wonderous . form of the
Greek, that miracle of human tongues, copious and majestic
as the mighty ocean ; ^lear as the still lake ; rising to the
level of the subliniest. theme, and with matchless versatility,
descending to the calmest and gentlest moods of the soul ;
reflecting, as in a mirror, every feature of external nature,
and uttering, as with the voice of inspiration, every tone of
the passions of the heart. These eternal monuments of the
Homeric age, Mr. Coleridge surveys and judges with the
profoundness of a veteran scholar, with the sympathy and
the love of kindred genius.

The " General Introduction " contains many finely con-
ceived and clearly expressed remarks on " purity of lan-
guage," for which he justly says, the elder poets, particularly
Homer, Dante, and Chaucer, are honorably distinguished.
We entirely coincide in his strictures upon Pope's Transla-
tion of Homer in this respect. That celebrated version.



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ISaS.] Greek ClasHc Poets. 17

splendid as is its general aspect, is a most miserable substi**
tute for the divine original. It is no more like Homer, than
a modem parlour is like a Grecian camp ; it is no more like
that antique heroic song, than a modern dandy, with his whisk-
ers, stays, and mincing speech, is like the " mighty Telamo*
nian Ajax," or the /Joiiv aya&6g Jtofiridrig. The distinction
between fancy and imagination is stated with great accuracy.
Mr. Coleridge shows with no small ingenuity, that it is a dis-
tinction to be borne perpetually in mind by a philosophical
critic, and that it is especially necessary in judging of the
merits of the writers of antiquity. The distinctive character-
istics of the southern and northern nations, which run through
the whole extent of European literature are pointed out ; and
the Introduction winds up with a train of beautiful and schol-
arlike remarks upon the effects of classical learning, and the
pleasurable associations it affords the student in the matu-
rity and the declining age of life.

" These inestimable advantages [of a knowledge of the Greek
and Latin classics], which no modern skill can wholly counter-
poise, are known and felt by the scholar alone. He has not
failed, in the sweet and silent studies of his youth, to drink
deep at those sacred fountains of all that is just and beautiful
in human language. The thoughts and the words of the mas-
ter-spirits of Greece and Rome are inseparably blended in his
memory ; a sense of their marvellous harmonies, their exqui-
site fitness, their consummate polish, has sunken for ever in his
heart, and thence throws out light and fragrancy upon the
gloom and the annoyances of his maturer years. No avoca-
tions of professional labor will make him abandon their whole-
some study ; amidst a thousand cares he will find an hour to
recur to his boyish lessons ; to reperase them in the pleasur-
able consciousness of old associations, and in the clearness of
manly judgment, and to apply them to himself and to the world
with superior profit. The more extended his sphere of learn-
ing in the literature of modern Europe, the more wisely will
he reverence that of classical antiquity : and in declining age,
he will retire, as it were, within a circle of school-fellow friends,
and end his studies, as he began them, with his Homer, his
Horace, and his Shakspeare." pp. 35, 36.

The body of the work is made up of a history of the pre-
servation of the Iliad, life of Homer, character of the po-
etry, some notice of the jereat Homeric question, morals of the
lUad, language, be. The Odyssey, and the other shorter

VOL. I. NO. I. 3



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tS Greek Classic Poets. [ism.

poems which usually pass under the name of Homer, are ban-
died in the same manner. These various topics are treated
with acuteness, learning, and good sense. We have never met
more valuable reflections, liberal scholarship, and sound criti-*
cism, within the same space, in any language. We should differ,
perhaps, from some of Mr. Coleridge's conclusions ; but we
cordially applaud the spirit and manner of his disquisition.
The subject of classical learning has generally been taken up
in such a narrow and exclusive spirit, and treated in such dry
and merely technical details, that we hail this manifestation
of a truer lone of criticism, with no ordinary pleasure. Our
author is as far from a blind idolatry on the one hand, as he
IS from a spirit of heartless sneering on the other. He can
give a reason for the faith that is in him. No ordinary range
of literary accomplishments has placed within his reach the
materials of thought and illustration with which every page
of his volume teems. He has carried into his intellectual
faith the Scripture command ; ^^ Prove all things ; hold fast
that which is good."

Such a work, extended through the other departments of
Greek literature, particularly the trade and lyric, would be
an invaluable addition to the stores of higher criticism in the
English language. A few such treatises reflecting with taste-
ful fidelity the genuine spirit of the classics, would rouse the
minds of young scholars to the real value of those mighty
remains, more than a million of abstract arguments. The
baneful and calculating theory of education, according to
which every object of knowledge is to be estimated by dol-
lars, cents, and mills, has gained such respectable advocacy,
that strong efforts are needed to set public opinion right ;
though, on the whole, we are inclined to think that the cur-
rent of public opinion has already taken the right direction.
If it is not, such men as Mr. Coleridge can easily cause it to
be so.

We therefore recommend this book to all. The Greek
type in which the extracts are printed are, it is true, too
mean for any thing but the paltry productions of the worn
out muse of Alexandria. But the book itself we recommend.
The young will find in it much to excite a noble enthusiasm.
The ripe scholar will meet the golden thoughts of bis hap-
piest hours— the evanescent glimpses that have broken upon
his mind from that glorious antique land — secured in the



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ISaa.] Gnffin'4 Bmaina. 19

iiaperishable forms of bis own vigorous tongue. The ad-
vanced in life may revive from its pages the cherished recol-
lections of youth and the hallowed associations of literary
manhood.

Art. IV. — Remains of the Rev. Ebbiund D. Griffin,
compiled by Francis Griffin, with a BioCTaphical
Memoir of the deceased, by the Rev. John M* Vickar,
D. D., Professor of Moral Philosophy, &c., in Colum-
bia College. In 2 vols. 8vo. New York, G. & C. &; H.
Carvill. 1831.

This " Biographical Memoir " is a very well written and
highly engaging account of Mr. Griffin, the author of the
posthumous remains ; exhibiting his early promise, and de-
scribing his youthful achievements. It is also a very useful
account, since it traces with sufficient minuteness, not only
his literary career, but his moral growth. It presents a beau-
tiful picture of boyhood and youth, the ardor of which was
tempered by most remarkable self-government and maturity
of judgment ; of youth diligently employed, but not losing in
rivalry the generous virtues, and especially the kind domes-
tic affections ; and above all, a manhood preceded by inno-
cence and improvement, adorned with various learning and
accomplishments, and crowned with genuine religious feeling
and taste.

We cannot afford room to say all we could wish concern-
ing the contents of these volumes. The fugitive poems in
Latin, commencing with those written at fourteen years of
age, are uncommon specimens of good latinity and metrical
correctness ; and those in English, whether classical or de-
scriptive, playful or grave, if they do not ^low with the full
inspiration, or display the thorough invention of genius, are
in good taste, and creditable both to the intellect and heart
of the author.

Far the greater part of these volumes is occupied with the
author's account of" A Tour through Italy and Switzerland,
in 1829," and with extracts from his " Journal of a Tour
through France, England, and Scotland, in 1828, 1829, and
1830 ; written between the twenty-third and twenty-sixth
year of his age, which last year he did not live to complete.

The extent of personal observation displayed in this itine-



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20 GriffMs Remains. [Jan.

rary are truly wonderful. The author's tour through Italy
and Switzerland commenced with January, 1829, from Lyons
over Mont Cenis, a summit of the western Alps, which
afibrded him an opportunity to display his graphic powers in
the description of Alpine scenery. The external beauties of
nature and art he every where muiutely traces. But arriving at
Genoa, some of the paintings of the great masters seized on his
attention ; and afterwards at Florence, he became so enchant-
ed by the great productions of wonderful artists, both painters
and statuaries, that, as he says, he could have lingered there
for years ; and it was with deep regret that he found himself
obliged to abandon for ever, this, as one of her own poets has
called her, " the great queen-city of Etruria."

When arrived at Rome, he took immediate cognizance of
whatever is most deserving of attention in the ancient city,
coming down also to recent times, and extending his excur-
sions to the most memorable places in the country around.
That he was a visitor well prepared for this classic ground is
made abundantly evident by the extreme facility with which
he called up and applied the history of poets and philoso-
phers, orators and warriors, and, in general, the remarkable
events and the whole local mythology of ancient Rome ; and
associated them with the places and material remains still
existing. So that while as an admirer both of natural scenery
and of exquisite works of art, he seems for a time to have
been wholly absorbed, and to have conversed only with him-
self, and then to have burst forth in exhaustless descriptions
of things, with which he became filled to overflowing ; yet
when he came to survey the ancient classic villas and places
of public or private resort, he held familiar converse with the
master-spirits of aces long since past, and seemed to be a
present witness of their splendor and glory. Indeed, he
appears to have been much more inclined to hold dialogues
with the mighty dead, than with the degenerate race of the
present age. And no one can peruse his travels, otherwise
80 remarkable for vivid description, without perceivinc the
almost total absence of casual conversation and anecdote ;
and how little comparatively of his thoughts were employed
to catch the living manners as they rise. Hence, probably
many readers will be wearied with his delineations ol scenery
and paintings, and statues, (picturesque and fresh and glow-
ing, as they generally are) from their very frequency, and



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1833.] Griffin's Remains. 31

often from their uninterrupted succession ; forming a kind of
picture gallery of such huge dimensions, that the eye is daz-
zled and confused, and pauses for recovery.

As an example of the author's quick and vivid recollec-
tions, and rapid associations of persons and events with places,
we quote the following, which happens to occur to us, and is
not singled out as among the most remarkable of the numer-
ous instances of a similar kind.

" The history of Padua ascends to a very remote antiquity.
According to Virgil, it was founded by Antenor and a Trojan
colony, one of those scattered bands of refugees, whom the

most celebrated of sieges had left alive Among her sons,

Padua boasts the historian Livy, whose ' Pativinitas/ it is well
known, adhered to him even amid the refinements of the capi-
tal, and throughout his long literary career ; and, in our own
age Belzoni, the enterprising explorer of the Nile. Among
her adopted children she ranks Petrarch, who was a canon of
her cathedral ; Galileo, who was a lecturer ; and Columbus, who
was a student of her university : thus claiming in part the
honors which belong to one of the chief revivers of letters, to
the author of the true science of the planets, and the discoverer
of one half of our own. I could not also but remember that
Padua, in common with many of the cities of the north of Italy,
had been illustrated by the genius of our own immortal Shak-
speare. It was here that he tamed his shrew, and taught a
fine though rude lesson to the fairer sex. How powerful is the
force of that man's genius ! I knew that he had never been in
Padua ; that the characters which he introduces had never per-
haps existed j and yet, such is the reality with which he de-
picts the events, the feelings, the personages of his drama, that
I found them recorded in my mind among the recollections of
history." Vol. ii. pp. 82, 83.

In his visits at some of the smaller cities, Mr. Griffin's
attention was excited more to an observation of the manners
and customs of 'the present generation. At Parma he wit-
nessed one of those scenes, which show the quick transition
of the common people, in Catholic countries, from the midst
of gayety to the outward acts of devotion.

" I saw their principal piazza crowded towards evening with
gay circles of the common people, listening in one place to one
of those extemporaneous poets, once so common, but now so
rare in Italy ; and in another, swarming round a conjurer,
who, with fantastic dress and apparatus spread upon the pave-



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SB Grifin's Renudtu. [Jan.

ment, was mystifying the open-moothed and astonished mob.
Here, a transparent wheel with a light within, and circulating
transparencies, exhibited in doubtful twilight its shadowy won-
ders, and there a dog with a monkey on his back capered
round his little arena. All were cheerful and amused as they
passed from one to another of these spectacles. As the bell
tolled for the Ave Maria, every hat was taken off, and every
hand put in motion to make the holy sign ; the improvisatore,
with a low reverence to his audience, broke off in the middle
of a stanza ; the conjurer gathered up his goods ; the wheel
ceased its evolutions ; even the dog, as he got rid of his trou-
blesome rider, seemed to recognise with joy the sacred hour of
prayer and repose." Vol. ii. pp. 98, 99.

The tour through Switzerland, as it consumed compara-
tively a small part of the author's time, occupies accordingly
« proportionably small space in its history. It is, however,
foil of lively descriptions of the varied scenery of that re-
markable country. We might fill many pages with selec-
tions from the delineations of natural beauty and grandeur, as
true we have no doubt in their aspect, and in their effect on
the beholder, as they are poetical in expression, when touched
by the rapid pencil of the delighted traveller whom we have
been following. These delineations every where occur in
the author's tour, both through Italy and Switzerland ;
whether inspired by mountain scenerv and glaciers, by vales,
rivers, and lakes ; by the splendor of noon-Say, or the softer
radiance of sunrise and sunset ; by the varied hues of the
-surrounding aiui overhanging expanse, or by the moonbeams
playing on the quiet waters.

The extracts from the Journal of a Tour through France,
England, and Scotland, contain passages descriptive of scene-
ry, public buildings, &c., and particularly of distinguished
persons in these countries. The following is a part of the
author's description of Cousin, and of one of his lectures :

" The lecturer on the present occasion [at the Sorbonnel,
M. Cousin, is a tall, thin man, about forty years of age. His
eyes are large and exceedingly expressive. He was dressed in
the ordinary habit of a gentleman ; and delivered his lecture
standing in an easy and dignified posture. Though his subject
was of an abstract nature, he spoke extempore with an unin-
terrupted fluency. His manner approached very nearly to one's
idea of inspiration. The whole man, head, eyes, hands, and
body, as well as voice, seemed to be engaged, and that too



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1833.] Onjm's Remains. fiS

without the least awkwardness or affectation, in the expression
of his ideas. If at any time he paused for a moment, you could
perceive by the glowing eye the thought burning within him,
and could almost anticipate its general nature from the uncon-
scious motions of his hands. He commenced his lecture with
some abstruse distinctions between religion and philosophy^
assigning in general, inspiration as the source of the one, and
reflection of the other. He next proceeded to assert that reli-
gion is properly the cradle of philosophy ; a fact which he
illustrated from the history of the East, of Egypt, and of Greece.
At length he came to Christianity, which he asserted to be the
last and best, the consummation of all religions, . . . and the

foundation of modern philosophy I nerer shall forget the

animated dignity with which he made profession of his own
belief in Christianity. Conscious that a majority of his brother
savans, and perhaps of his audience, in heart, if not openly,
would be inclined to sneer, and that his reputation as a phi*
losopher, and among philosophers, was at stake, he seemed to
erect his person and elevate his voice, and expand each glow-
ing feature, as if in noble defiance of expected obloquy. He
is accused by his enemies of a tendency to the exploded tenets
of Plato, which means in reality, I suppose, a tendency to the
spiritual and intellectual doctrines of revelation.'' Vol. ii. pp«
182, 183.

We are strongly tempted to quote several other passages
descriptive of persons connected with their active labors, in
France, England, and Scotland, but we must forbear.

The extracts from lectures on Roman, Italian, and Eng-
lish literature, (which lectures, if published entire, we are
told would fill an octavo volume of good size,) show with
what remarkable readiness Mr. Griffin could apply bis learn-
ing, and how much he could grasp in a very limited time.
These lectures were composed and delivered to a class in
Columbia College, New York, withyi the space of eight
weeks, immediately after his return from Europe, and during
the brief intervals of leisure which his general duties as an
instructor in that institution, and the congratulatory visits of
his numerous friends allowed him.

Whatever might be spared from these volumes, there
would still be left a great amount of entertaining and useful
knowledge. And no one can peruse them without deeply
regretting the premature death of such an accomplished
scholar and devout Christian.



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34 Early English Prose Writers. [Jan.

Art. V. — The Library of the Old English Prose Writers.
Vols. I. and II. Cambridge. Hilliard & Brown. 1831.
16mo. pp. 227 and 341.

The early English poets have been much more known to
general readers than the prose writers. While ihe former
have been published in collections more or less complete,
and many of them in separate and elegant forros^ recom-
mended too by the labor of critics in notes and corrections
of the text, and by extracts and biographical sketches, a con-
siderable part of the old prose was rarely to be found but in



Online LibraryJoseph Lyon MillerAmerican monthly review → online text (page 4 of 54)