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&c. which are considered as characteriftic of the Goths. From the worship of Tuisto, Mannus, Herthus, (probably the sun, moon, and earth,) scarcely any thing can be inferred : even the Incas of Peru acknowleged these for ancestors. The local knowlege of Tacitus is likewise questionable ; modern commentators being nearly agreed that the authority of Pliny, his learned predeceffor, in all geographical points, is much more ftrongly corroborated by external testimony. These topics have lately been much agitated, but have received no elucidation from the notes of Mr. Murphy, which appear to us somewhat “ behind-hand" in point of information. Mr. M. places great reliance on the Northern Antiquities, -certainly a very curious book, but which contains only the more modern Edda, To seek for information in that work concerning the religion of the Germans during the age of Tacitus, is like searching for, primitive christianity in the Golden Legend.-In the note to the 43d fe&tion, Mr. Murphy sanctions, in some measure, the opinion of Keysler that the brothers Alcis, worshipped by the Naharvalians, were the difs or Elves. Surely there is more probability in the other opinion, that they were the fun and moon; which, it may be inferred from the older Edda, were praised in hymns by the name Alskir. (See Alv. 16. 6.) Ic were an endless talk to go through the several mythological and topographical objections to which different passages are liable.
The Life of Agricola is a model of solemn biography, which has long been familiar among us: it wants the interest of Plu. tarch's familiar details, but is, to a hero, the more agreeable way of being described. This piece again is annotated rather copiously than completely.
The Dialogue concerning Oratory concludes the collection, However interesting, it is remarkable for a dilatation of thought which is not at all apparent in any other works of Tacitus. The scope of the piece may be illustrated by extracting a short paragraph:
· Need I observe to you, that in all I have said, I have not been speaking of that temperate faculty which delights in quiet times, supported by its own integrity, and the virtues of moderation : I speak of popular eloquence, the genuine offspring of that licentiousneis, to which fools and ill-designing men have given the name of liberty : I speak of bold and turbulent oratory, that inflamer of the people, and conftant companion of fedition ; that fierce incendiary, that knows no compliance, and scorns to temporise; busy, rash, and arrogant, but in-quiet and well-regulated governments utterly unknown. Who ever heard of an orator at Crete or Lacedæmons. In those states a syfem of rigorous discipline was eltablished by the firft principles of' the constitution. Macedonian and Perfian eloquence are equally un
known. The same may be said of every country, where the plan of government was fixed and uniform.
• At Rhodes, indeed, and also at Athens, orators existed without number, and the reafon is, in those communities the people directed every thing; a giddy multitude gorerned, and, to say the truth, alt things were in the power of all. In like manner, while Rome was engaged in one perpetual scene of contention ; while parties, faca tions, and internal divisions convulsed the state ; no peace in the fo. rum, in the senate, no union of sentiment ; while the tribunals of jur. tice acted without moderation; while the magistrates knew no bounds, and no man paid respect to eminent merit ; in such times it must be acknowleged that Rome produced a race of noble orators ; as in the wild uncultivated field the richest vegetables will often shoot up, and Aourish with uncommon vigour. And yet it is fair to ak, could all the eloquence of the Gracchi atone for the laws which they imposed on their country? Could the fame, which Cicero obtained by his eloquence, compensate for the tragic end to which it brought him?"
Mr. M.'s commentary contains many interefting particulars of the Roman school of oratory :--by way of specimen, we shall insert the note concerning Seneca, as it attacks a fault with respect to taste, which is spreading in England.
• This charge (of affe&tation) against Seneca is by no means new, Quintilian was his contemporary ; he law, and heard the man, and, in less than twenty years after his death, pronounced judgment againt him. In the conclusion of the first chapter of his tenth book, after having given an account of the Greek and Roman authors, he says, he relerved Seneca for the last place, because, having always endcavoured to counteract the influence of a bad taste, he was supposed to be influenced by motives of personal enmity. But the case was other: wise. He saw that Seneca was the favourite of the times, and, to check the torrent that threatened the ruin of all true eloquence, he exerted his best efforts to diffuse a founder judgment. He did not with that Seneca should be laid aside ; but he could not, in filence, fee him preferred to the writers of the Augustan age, whom that writer endeavoured to depreciate, conscious that, having chosen a different style, he could not hope to please the tafte of those who were charmed with the authors of a former day. But Seneca was still in fashion ; his partisans continued to admire, though it cannos be said that they imitated him. He fell sort of the ancients, and they were still more beneath their model. Since they were content to copy, it were to be wished that they had been able to vie with him. He pleased by his defects, and the herd of imitators chose the worst.
They acquired a vicious manner, and fiattered themselves that they resembled their master. But the truth is, they disgraced him. Seneca, it must be allowed, had many great and excellent qualities; a lively imagination ; valt erudition, and extensive knowledge. He
frequently employed others to make researches for him, and was often deceived. He embraced all subjects; in his philosophy, not always profound, but a kecn censor of the manners, and on moral subjects truly admirable. He has brilliant passages, and beautiful
fentiments ; but the expression is in a false taste, the more dangerous, as he abounds with delightful vices. You would have wilhed, that he had written with his own imagination, and the judgment of others. To sum up his character : had he known how to rate little things ; had he been above the petty ambition of always thining ; had he not been fond of himself; had he not weakened his force by minute and dazzling sentences, he would have gained, not the admiration of boys, but the fuffrage of the judicious. At present, he may be read with Safety by those, who have made acquaintance with better inodels. His works afford the faireít opportunity of diftinguishing the beauties of fine writing from their opposite vices. He has much to be approved, and even admired : but a just selection is necessary, and it is to be regretted that he did not choose for himself. Such was the judgment of Quintilian: the learned reader will, perhaps, be glad to have the whole passage in the author's words, rather than be referred to another book. Ex induftrié Senecam, in omni genere eloquentia verfatum, diftuli, propter vulgatam falfo de me opinionem, qua damnare eum, et invifum quoque babere fum credituse Quod accidit mibi, dum corruprum, et omnibus vitiis fractum dicendi genus revocare ad leveri. sa judicia contendo. Tum autem folus hic fere in manibus adolescentium fuit. Quem non equidem omnino conabar excutere, fed potioribus præferre son finebam, quos ille non deftiterat inceffere, cum, diversi fibi confcius generis, placere fe in dicendo polje iis quibus illi placerent, di fideret. Ainabant autem eum magis, quàm imitabantur ; tantumque ab illo defluebant, quantum ille ab antiquis descer.derat. Foret enim optandum, pares, and faltem proximos, illi viro fieri. Sed placebat propter fola vitia, , et ad ea Je quisque dirigebat effingenda, quæ poterat. Deinde cum se jałtaret ecdem brodo dicere, Senecam infamabat. Cujus & multæ alioqui et magna virtutes fuerunt ; ingenium facile et copiofum ; plurimum fludii; et multarum rerum cognitio, in quâ tamen cliquando ab iis, quibus inquirenda quædam mandabat, deceptus eft. Tractavit etiam omnem ferè Audiorum materiam; in philofopbia parum diligens, egregius tamen vitiorum infeftator. Multe in io claræque fententiæ; multa etiam morum gratid legenda; fed in eloquendo corrupta pleraque, alque eo perniciofisima, quod abundat dulcibius vitiis. Velles eum fuo ingenio dixijë, aliena judicio. Nam fi aliqua contempliffet; fi parum concupisset, fi non omnia fua amasset ; fa rerum pondera minutiffimis fententiis non fregiljet, consensu potius eruditorum, quàm puerdrum amore comprobaretur. L'erum fic quoque jam robuftis, et fevcricre genere fatis firmatis, legendus, vel ideo, quod exercere poteft utrimque judis
cium. Multa enim (ut dixi) probanda in eo, multa etiam admiranda funt; eligere modo cure fit, quod utinam ipfe feciffet. Quintil. lib. x. cap. 1. From this it is evident, that Seneca, even in the meridian of his fame and power, was considered as the grand corruptor of eloquence. The charge is, therefore, renewed in this Dialogue, with. Ärict propriety. Rollin, who had nourished bis mind with ancient literature, and was, in his time, the Quintilian of France, has given the same opinion of Scneca, who, he says, knew how to play the critic on the works of others, and to condemn the strained metaphor, the forced conceit, the tinsel sentence, and all the blemishes of a corrupt style, without defiring to weed them out of his own productions. In a letter to his friend, Seneca admits a general depravity of taste, and with great acuteness, and, indeed, elegance, traces it to its source, to the luxury and effeminate manners of the age :
compares the forid orators of his time to a set of young fops, well powdered and perfumed, just ifluing from their toilette : Barbâ et coma nitidos, de capsulâ totos; he adds, that such affected finery is not the true orita ment of a man. Non eft ornamentum virile, concinnitas. And yet, says Rollin, he did not know that he was sitting to himself for the picture. He aimed for ever at fomething new, far fetched, ingenious, and pointed. He preferred wit to truth and dignified fimplicity. The marvellous was with him better than the natural; and he chose to surprise and dazzle, rather than merit th: approbation of fober judgment. His talents placed him at the head of the fafhion, and with those enchanting vices which Quintilian ascribes to him, he was, no doubt, the person who contributed most to the corruption of taste and eloquence. See Rollin's Belles Lettres, vol. i. jir le Gout. Another eminent critic, L'ABBE GEDOYN, who has given an elegant translatioa of Quintilian, has, in the preface to that work, enfered fully into the question concerning the decline of eloquence. He admits that Seneca did great milchiet, but he takes the matter up much higher. He traces it to Ovid, and imputes the taste for wit and fpurious ornament, which prevailed under the emperors, to the false, but seducing charms of that celebrated poet. Ovid was, un doubtedly, the greatet wit of his time ; but his wit knew no bounds. His fault was exuberance. Nescivit quod bene ceifit relinquere, says Seneca, who had himself the same defect. Whatever is Ovid's sub. jeet, the redundance of a copious fancy fill appears. Does he bewail his own misfortunes ? he seems to think that, unless he is witty, he cannot be an object of compassion. Does he write letters to and from disappointed lovers ? the greatest part flows from fancy, and little from the heart. He gives us the brilliant for the pathetic. With these faults, Ovid had such enchanting graces, that his style and manner infected every branch of literature. The tribe of imi. Lators had not the genius of their master; but, being determined to thine in spite of nature, they ruined all true taste and eloquence. This is the natural progress of imitation, and Seneca was well aware of it. He tells us that the faults and blemishes of a corrupt Style are ever introduced by some superior genius, who has risen to eminence in bad writing : his admirers imitate a vicious manner, and thus a false taste goes round from one to another. Hæe vitia unus aliquis inducit, jub quo tunc eloquentia eft : cæteri imitantur ; et alter alteri tradunt. Epift. 114. Seneca, however, did not know that he was defcribing himself.' Tacitus fays, he had a genius fuited to the taste of
Ingenium amænum et temporis ejus auribus accorrmodatum. He adopted the faults of Oxid, and was able to propagate them. For these reasons, the Abbé Gedoyn is of opinion, that Ovid began the mischief, and Seneca laid the axe to the root of the tree. It is certain that, during the remaining period of the en pire, true eioquence never revived.'
On the whole, we think that Mr. Murphy has deposited a very valuable offering on the altar of public inftrudion; the
produce, no doubt, of many years of industry. Passages may be found which will seem to have been rendered indolently or verbosely : but who can long and incessantly labour with unvarying zeal, and with unremitting ardour of attention?
Art. XV. Sketches of the Origin, Progress, and Effects of Music,
with an Account of the antient Bards and Minstrels. Illustrated with various Historical Facts, interesting Anecdotes, and Poetical Quotations. By the Rev. Richard Eastcott, of Exeter, 8vo. pp. 277. 55. Boards. Robinsons. 1793., This entertaining
compilation seems to be the work of an enthusiastic admirer not only of the art of music but also of its professors. The author's candour, and disposition to be pleased, are very uncommon : fince there are more musical, perhaps, than religious fects, and there are very few writers' on the art who do not manifestly lean toward a favourite and exclusive style of composition and performance : but this gentleman steers clear of all fidlmg quarrels ,and musical factions, seeking and relating nothing which does not reflect honour on his favourite art and its votaries.
In the preface, we are told that,
• The author of the following Sketches has availed himself of those common sources of information which lie open to every reader. For many years he has been in the habit of mixing with musical people, both professors and amateurs, and has attended the most celebrated mafical festivals in London and other large cities: these opportunities furnilhed him with much information, and the reflections which naturally fucceeded, excited in him a strong desire to search into the origin, progress, and effects, of an art which appears to command the parfions in an eminent degree, and to communicate fo much delight to mankind.'
Mr. E. seems to be as well acquainted with the present state of music, particularly in this country, as he is sedulously defirous of doing justice to the abilities and talents of living distinguished professors.
Having liberally availed himself of Dr. Burncy's researches relative to the history, progress, and effects, of antient music in those parts of the world which were first civilized, he has given, in a note, at the end of the preface, a very just eloge on that celebrated musical historian.
Chep. I. treats of the state of music ainong the Egyptians, He. brews, Greeks, Romans, &c. with some cursory remarks on other arts and sciences.
What the author here cites from Goguet's Origin of Laws, concerning the Phyficians of antient Egypt, is so curious and little known, that we shall present it to our readers :