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become necessary for the gownsmen of the classic peninsula to banish all profane learning from their lectures and their libraries, and to evince a holy abhorrence of the sciences and arts which they erst professed. The list of the class books now employed in the transalpine schools is exceedingly curious ; I regret that I have mislaid the one lately supplied tome by an illustrious Italian exile. My memory recalls to me only that in the school of rhetoric, the orations of Cicero are superseded by those of the Marquis of Londonderry, and the philippics of Demosthenes by those of M. de Peyronnet; that the professors of history have banished the decades of Livy for the martyrs of Mons de Chateaubriand; and that the students of Greek, in place of the Odes of Pindar, and the retreat of the ten thousand from Cunaxa, construe the hexameters of the English Laureate, and the advance of Louis the XVIII. upon Ghent. In this state of the Italian world of letters, it is not surprising that the scholar, to whose perseverance, ingenuity, and learning the public are indebted for the following fragment, should object to lay claim to the honour which is his due.”
Theon, a young Corinthian, had been sent to Athens to study philosophy. His friendship for Cleanthes, and the majestic eloquence of Zeno, had attached him to the doctrine of the Porch. From the misrepresentations of Timocrates, an unworthy pupil of Epicurus, banished from the Garden for his immodest conduct, Theon had imbibed, in common with the other disciples of Zeno, a horror and aversion for the principles and practice of the sage of Gargetium and bis followers., Full of these impressions, he was seated one evening on the banks of the Cephisus, when his reverie was broken by the appearance of a stranger.
“ The shape, the attitude, the foldings of the garment, were such as the chisel of Phidias would have given to the God of Elocution. The head accorded with the rest of the figure; it sat upon the shoulders with a grace that a painter would have paused to contemplate-elevated, yet somewhat inclining forward, as if habituated gently to seek and benevolently to yield attention. The face a poet would have gazed upon, and thought he beheld in it one of the images of his fancy embodied. The features were not cast for the statuary; they were noble but not regular. Wisdom beamed mildly from the eye, and candour was on the broad forehead: the mouth reposed in a soft, almost imperceptible smile, that did not curl the lips or disturb the cheeks, and was seen only in the serene and holy benignity that shone over the whole physiognomy : It was a gleam of sunshine sleeping on a lucid lake. The first lines of age were traced on the brow and round the chin, but so gently as to mellow rather than deepen expression: the hair indeed seemed prematurely touched by time, for it was of a pure silver, thrown back from the forehead, and fringing the throat behind with short curls."
This was Epicurus. He did not, however, announce himself, until the youth had followed him to his own dwelling, the temple, as his imagination heated by the gross falsehoods of Timocrates had painted it, of abominable and disgusting orgies. Very different, however, was the scene which presented itself to the hesitating Corinthian. Good humour, intellectual animation, and affection for their master, character
ized the disciples of Epicurus. Temperance presided at their cheerful repast; while wisdom without austerity, and mirth chastised by modest decorum, protracted the feast of reason. Two females are described.
“Beside one of the lamps, a female figure was reclining on a couch, reading with earnest study from a book that lay upon her knee. Her head was so much bowed forward as to conceal her face, besides that it was shadowed by her hand, which, the elbow supported on an arm of the couch, was spread above her brows as a relief from the glare of the light.
" The student was still intent upon the scroll over which she hung, when the sage advanced towards her, and laying a finger on her shoulder, “What read you, my daughter?” She dropt her band, and looked up in his face. What a countenance was then revealed! It was not the beau. ty of blooming blushing youth, courting love and desire: it was the selfpossessed dignity of ripened womanhood, and the noble majesty of mind, that asked respect and promised delight and instruction. The features were not those of Venus, but Minerva. The eyes looked deep and steady from beneath two even brows, that sense, not years, had slightly knit in the centre of the forehead, which else was uniformly smooth and polished as marble. The nose was rather Roman than Grecian, yet perfectly regular, and though not masculine, would have been severe in expression, but for a mouth where all that was lovely and graceful habited. The chin was elegantly rounded, and turned in the Greek manner. The colour of the cheeks was of the softest and palest rose, so pale, indeed, as scarcely to be discernible until deepened by emotion. It was so at this moment : startled by the address of the sage, a bright flush passed over her face. She rolled up the book, dropt it on the couch, and rose."
This was Leontium ; she whom Timocrates had described as a licentious, profligate minister to the infamous purposes of a teacher of vice. A few hours' intercourse with the pupils of the garden and their illustrious master dispelled the illusion by which the young stoic had been inflamed against them. He has the courage, even in the Portico, and in the awful presence of Zeno, to vindicate the character and doctrines of the much abused Gargetian. We can only give, in our ex, tracts, the portrait of the stoic philosopher.
"At this moment the circle behind him gave way, and Zeno advanced into the midst: he stood by the head and shoulders above the crowd: his breast, broad and manly: his limbs, cast in strength and symmetry: his gait, erect, calm, and dignified : his features, large, grand, and regular, seemed sculptured by the chisel for a colossal divinity: the forehead, broad and serene, was marked with the even lines of wisdom and age; but no harsh wrinkles, nor playing muscles disturbed the repose of his cheeks, nor had sixty years touched with one thread of silver his close black hair : the eyes, dark and full, fringed with long strait lashes, looked in severe and steady wisdom from under their correct and finely arched brows: the nose came from the forehead, strait and even: the mouth and chin, were firm and silent. Wisdom undisturbable, fortitude unshakeable, self-respect, self-possession, and self-knowledge perfected, were in his face, his carriage, and his tread.”
We are also introduced to Cleanthes, the pupil and success sor of Zeno, and Metrodorus the follower of Epicurus; names
well known in the annals of ancient philosophy. Our limits, however, do not admit of more copious extracts from the descriptive parts of this work. We can only select a few of the sentiments put in the mouth of Epicurus, as fairly illustrating some of the doctrines of that philosopher, according to the most rational accounts transmitted to us by his disciples.
“Epicurus stood in the midst of his expectant scholars. • My sons,' he said, “why do you enter the garden? Is it to seek happiness, or to seek virtue and knowledge ?- Attend, and I will show you that in finding one, you shall find the three. To be happy, we must be virtuous; and when we are virtuous, we are wise. Let us then begin: and first, let us for a while hush our passions into slumbers, forget our prejudices, and cast away our vanity and our pride. Thus patient and modest, let us come to the feet of Philosophy; let us say to her, · Behold us, scholars and children, gifted by nature with faculties, affections, and passions. Teach us their use, and their guidance. Show us how to turn them to account--how best to make them conduce to our ease, and minister to our enjoyment,'
“Sons of earth,' says the Deity, ‘you have spoken wisely ; you feel that you are gifted by nature with faculties, affections, and passions; and you perceive that on the right exertion and direction of these depends your well-being. It does so. Your affections both of soul and body may be shortly reduced to two, pleasure and pain; the one troublesome, and the other agreeable. It is natural and befitting, therefore, that you shun pain, and desire and follow after pleasure. Set forth then on the pursuit; but ere you start, be sure that it is in the right road, and that
have your eye on the true object. Perfect pleasure, wbich is happiness, you will have attained when you have brought your bodies and souls into a state of satisfied tranquillity. To arrive at this, much previous exertion is requisite ; yet exertion, not violent, only constant and even. And first, the body, with its passions and appetites, demands gratification and indulgence But beware! for here are the hidden rocks which may shipwreck your bark on its passage, and shut you out for ever from the haven of repose. Provide yourselves then with a skilled pilot, who may steer you through the Scylla and Charybdis of your carnal affections, and point the steady helm through the deep waters of your passions. Behold her! It is Prudence, the mother of the virtues, and the handinaid of wisdom. Ask, and she will tell you, that gratification will give new edge to the hunger of your appetites, and that the storm of the passions shall kindle with indulgence. Ask, and she will tell you, that sensual pleasure is pain covered with the mask of happiness. Behold she strips it from her face, and reveals the features of disease, disquietude, and remorse. Ask, and she will tell you, that happiness is not found in tumult, but tranquillity; and that, not the tranquillity of indolence and inaction, but of a healthy contentment of soul and body. Ask, and she will tell you, that a happy life is like neither to a roaring torrent, nor a stagnant pool, but to a placid and crystal stream, that flows gently and silently along. And now Prudence shall bring to you the lovely train of the virtues. Temperance, throwing a bridle on your desires, shall gradually subdue and annihilate those whose present indulgence would only bring future evil; and others more necessary and more innocent, she shall yet bring down to such becoming moderation, as shall prevent all disquiet to the soul, and injury to the body. Fortitude shall strengthen you to bear those diseases which even temperance may not be efficient to prevent; those afflictions which fate may level at you; those persecutions which the folly or malice of man may invent. It shall fit you to bear
all things, to conquer fear, and to meet death. Justice shall give you security among your fellows, and satisfaction in your own breasts. Generosity shall endear you to others, and sweeten your own nature to yourselves. Gentleness shall take the sting from the malice of your enemies, and make you extract double sweet from the kindness of friends. Gratitude shall lighten the burden of obligation, or render it even pleasant to bear. Friendship shall put the crown on your security and your joy. With these, and yet more virtues, shall prudence surround you. And thus attended, hold on your course in confidence, and moor your barks in the haven of repose.???
We are not aware that any second part of this work has been published. The present volume purports to be unfinished. That part of the Epicurean philosophy is alone dwelt upon and illustrated, which teaches that virtue is to be cultivated, as it is in fact identified with pleasure; and that as, by the instinct of our nature, we seek pleasure and shun pain, the business of philosophy is to direct our aspirations and controul our appetites to the attainment of that happiness, which is the only good. The speculations which the author ascribes to Epicurus and his disciples are among the most rational and noble, though not the most ingenious, which are to be found in the tenets of their sect. The half hour consumed in the
perusal of “a few days in Athens,” introduces us to the exhibition of the human mind, unenlightened by revelation, arriving at the highest conclusions it can reach, from arguments of mere convenience as to the result of an action, or a priori reasonings on human nature, which do not embrace the duties of man as a responsible agent.
As such only, we doubt not, this sketch was intended; and as such, it is highly interesting, without reference to the beauty of the narrative, or fine colouring of the descriptive scenes. To any one sensibly impressed with the divine origin and effects of Christianity, a review of the theories of the ancient philosophers, however ingenious, beautiful and sublime some of their reveries may appear, can terminate only in melancholy regret for the wasted energies of powerful intellects, and the dreary void in which all their investigations ended. It is a mournful reflection, that for seven centuries, 'Athens, the eye of Greece,' and the intellectual light of the world, advanced not a step in the discovery of truth; but contentedly inculcated the dogmas of philosophers, who, however they differed in every other particular, agreed in rejecting a future state of rewards and punishments, as not essential to their system of morals; who allowed, and sometimes commended suicide; who held that men might rival the gods in happiness; and referred the merit of
action to a doubtful result or a selfish motive. It is humiliating to the pride of hu
man reason, to remember that the wise and brave and eloquent men of Rome, whose policy subdued and half civilized the world, when debating on the origin, capabilities and destiny of that immortal principle within them, by whose energy their ownfame and the power of their empire were established, were soon lost in visionary conjectures or utter darkness. With no sanction for morals, no hope beyond the grave, the great and good and · learned of the Pagan world might have been instructed by a little child who had been taught the simple truths of revelation ; as the great founder of our faith and author of our hope instructed, when a beardless stripling, the hoary members of the Sanhedrim, and the doctors of the Jewish law.
Letters from the South and West; by Arthur Singleton, Esq.
Boston. Richardson & Lord. 1824. pp. 159. 8vo.
This is an amazing production! And we would recommend that the same be abridged, by some man of letters, for the use of schools; and published under the title of “ The Bundle of Truths Improved,” with the motto of
“ The City-Hall cost very dear,
And six-pence buys a pint of beer.” The "work” consists of six letters; the first from Philadelphia, the second from Washington City, the third from Virgi-, nia, the fourth from Kentucky, the fifth from
New-Orleans, and the sixth and last from the Gulf of Mexico. The reader must not suppose from this, that the author confines himself to the desoription of the places whence he dates his letters; for, in the first, he gives us as much information about Wales (or perhaps more) than he does about Philadelphia; and, moreover, adds a very“ bathetic” description of a Chinese mandarin. In the second, he dives into, and unfolds to his readers, the secret thoughts of the President, as he stands upon Capitol Hill “casting his thoughts northward, and southward, and westward, over our vast and free continent, and reflecting that he is the chosen monarch of all he surveys, and whose right there is none to dispute ;” and, morever, as he “views the opening canal, from the chain of the northern lakes, to the head waters of the western rivers.”__“He beholds,” adds Arthur S. Esq. “ in the clear surrounding distance, the intelligent yeomen and dauntless mariners of the East, the slave-lording nabobs of the South, and the pioneering colonists of the West.” All this, Vol. I. No. .