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Provinces, and on the successful encouragement given by them both to European, and to African emigrants; the narratives concerning these two countries will enable us to comprehend the circumstances of the Assyrian empire, and will reflect a lustre upon the infancy of the world : “ For similar events (I copy the words of Sir W. Jones), happened within the limits of Iran, or Upper Asia. Now though most of the Mosaic names, the Euphrates excepted, have been considerably altered, yet numbers remain unchanged; we still find Harran in Mesopotamia, and travellers appear unanimous in fixing the site of ancient Babylon.” “In the 10th chapter of Genesis, (adds the second scholar, and luminary of our age, Dr. Watson, in his « Apology for the Bible,”) we enjoy the most valuable, and the most venerable, record of antiquity. It unites with the pagan historians, in detailing the origin of empires : it gives so probable an account of the peopling of the earth, that all the other books in the world, which contain any thing on the subject, confirm its truth; it is the oldest book extant; and it
; is remarkable, that those books, which come the nearest to it in age, as the Vedas and Historical Poems of India, the Zend of the Magi, the Greek translations from Chaldee, Persian, Punic, and Egyptian Annalists, with the Greek Historians, and their Antiquarian Poets, are those authors which make the most distinct mention of, or the most evident allusion to, the genealogical history of our race recorded in Genesis.
In the last verse of the 10th chapter, it concludes, that these were the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations; and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.' It requires great learning, indeed, to trace out precisely, either the actual situation of all the countries, in which these founders of empires settled, or to ascertain the extent of their dominions. This, however, has been done in the annals of many nations by the above-named authors; it may be done in other instances. And even without the aid of learning, any man who can barely read his Bible, and has but heard of such people as the Assyrians, the Elamites, the Lydians, the Medes, the Ionians, the Thraces, will readily own they had Assyr, and Elam, and Lud, and Madai, 'and Javan, and Tiras ; grandsons of Noah, for their respective founders.”
It is, indeed, a high satisfaction to the religious Christian, at so vast a distance of time, amid all the changes of languages, and the alteration of names introduced by colonies, and by conquest, to track the footsteps of the primitive tribes recorded by Moses, and confirmed by the Sanscrit authors, who wrote 2000 years before Christ; to detect the ancient nations, who thus descended from the first of men, and with some application to the Oriental, Sanscrit, and Classic Geographers, to ascertain both the first regions which they inhabited, and those to which they successively migrated. A series of maps of the same countries might easily be printed, and no other alteration would be required to be made, than in the second chart to place the roving and emigrated tribe in a site more northerly, and at a date more modern than in the first ; and the dullest observer would march, in imagination, with the marching horde, or the national travelling caravan; and such charts would be founded on the most credible documents, for all the marks of antiquity are not over-grown and defaced : Babylon, though in ruins, retains the sound of Babel ; and its bricks, yet engraven, as in the days of Herodotus, with national letters and words, designate its true place. The old inscriptions behind the horse of the Hero Rustam, who figures in the epic poem of the Shah Nameh, are still visible, are lately translated, and exalt the name of the Magi. Sidon, a city in Palestine, yet bears the appellative of the Son of Canaan : the Medes and Elamites, or Syrians, as I said above, and Cappadocians, or whiter-complexioned Syrians, the Cuthites, or dark-hued Ethiopians, still preserve from oblivion the Mosaic names of Madai, Elam, Cush, their revered progenitors. The ships of Tarshish conveyed to the farthest East, and West, and South, the record of Tarshish, its founder: and Egypt, proud of her antiquity, reserves to this hour in the tongue of the Arabs the denomination of her father Misraim.
And thus, although the dissolving nature of successive ages has changed the titles of some early settlements, and early kingdoms, yet in the most considerable and populous portions of the globe, in the North of Africa, in Europe and Asia, the honorable achievements of the first settlers are not left without a memorial, nor their virtues without a record! [To be referred to in a second Essay of 10 numerals in 200 tongues.]
OXFORD PRIZE ESSAY.
DÆDALA SIGNA POLIRE.
The imitative arts, collectively considered, have been the subject of much and very abstracted speculation; in which both the nature of their connexion with the human mind, and the various modes of their operations on it, have been analysed with accuracy and penetration. A truly elegant and classical writer of the present age has prosecuted his inquiry on this point with that judicious refinement and perspicuity, long esteemed his invariable and almost peculiar characteristic. Such a disquisition, however, as being too comprehensive, and not applicable to that art, solely and individually considered, of which we now treat, may, perhaps, not unjustly be deemed rather foreign to our purpose. It will probably be sufficient, if taking up the art in its most infant state, we pursue it through each successive stage of improvement, decline, or revival, mark their different eras, and endeavour to develop their secret springs and causes.
Whether Sculpture was in its first origin the mere fortuitous result of that imitative propensity ever active in the human mind, or whether it was intentionally and professedly devised with a view to any determinate end, is a very dark and disputable point. Whichever was the case, this at least is certain, that a more particular knowledge of its use and application quickly succeeded its invention. The circumscribed capacity of early unenlightened ages, not easily admitting pure and abstracted conceptions, made sensible representations first necessary to fix and concentre their ideas. A supreme spiritual invisible intelligence being infinitely beyond the reach of vulgar apprehension, was under the necessity of being shadowed out to their senses
through the medium of some more obvious and familiar imagery. The attributes of this intelligence, power, justice, mercy, or goodness, distinctly considered, were separately personified, and converted into objects of sense. The various passions and affections of humanity, joy, sorrow, love, hatred, fear, and revenge, were in like manner embodied and clothed with material shape and form. To this it may be added, that the first civilisers of mankind, or inventors of useful arts, were in that rude state of nature. beheld with a distant reverence, 'nearly allied to adoration. The advantages resulting to society by their discoveries and institutions seemed so perfectly consonant to the idea of a superior existence, that the grateful simplicity of their admirers readily subscribed to their deification. This system, then, of Mythology, this state of Polytheism, were, as it seems, more particularly favorable to the introduction of Sculptors and Painters, whose works alone could furnish sensible representations, and thus determine the object of devotion. The want, perhaps, of their earlier assistance had before that time directed the indiscriminate worship of mankind, not only to animals, but to inanimate substances, and even rude unorganised matter. Dædalus, by the concurrent evidence of history, after the deluge had involved in one indiscriminate ruin all arts, whether elegant or useful, however imperfect, or however improved, first attempted their revival. His achievements, now thickly veiled in a mist of fable and antiquity, seem marvellous and incredible, as distant objects, when beheld through any dense medium, will generally assume an extravagant and unnatural magnitude; but though part of the excessive admiration he acquired might probably originate in the fond ignorance of his admirers, he must still, in the strictest justice, be esteemed the Founder of the Athenian school. Till his appearance, the Grecian statues, formed on the Egyptian model, were mere shapeless stocks, their eyes closed, their arms hanging down, as if glued to the body, and their feet joined, without life, attitude, or gesture. Dedalus gave them eyes, hands, and feet; and into these stiff motionless trunks infused some spark of life and animation. From these feeble beginnings his disciples gradually improving, slowly acquired some superior. degree of excellence. The exact progress, however, of this art can be out indistinctly traced from its first dawnings, till that period when it at last shone out in meridian splendor. When Phidias, Scopas, Lysippus, and Praxiteles with a multitude of lesser names, descending from their great father and founder in a kind of illustrious filiation, added dignity, elegance, and character, it was now no longer the irt: criminate admiration of a rude age, where novelty alone might constitute merit, but the judicious and deliberate approbation of a refined and learned people, accustomed to the great and beautiful, and who, though enthusiastic in their admiration, were still critically chaste in their previous judgment. These great masters, with a daring flight peculiar to elevated genius, struck out of the beaten track; judging that nature rarely centred perfection in any individual object, they framed an ideal beauty of their own. By a happy analysis resolving grace and dignity into their first principles, they judiciously selected those component parts best adapted to form a complete whole, a perfect idea. Thus, by a delicate combination, drawing to a single point the scattered excellencies of nature, they embodied their sublime conceptions in those noble works, of which some few still subsist, as matchless patterns of the most exquisite symmetry, elegance, and grandeur. Though time has robbed us of too many proofs of their indescribable excellence, it has not diminished the force of those that remain. With what ideas are we instantaneously struck by the mingled grace and dignity, the divine expression of the Apollo Belvidere ! With what rapturous sensations are we even at this day affected by the delicate grace and unaffected simplicity of the Medicean Venus ! by the exact proportions and energetic simplicity of the Niobe or Laocoön! Among the various causes of this acknowledged perfection, the following may perhaps claim no inconsiderable rank. In those ages, simplicity of manners co-operating with a happy temperature of air, rendered superfluous much of that heavy drapery, those voluminous folds, with which the inhabitants of more Northern skies are by necessity encumbered. The Grecian artists studied nature in her most full and free exertions, in her most varied forms and attitudes. The youth, by frequent preparation of their bodies with bathing and unction, and perpetually engaged in gymnastic exercises,