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and barbarous in the style, because Phædrus was a Thracian Terence, it is well known, was an African; Theophrastus was thought to betray his provincial origin because he wrote Attic too well; and modern Europe has had Frenchmen and Englishmen who wrote the language of their neighbouring countries as felicitously as their own, Motteux is an instance of the one, and Captain Townley (the French translator of Hudibras) of the other. But we ask the question about Phædrus's authenticity, because it appears to us, that if he was really an ancient, he fell into obscurity for want of genius; which would account for the apparently, strange fact, that Seneca never heard of him. It is observable throughout his book, whoever he was, that he entertained an overweening sense of his merits, and had a great many opponents who held him in little esteem. See particularly the Epilogue of the Second Book, the, Prologue to the Third, the sixth fable of Book the Fourth, fable seyentieth of the same book, and the Prologue to the Fifth. The everlasting necessity under which he felt himself of defending his pretensions diminishes, at all events, the sense of immodesty in a modern objector, and shows that we had ancients on our side.
To conclude this unwilling subject, into which we have been led by what appears to us an extravagant panegyric, we are of opinion that Phædrus was really what he seems to be in his work,-namely, a dull author, of high pretensions, in the Augustan age; and that he furnishes a singular instance of such an author's being dug up out of obscurity, and obtaining an admiration he never got: before, purely because he happened to write not inelegantly, in a language consecrated by time and disuse
We are led, however, into another ungracious reflection, though it is accompanied with double admiration of the people with whom it is contrasted; and that is, that we never have occasion to see the Greek and Roman genius together, but we are compelled to lessen our respect for the one in a double portion of delight at its original. Here is Phædrus overvaluing himself in comparison with Æsop. It is true that there is a doubt whether Æsop himself was an original; but, at all events, he affects, nothing. He is simple and sapient, and does not spoil the wisdom he utters, whether his own or another man’s. Pilpay would not have been ashamed of him. We cannot say thạt. Æsop would not have been ashamed of Phædrus. One of the things that vex us with the Roman poets is, that they give themselves a sort of air of patronage with regard to the Greeks, and seem to think they do them honour by imitating them; sometimes without a syllable of acknowledgment. There is nothing to show for Virgil's ever having mentioned Homer; and yet without Homer, it is doubtful whether he would have written a, line of epic poetry, especially aş he owns that his chief inclination did not: lie towards poetry. By the way, Virgil speaks of nobody else, ancient or contemporaneous, except court poets and “ great men,” Gallus, Varus, &c. It is the same with Horace, who does not appear to have noticed a single name that was not in good receipt at the court of his, quondam enemy, though he is more ingenuous, in acknowledging the merits of the Greek :writers, and boasts of having introduced their metres. Query, -how much would be left of his origis nality, or even of Catullus's, if we possessed the writings of Algens
and others, in whose few remaining fragments we find wholesale passages of those Latins ? Cæsar called Terence a “ half-Menander," and there is reason to suspect that the half was not the better half, that it was the elegance with out the wit. But we need not multiply examples. It is acknowledged that the Latin genius was but a reflection of the Greek, and a cold one; a moon looking upon a city of stone and steel.
By nothing, in our reading oilate years, has this truth been more strongly impressed upon us than by the perusal of the admirable “ Mythology” lately written by Mr. 1 eightley, one of the objects of which (and it is in strict scholastic pro priety) is to restore to the Greeks the integrity of their repute, as the oi iginal and almost exclusive possessors of the ancient mythic fables. Thı : true Olympus was, in fact, almost as much confined to Greece poetically, as it was geographically. The poor and spare deities of old Italy did jut appropriate to themselves the histories of those of Greece, and çlui psily too; for they not only left the localities where they found them, (which they could not well avoid, since the Greek poets had made the m so famous,) but these deities, with foreign histories, they called by La fin names,-a practice which (unfortunately for what should have been the first object, in every sense, of a classical education) has been main tained in modern literature in consequence of the long survival of the Latin language, and its thrusting itself before the Greek in school teaching. Mr. Keightley reminds us of the usurpation in almost every page of his book by refusing to uphold this anomaly, and restoring to the gods of Homer and Hesiod their right appellations. We cazinot say how much this has pleased us, and how we delight to read our Histuiry of the Gods over again with this new old gloss upon it, this conscious, ness of a Greek instead of a Roman presence. It is no longer a “ Pantheon," which, grateful as we are to the word for old associations, reminds us of a temple at Rome; (even that the Romans were forced to call by a Greek word, their comparatively poor language having no genius for compounds.) Mr. Keightley's is the true Olympus restored; his book is entitled “The Mythology of Ancient Greece, and Italy:" it consists of 4184 pages, and 447 of these are devoted to the gods of Greece—those of Italy occupy but a twelfth part of the volume. This alone gives a lively idea of the true state of the -matter. Mr. Keightley's gods, except in this small portion of his work, are no longer Jupiter, Juno, Mars, Mercury, and Venus,-the gods of Virgil and Horace, but Zeus, Hera, Ares, Hermes, and Aphrodite, those of Homer, Æschylus, and Theocritus. Mercury is a pleasant word, and Venus has been rendered delightful by a thousand loving assosciations; but Hermes, not Mercury, was the god who invented the lute, and stole the herds of Apollo; Hermes, not Mercu ry, was the messenger of heaven, the god with the winged sandals and the rod of gold; and Aphrodite, not Venus, was the goddess of love ana' beauty, who possessed the magic girdle, and was in love with Adonis. The Greek poets, the compatriots of the gods of Olympus, knew nothing of the insignificant Italian godlings called Mercury, Mars, and Vulcan. Mercury *(from Merx) was the market-god! What a poor hand tio claim affinity with the god of the lute and of eloquence, whose divine the fts were but laughing vindications of the common right of wit, and done put of acer
tain energy of the jovial! Mr. Keightley : doubts whether Apollo, with his “Grecian name," ever belonged to the original system of Italy; and Venus (strange words to hear !) is a deity about whom it is almost impossible to learn anything satisfactory P r odo aliw dT 1994
Since our second perusal of this gentleman's book (for we have read it, pen in hand, twice over, and mean to read it again) we begin to be intolerant of the Latin names of Greek gods, and do not like to hear of Jupiter and Juno, of Mars, Bacchus, Apollo-virorum, as the grammar unintentionally hath it. Jupiter, to be sure, may be a barbarous pronunciation of the Greek compound Ze u-pater; and Apollo wants but an n to complete him. Even Mr. Keig htley writes him Apollo, instead of Apollon; and Apollo is a beautiful word, which the Latins, by good fortune, did not seriously injure. We are glad that we are not forced to give it up.!! But we begin to be indię mant at the erroneous fame given to Mars instead of Ares, to Minerva ir ístead of Pallas Athene, to Mercury instead of Hermes, Bacchus instes id of Dionysus, Neptune instead of Poseidon, &c. How much better would " Poseidon" have sounded than “ Neptune,” in all the poetry which makes mention of the watery god! It was not Neptune that sha red the third part of the empire of the universe, that had his palace beneat h the ocean, and was the shaker of the earth, and the husband of Amphitr ite, and the giant that took the peninsúla in three (as the leapers phrase, it); it was Poseidon, Neptune was probably little better than the wate) t-elf, the Number-Nip of the Germans, with a termination similar to other Latin gea-gods-Neptunus, Portum, mus-a sort of Tunny-fish god, not the majestic emperor of the main. We are sorry that such poets as Ovid rind Spenser made mention of him * There is a certain coldness in Virs il (who was a northern Italian) which renders us comparatively indifferent to his Latinizings; but Ovid, a poet of the Neapolitan territory, the region of the modern Fairy Tales, had the warm genius of the Grecia peirt of Italy, and we could wish him to have escaped Romanisms of all sorts, Augustus included; whose frigid barbarity knew too well how to punish a southern temperament, when hé sent the poor singer of the Loves of gods and men to die near the Danube. Ovid's Metamorphoses are almost all Greek stories : when he gets to Romulus and Num:a, his poetry is drawing to a close. a darto
Among the very few things we should care to retain from the Roman mythology (and for some we confess no mean affection), are the domestic gods, or Lares ; Porriona, the beauty of the gardens; and the name of Aurora, the goldess of the Golden Hour. Aurora is better than Eos.fun.
cons-slida It is said that the fictions of the ancient poets are no longer popular. Popular scarcely anytb.ing can be said to be just at this moment, except politics, and nothing poetical was ever popular in the multitudinous
Oro sd 10
* In“ Lempriere's Classical Dictionary” (a work, however, of merit, and to which we owe gratis,ude for many a pleasant hour in childhood) the true appellation of Neptune is thus given," Posidon, a-name of Neptune among the Greeks.". Some Italian author is said to have made mention of Dean Swift as the celebrated “Decano Veloce." This Posidon is as much as if the Italian had put the Dean's real name in a biographical dictionary, and said, “ Swift, a name of Dean Veloce among the English.”.
sense of the word though quite enough so to interest the majority of readers." But by fiopular is meant fashionable, which is a very different thing, and may exist or not, in its particular phase, no longer than next week. The wits of the court of Charles the Second made trifles fashionable and of imprurtance which nobody cares for now. Lord Byron made little rhymed ta'ies fashionable, such as the “ Giaour” and the Bride of Abydos," wlich, but for better writings of his, would, before now, have perished. If Keats had been a lord, he would have made the heathen mythology fashionable by his poem of “Hyperion;" which, however, will not perish, and may perhaps one day make it fashionable still. Meantime, if booksellers were wise, they would give full play to every man of gerius; for fashion, after all, in literary matters, does not create what it follows, and genius sometimes leads it without the help of rank.. Walter Scott was not in fashion when his revivals of old stories in verse set a fashion in literature, inferior as they really were to their reputation, His novels, partly by the help of the fashion he had created, but more by their wonderful merits, extinguished even the Nobler strains of Lord Byron. There are instances, even in our own times, of writers becoming popular in other walks of literature, 'in spite of the very hostility of fashion.' ';.
In France, Italy, and Germany, the love of the ancient mythology has never ceased to exist, since the poets revived it. French literature abounds, if we are not mistaken, in popular and compendious mythologies. At all events, Dumoustier alone is an evidence of its popularity; and the poetry of the Classicists has never given it up. In Italy, besides its being mixed up from first to last with the current literature, there is a publicas tion in several volumes, the “ Dizionario d'Ogni Mitologia,” which is a popular enlargement of the French work of Noel. We are glad to see that the plan of referring to the fine arts in these works—we mean to the mythological illustrations furnished by statues and pictures as well as booker bihas been adopted in a late compendium of ancient fables, written by alady for her children, entitled “ Tales of the Classics *." As to the Germans, they are too great universalists to abandon any true source of the beautiful. Wieland and Goethe himself must perish, before the beautiful and ever youthful forms of old Greece shall cease to possess their haunted groves, in common with the 'gloomier and more questionable visions of hypochondriacal self-seeking. The day-dreams of health and love stand as good a chance in the long-run (pray believe it), as the night. mares of the sublimest German that ever slept upon crime, and a pork-chop.
in These prose versions of old poetical stories, if done well, are excellent prepara tires with children for the more grown narratives of the original.
91 Stitna i res, da
Malibran- De Bourrienne's Madness-Reading and Writing-1) angerous Doctrine
of the Arabian Nights Medical Corporations-Editorial Autocracy.
MALIBRAN.—Three songs of Malibran now fill a house, and would probably, well managed and duly changed, make the fortune of a theatre. Her fame is not merely European, it is of the deux mondes. Her genius is universally acknowledged, and universal hands are never weary of ap-. plauding her, and the press takes up the note of praise and re-echoes it from one end of its dominion to the other. Amateurs in listening to her forget to be critical, and judges can find no fault. She is surrounded by private worshippers, who, when she but affects to nod, fly to attend to her slightest wishes. The means of life are too abundant with her to be made a subject of calculation : who measures or thinks of the quantity of the air he breathes ? Genius both delights in its otvn exercise, and revels in the admiration it excites in others. Malibran enjoys a perpetual triumph of both kinds. It is usual' to class the professional actor or singer somewhat low in the scale of society: but is there any other position that, looking to the human being itself, its passions, its objects, its desires, relatively placed so high above all the points of comparison that are ever presented to its mind, as that of the individual on whose breath nightly hangs the rapture of thousands.?. Oratory is not a high art when we analyse the character of its productions, and examine into the faculties which go to make up its triumphs, but estimate it by its power over mankind. What matters it that the electric vase is cold and powerless after it has communicated its shock? The orator takes up his thousands in the palm of his hand, and wields them at his pleasure;--they rise, they fall, at his command ;—now they are still as death;—now they roll tumultuously like an ocean after the settling of a storm. Look into the causes: it is perhaps an eye that electrifies,-a. yoice which thrills through the frame and swells into á diapason that strikes the nervous mass of a multitude with illimitable, incalculable úndulations of physical exquisiteness. If, then, originality or profundity of ideas go for little in oratory, when it is looked into, the singer and the orator, it will be seen, use very similar means, and, indeed, the effects most closely resemble each other. Conceive such an instrument as Malibran, used, or choosing to act for herself, in any great agitation of the masses, who could calculate the effects ? What if, during some epoch of some revolution, in which the guillotine is not the only argument, à Malibraut were to announce a scene of song,well selected, or original, at any rate as original as Mirabeau, that is to say, the work of a few other minds given only to supply materials,-could not she so play upon the feelings of a multitude as to bring back very forcibly to the experience of the people the lyric times of old ? Could she not dismiss her audience ripe for action ? And what can oratory do more? Let us, then, reform our classification ; let us not class genius like Malibran's with common arts. She is a Demosthenes in her way; and perhaps the only name to be mentioned with hers is Sappho, who had the luck to live in the time of lyric opportunity. We are remote admirers of Malibran, or we would do our best to induce her to try a fine, but