Page images
[ocr errors]

that pupe, "the blessed heretic;" so singularly well did he discharge his duties, both to God and man, though on principles purely Protestant! So far was he from indulging the doctrine of merit, that, if it were possible, he was too poor in spirit: But his humility gave way latterly to the comfortable cordial of Christian confidence. Thus much I felt myself bounden to say of one, whose memory lies very near the heart of Sir, your's faithfully, John English Dolben."


Mr. Wilcocks is said to have compiled Sacred Exercises,' now in use at Westminster school; also to have been the writer of several good verses in the Carmina Quadragesimalia;' as he was without doubt of an article in the Philosophical Transactions; which, being short and curious, is very properly introduced in the preface to this work. It is an account of some subterraneous apart ments, with Etruscan inscriptions and paintings, discovered at Civita Turchino in Italy. We are given to understand that these apartments were explored, as here described, at the sole expence of the author. It is the work intitled Roman Conversa tions, however, which will chiefly entitle him to literary distinction. The editor very properly concludes this short biography of Mr. Wilcocks with these two lines,

Αφνειός διότοιο, φιλος στην ανθρώποισι
Πάνας γὰρ φιλίεσκεν. 11. Ζ. 14

thus freely translated,

Wealthy and good; friend to the human race:
In life and death beloved.'

Though the Greek lines certainly contain nothing respecting life and death, yet the general sense is given; and what Homer says of Axylus might justly in the present case be applied; be loved by men, for he loved all; or, as Mr. Pope translates or ra ther paraphrases,


Hospitable, rich and good

a friend to human race; Fast by the road his ever open door

Oblig'd the wealthy, and reliev'd the poor."

As the author's spirit aud character have here a true descrip tion, it is also with strict propriety added concerning his work, that it is an elaborate and singular composition; calculated to excite religious and moral reflections on the Roman history, and adapt and direct the study of it to the best and wisest purposes of a Christian education."

It is unnecessary for us to add much to those remarks on this work which we have formerly offered: one short passage we will here insert, because it indicates the writer's opinion as to public affairs, and his regard to truth and liberty. It is

* An abstract of this paper may be seen in our 31st val. p. 269, among


among the observations on the character and conduct of Cato the elder - For the welfare of every society, it is necessary, in the first place, that it be originally well founded; and secondly, that there should from time to time arise some persons, who, by their doctrines and examples, may support and revive (may we not also say, correct or improve) its first original principles; and thus secure it from mutability, degeneracy, and decay.'

Though we have little farther to say on the work itself, it is requisite to add a few particulars respecting this second edition. Besides the enlargement of the preface, we observe what appears to us a real improvement, and which we before ventured to propose, viz. a translation of the several quotations from Greek and Latin authors, and sometimes from other languages, with which the work abounds. This no doubt will prove acceptable to most readers. From a cursory view of these versions, they seem to have been made with freedom, though just to the sense and meaning. We have observed what seems to be a little mistake as to the two following lines of Horace +,

"Raro antecedentem scelestum

Deseruit, pede pana claudo :”

which are rendered, Punishment treads close on the heels of the offender.' The poet intends to express not the speed, but the certainty of that evil which in one way or another awaits the criminal: it may approach slowly, pede claudo, aut tardo: but in time it is generally sure to arrive. The lines are quoted in application to Perseus, the last king of Macedon, subdued and taken prisoner by L. Paulus Æmilius; after which, from the greatest opulence, he sunk into all the misery, stench, and hunger of the worst of common jails, in which state he died: this wretchedness might be regarded as a kind of retaliation for the horrid crimes of which he had been guilty: Let us not forget, (says the author,) that the dispensations of Providence were just, in this dismal punishment to this punishment the lines above are applied, and it is added, as signifying their meaning, Leaden, perhaps, were its feet,' (it was some time in coming,) but iron were its hands;' heavy and dreadful was the blow when struck as it is expressed in an elegy of Tibullus, Sera tamen tacitis pæna venit pedibus.

Some inaccuracies which were discovered in the first edition are here rectified. Many, we are informed, who admired the work, and yet more the man, have cheerfully engaged in the correction of errors; to whom the proprietor acknowleges great + Lib. iii. Od. 2. 1. 31.

* Vol. i. p. 365.


obligation; and, in particular, for the invaluable and unsolicited assistance of a gentleman, personally unacquainted with the author, but in studies and habits perfectly congenial, who has left scarce a page or a paragraph unimproved.' These volumes are also now furnished with a plan of the city and suburbs of Rome, in its present state, just sufficient to mark out the principal scenes of the dialogues; with a regular table of contents, and a general index; and with a handsome print of the author. The editor expresses a hope that reverence for his memory, and the encouragement given to extend his benevolence by a new edition, will be deemed a sufficient apology to the purchasers of the former, should the present copy appear in a dress more neat and sightly, and in some instances, perhaps, more truly valuable.'

We observe that in these volumes the distinguishing names of places, persons, and nations, are commonly begun, as they should be, with a capital letter: but in other instances, particularly when the name becomes an adjective, we meet with roman state, athenian power, carthaginian fleet, asiatic neighbours, punic war, spanish armada, british government, &c. &c. and sometimes we find carthaginians, athenians, &c. To us this is unpleasant, as well as unusual.

ART. VI. Fragments: in the Manner of Sterne. Crown 8vo. 6s. Boards. Debrett. 1797.

HE benevolent sentimentality, the exquisite pathos, the ΤΗ happy abruptness of transition, and the peculiar felicity of expression, which gave to the whimsical romances of Sterne such a pleasing air of originality, are in a great measure caught by his present imitator; who, to the best of our recollection, after the lapse of so many years, approaches nearer to his prototype than any of that admired writer's former copyists.

These Fragments consist of Dialogues or Conversation-pieces; in which our former friends of the Shandy family are once more brought forwards, like the heroes of the drama, to entertain and instruct the public. The original tone of sentiment in the interlocutors is respectively well supported in most, if not in every one of them ;-particularly in the dialogues between the faithful Trim and his worthy master, (we name the Corporal first, because, of the two, he is certainly meant for the principal character,) we with pleasure at once recollected our old acquaintances: still the same good and amiable creatures that they were when we formed our first estimate of their virtues, and took them by the hand.


The morality of the work now before us is, throughout, perfectly unimpeachable. Some readers, however, may, in the present temper of the times, censure the author for giving to it the appearance of a party production, in which occasion is often taken to glance at the ambition of princes, to display the cruelty of war, and to expatiate on the distress and destruction which it ever brings to individuals, with the desolation of countries and the ruin of nations.-In a word, the political cast of this performance will appear to different persons in different lights, according to their several attachments and principles. "It is all humanity and benevolence," says the whig; "it is sedition!" exclaims Dr. Slop.-Let us, however, proceed to an extract from the performance, and leave our readers to form their own judgment, in some measure, from a specimen. For this purpose we have selected the Fragment entitled


That spirit-cried my father-which fired the Athenian soul when Aristides led forth his legions, seems to animate them :-they are fighting for Glory!They are fighting for Freedom, brother quoth my uncle Toby, (wishing to set my father right.)——————They are fighting for the evacuation of the body politic-exclaimed Doctor Slop. They are magnanimous cried my father.They are brave said my uncle Toby-They are Infidels-quoth Doctor Slop;they have melted the blessed images of our Saints, and converted them into the wages of blasphemy :-they are Murderers!-they are Atheists! --They pay more worship to the GREAT BEING who made us-cried my uncle Toby-by defending the cause, and promoting the good of his creatures-than all the knees that ever bent to idols.(Here Yorick entered the parlour)——


They fight for Glory !-cried my father, raising his voice. Glory!-said Yorick, (while benevolence reddened on his countenance)-Glory blooms on the Olive! I never see a Laurel but methinks there's blood upon its leaf:-the Laurel springs near the Wolf, the Olive is a shelter for the Lamb! To bind up the wounds of Affliction-to feed the Hungry-to make Woe forget her troubles and Misery to smile-is Glory! It is Glory to shelter our fellow-creatures! but AMBITION and RAPINE, retired behind the walls of their castles, level their engines of destruction on the heads of the Helpless; myriads actuated by them, and blind to fear, rise with the Sun, and mingle with the blessed dews of Heaven the blood of their fellow creatures!

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I would not fight under such commanders-quoth Trim, (in a low voice to my uncle Toby, while standing beside him)-though A corporal, TrimI were to be made a General for it! quoth my uncle Toby - with Mercy at his side, and Valour in his heart, is a braver soul.-Courage not guided by Humanity (continued he) is not the bravery of a Man, but the ferocity of a Savage. -An' so it is, an' please your Honour-replied Trim-Why, there's the long-whisker'd mercenaries, though a woman with her


baby at her breast were to cry quarter, they wouldn't grant it. They have more whiskers than pity, then-cried Yorick, smiling.

I wish-cried my father, (looking stedfastly at Dr. Slop)-I wish that one example held out by this Nation of Plunderers and Atheists, may be followed in every other, that the pleasure-grounds of Priests may be converted into the grounds of usefulness, where INDUSTRY may smile upon her plough, while the Dove resteth upon it.

Here Doctor Slop was filled with inflammablematter: The holy ground of Priests cried he-encroached upon! the Scriptures spurned at! the Cross despised! the Saints sneered at !-Religion! Religion ! what will become of thee?-Time will improve it-quoth my uncle Toby, in the simplicity of his heart. -As if an electric shock had been conducted to the body of Doctor Slop, his movement could not have been more sudden he struck his feet on the ground, and bolted as upright as his uncouth form would let him his curses on Obadiah, and the green-baize bag, were nothing to this-curses flashed from his eyes-curses sat on his forehead; every nerve, every vein, every ligament, seemed to unite in his frame, and utter with his lips, "O GOD! in mercy to thy holy Religion, eternally d-n this Toby Shandy!"




My uncle Toby felt this insult-but said nothing.

Are these arguments !—cried my father.

• Peace! -exclaimed Yorick.

Peace! cried Doctor Slop-though Germany were depopu lated-England starved,-though the blood of Nations stained the -War!!- -for it is a War of Religion!


[ocr errors]

It is a Crusade-cried my uncle Toby.

It is the sentiment of CowARDICE-of CRUELTY,-exclaimed Yorick-to force opinion by invective, by the dungeon, by the bayonet (Yorick sigh'd)-or by any force, but force of REASON! If there be any absolute power, let it be the power of TRUTH! -it yields to none-it conquers all, sooner or later.-Let Blood be banished!I see the starving children of thousands torn from their home to fight AMBITION's quarrels I see the supplicating eye of Want ask its famished mother for a morsel!" Cling not round her knees- -for she has nought to give you !"-I seecontinued Yorick, (casting his eyes on Dr. Slop)-I see, in this War of Religion, her best duties profaned!I see the virgin ravished before the eyes of age-eyes filled with a father's tears:-I see his silver locks spotted o'er with blood-his hut in flames-his field trampled on-his heart broken. Ye Princes of the Earth! look down on this, and learn the novelty of feeling.

"What Yorick said had little effect on the mind of Doctor Slop;persecution still lingered in his eye. My father shook his head in piteous eloquence. My uncle Toby seemed grieved that a Soldier could do these things: He had forgotten Doctor Slop, and his illiberality-for his soul was tempered with forgiveness. He would say, that an insult had the same effect upon the feelings, as a wasp had upon the skin;-both irritated the surface, but did not endanger the fundamental principles, either of our happiness or our health.

Rev. Nov. 1797.



« EelmineJätka »