Page images

992. 1048. 1056. Invitus hoc crimen in virum doctum simul et elegantem conjeci, qui de nostro præclare meritus est, cuique adeo sui fontes suppetebant ut ad alienos rivulos decurrere nequaquam opus esset. Sed ignoscat cum ipse tum fautores ejus, quod mihi verum videbatur, id non potui non dicere Nec suspiciones istas premere hominis erat ingenui: nedum tecte et occulte grassari. Quæ postulabat ipsa veritas ea libere et aperte locutus sum; crimen, qui possint, diluant, libenter veris aabo manus.'

On the expression in verse 960. of the Supplices, 'Ex xpilv ubu, (vinum hordeaceum, which so forcibly reminds us of Dean Rollestone's learned and humorous tract on Barley-Wine,) we have a note which gives ample evidence, too ample indeed for our quotation, of the learning and ingenuity of the author, as a commentator on Eschylus; in that best style of comment, the production of passages not only illustrative of the subject mentioned in the text, but interesting or amusing in themselves. He has indeed omitted a striking passage in Tacitus, De Moribus Germanorum: but he has quoted enough. We could refer to numerous other instances of this excellence, both in the critical and in the philological department of the present work but we have said and extracted sufficient to recommend this edition of Æschylus to every liberal and enlightened scholar.

We shall here introduce, according to our intention already expressed, one specimen of Mr. Butler's metrical arrangement of part of a chorus; which, although it does differ, in several of the verses, from Dr. Burney's arrangement in his Tentamen, still evinces the editor's knowlege of his subject; and plainly shews that, if he be not Hannibal himself, he is qualified to discuss the art of war with Hannibal. Indeed, in such nice points as the doctrine of impure iambic antispastics, &c. &c. &c., some difference of opinion may be allowed; and who shall decide on double dochmiacs?

The Antistrophics to which we allude begin at line 352. of the Supplices in Stanley's text. The arrangement of Mr. Butler is as follows:

• Στροφή ά.

1. Παλαίχθονος τέκος, κλυθί μα

1. Asynart. e Syzyg. Iamh. et Dochmie.

2. Προφρονι καρδίᾳ, Πελασγῶν ἄναξ.

2. Asynart. e Dochmiis.

3. Ιδε με τὰν ἱκέτιν φυγάδα περίδρομον,

3. Asynart. e Dochmio Hypercat. et Dochmio, vel quod malim e due bus Dochmiis, quorum prior habet Epitritum primum bis resolutum. 4. Λευκάσι κίον ὡς δάμαλιν, ο ν πέτραις

4. Asynart e Dochmiis.

5. Ἡλιβάτοισιν, αλλά

5. Choriamb. dim. cat. vel logaædicus trim. acat.

6. Πίσυνος

6. Πίσυνος μέμυκε, Φράζε

6. lamb. hepth.

. σα βοτήρι μόχθος.

7. Iamb. penth.

Has autem Strophas et Antistrophas regularitèr intercipiunt Iamborum Pentades. S. Butler,'

To shew that the difference between Mr. Butler and the very Coryphæus, or rather Choragus, of Eschylus, Dr. Burney, is not of the last importance in the Strophe above cited, we may just observe that the first four lines are arranged exactly alike in that specimen and in the Tentamen, although in some instances different names are given to the feet; and that the last three lines run thus in the latter work:

5. Ἡλι βατοισιν. Αλ

5. Antispasticum Dochmiacum.

6. —κα πίσυνος μέμυκε φρά

6. Choriambicum Dimetrum Impurum. c. c. Notat metrum in Strophe et Antistrophe diversum esse.

*. - ζουσα βοτῆς μόχθες.

7. Choriambicum Dimetrum Catalecticum.

Our duty now requires us to endeavour to select some errors of Mr. Butler that are worthy of animadversion. In the first place, we must seriously object to his violation of his own principle, laid down so laudably in his preface, of omitting the bickering of preceding commentators. In a note on line 134. of the Prometheus, he records the squabbles, of Heath and Pauw and others on an emendation of Bentley. He espouses the cause of that learned man, and says, after a very adequate defence: Plura potui-sed non tali eget defensore Bentleius? Now we would always venture to defend such a cause, without strong reason to the contrary; and, to use the great scholar's own words, "quovis pignore contenderemus" that Bentley was right yet we disapprove the prolixity of the editor's note on a critical matter of insufficient consequence for such prolixity; and still more his insertion of the following unnecessary remarks: Hæc sunt virorum clarissimorum inter se digladiantium certamina, quibus lectorem fraudatum (we do not think that the reader would have complained of such a deprivation) nolui, ut vera illa ac sana Critica ex Magni Bentleii annotatione, et emendatione Porsoni mox proferenda, suo splendore elucesceret? All this is too solemn and important for panegyric on a critical

*Surely this is a point of suspicious certainty,-which is the most correct metrical name for an arrangement of syllables exactly the



improvement (however judicious) in a line of a Greek play. A close attention to such minutia may sharpen a censorial spirit, but it never will enlarge the understanding, nor improve the taste. Genius is delighted with great and general representations; and the cultivation of genius should be guided by its native character.-We return, with pleasure, to some sensible, although superfluous, observations of Mr. Butler:

• Moneo tamen (lectorem) ne semper speret has a me cupedias; quas cum manifestò nihil proficiant, ac non nisi tædium vel potiùs nauseam faciant, in breve coarctari ac tantum non a me intercidi aquo animo ferat. Quin ul vineta egomet cædam mea, et importunè conjicientium ardorem, si fortè, comprimam moneo quod mihi olim evenit, me scilicet, donec Bentleii annotationem legissem, quovis pignore contendere solitum fuisse, legendum bic esse Janegwiv (Oqμiew Bentl. et Pors.) juxta illud Agathia in Antholog. III. 24. aλgidos Heysvins' Sed istam emendandi pruriginem iterùm 'que iterum orati, juvenes ingenui deponite, et ad saniorem illam criticam animos revocate."


After Mr. B.'s confession that he has written hastily on the word pudios, v. 681. of the Prometheus, and that he should have said," est enim Synalapha in o, de qua vide ad Persas, v. 35." (for, while he opposes Brunck in that passage, he informs us that he adduces many instances of synalæpha and synizesis,)-after this confession and notice, we are bound to overlook so venial an error; as well as that which he also acknowleges to have committed in voce petiofa, now amended to μebεives, V. 855. of the Supplices. The microscopic eye of a verbal critic might doubtless discover several more imperfections of equal moment: but, satisfied as we are that the general cause of classical literature, and the particular credit of English scholarship, have both been successfully maintained by the publication under our review, we shall dismiss it with our tribute of praise for what has already been performed; and with the best founded expectation of the equal merit of the remaining volumes, which, we doubt not, will accomplish their author's design of furnishing the scholar with a complete variorum edition of Eschylus.

It may be necessary, perhaps, for us to say something of one of the contributors to Mr. Butler's notes, who is now for the first time made known to the English scholar, as a commentator on Eschylus. The annotations of Professor Müller appear to us to be justly characterized by his learned friend. In the "Letter" before mentioned in a note, (p.163.) Mr. B. says of these annotations," that the profound historical researches of Professor Müller" (who obtained on the continent the honourable appellation of Alter Tacitus, from his imitation of the compressed energy of that historian,) led him to consider the text of schylus philo


sophically rather than critically; and, if he paid attention rather to things than to syllables, he is not the less instructive." We agree with Mr. Butler that, in many of the notes of the Professor," although they may not be considered as strictly relative to the passage in question, there is such an air of learning, of deep thinking, and philosophical research, that to those who love to mix geographical, historical, or political knowlege with their more useful studies of genitive and dative cases, they will always be very acceptable." We cannot, however, acquiesce in Mr. B.'s defence of Müller's phrase of “ curiosa historia." It is undoubtedly a piece of barbarous Latinity, and displays, at all events, no curiosa felicitas: but it is of small consequence in an annotation which is otherwise, in our opinion, valuable to the philosophical inquirer into that mixture of truth and fable, which marks the early records of every nation. The clue which the Professor gives also to a right explanation of the mixed theology of the antients, we consider as ingenious; he touches with a masterly hand on the physical and fabulous parts of that theology.

[ocr errors]

ART. VIII. The high Price of Bullion a Proof of the Depreciation of Bank Notes. By David Ricardo. Second Edition. 8vo. pp. 48. 23. Murray. 1810.

ART. IX. A Defence of Bank Notes, against the Opinions published in the Morning Chronicle, Cobbett's Register, and a recent Pamphlet entitled the High Price of Bullion a Proof of the Depreciation of Bank Notes. By John Grenfell, Esq. 8vo. pp.32. 18. Walker. ART. X. An Inquiry into the Effects produced on the National Currency and Rates of Exchange by the Bank Restriction Bill; explaining the Cause of the high Price of Bullion; with Plans for maintaining the National Coins in a State of Uniformity and Perfection. By Robert Mushet, of His Majesty's Mint. Second Edition. 8vo. pp. 112. 48. Baldwin.

ART. XI. Reflections on the Abundance of Paper in Circulation, and the Scarcity of Specie. By Sir Philip Francis, K.B. 8vo. pp. 47.

28. Ridgway.

ART. XII. The real Cause of the Depreciation of the national Currency explained; and the Means of Remedy suggested. 8vo. pp. 45. 28. Richardson.

ART. XIII. An Exposé of the present ruinous System of Town and Country Banks, and a Sketch of a Plan for the Establishment of District Banks, to be founded on Principles that must effectually secure them from the Risk of Bankruptcy. By a British Merchant. 8vo. pp. 40. 2s. Wilson.


E can scarcely call to recollection any question, throughout our long career, that has excited more general attention than the subject of the present pamphlets. Almost two years

have now elapsed since both the price of a bill of exchange on the Continent and the price of the precious metals have risen, when paid in our circulating medium, to fifteen per cent. above the legitimate proportion. In former years, a rise or a depression of exch nge was temporary: but the present has Auctuated no farther than to be as frequently above as below the extraordinary rate of loss which we have mentioned ;-it still continues ;-and, which is worse, it seems to contain in itself no principle of speedy re-establishment. Arise of so permanent a character has naturally excited a suspicion that the root of the evil lay in a depreciation of the paper-currency, which, for twelve years past, appears to have taken the place of gold as our standard of value; and the consequence has been that, after the assiduous researches of a Committee of the House of Commons, an opinion has become general that the only effectual corrective consists in a resumption of cashpayments by our Banks. A depreciation of our circulating medium is, in other words, an advance in the price of all commodities; a warning that comes home, and rather pointedly, to the comfort of consumers in every class. We need not therefore be surprized at the activity with which the press has laboured in such a cause. Authors have, as all the world knows, little reason to be indifferent about matters that affect the pocket; and, in addition to this substantial consideration, they have a peculiar ground of solicitude in a question which involves the propriety of making a practical application of the doctrines which they have, for many years, been labouring to inculcate on the mercantile world.

The operations of commer.e in an advanced state of society are in themselves so complex, and they have of late been subjected to such anomalies by the vigorous interference of the leading governments of Europe, that whoever undertakes an investigation like the present must be prepared for a considerable sacrifice of time, and an arduous exercise of the reasoning powers. The labours of the Bullion-Committee lasted during four months; yet its members have been vehemently censured for taking too little time, and for carrying things through with precipitation. In the course of our own investigations, we have found it no easy task to separate the pure element from the mists with which several of our predecessors have contrived to surround it; the aerial waggon-way, as Dr. Smith terms paper-money, having been contemplated by almost every observer through an atmosphere of his own. It is due, however, to the writers of the publications which we are now about to review, to keep in mind that their several performances made their appearance before the Report of the Committee, and received

« PreviousContinue »