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foreign to the heart, on the opinions and relations of the writer himself alone, cannot attain to that life and embodied spirit, and remain destitute of the great auxiliaries of nature.
The Jewish autho wrote of the Jews; Homer of the Greeks; and among the moderns, the original Shakspeare is never more sublime than in the scenes in which his own age is concerned.'
Age, perhaps, strictly speaking, should be Country, in the above passage: but we are gratified to observe a French critic capable of admiring our unrivaled Dramatist.
At page 254. in the chapter which treats of the foundation of Rome, and of the several Italian nations, we have an opinion started in favour of the Abbé Barthélémy's argument that the Etruscans were of Egyptian origin. This subject is discussed in a publication which has lately passed under our Review *; and in treating of so voluminous a work as the present, we shall here, as before, wave any digressional inquiries: but we must remark, in this place, that when the author referred to the Etruscans, she should have been led by that reference to erase a previous passage in this volume, in which she most erroneously remarks on the feasts of Bacchus, that Italy had no Bacchanalia, a Grecian imagination had not introduced Bacchus into Italy.' Where was the fair writer's recollection of the famous description in Livy; and how did it happen that the very mention of the Etruscans did not recall the Bacchanalia imported from their country into Rome? On these matters we say no more at present, but refer our readers to our recent articles on Christie's Disquisition into the nature and use of Etruscan Vases. (Reviews for August and September.)
As, however, we have touched on an error of Madame DE C., we will here slightly remind her, that she is scarcely justified in concluding the "Wisdom of Solomon" to be the work of the wise king, when such powerful reasons exist for believing it to be the composition of so much later a writer as Philo Judæus. (See the acute though intemperate work of Whitaker, on Arianism.) Madame DE C., however, declines on this and on other occasions to enter on controverted points; and certainly great authorities may be quoted in favour of the claims of Solomon to this composition:
"Magno se judice quisque tuetur.”
One of the most useful aids to the student of antient history is afforded by clear and short recapitulations of æras marked by great events, which happened at about the same period of time in different countries of the world. For instance; page 318. the writer briefly reminds us, that the eighth
The Herculanensia; Review for November last.
century before the Christian æra is that which offers the most certainty on every side to history. The first eclipse marked by Confucius is that of the 22d of February 720 A. C. The æra of Nabonassar commences on the 26th of February 747The first Olympiad takes its date in the year 776; —and Rome was founded 753 years before our Saviour.'
We wish that our limits would allow any farther abstract of the contents of this first and most interesting of our fair scholar's volumes. We should be particularly pleased by an opportunity of extracting some of her remarks on Zoroaster and Confucius; who were spreading light and knowlege over Persia and China about the middle of the 6th century before our Saviour, at the same time in which Pythagoras was instructing the West. Before, however, we proceed to the remaining volumes, (our survey of which must be proportionably concise from our detailed examination of several parts of the first,) we must just remark that, among many observations that are very unobjectionable in the chapter on the prophecies, the words in which the character of the prophets is summed up are liable to the same censure which we have passed on other passages of the volume :
• The Jewish prophets were at once orators, like those of Greece and Rome; interpreters of God, like the priests of Delphi or Dodona; and moralists, like those philosophers who were occupied in reforming the manners of Greece.'
Now as to the first of these assertions, it is a matter of taste, and may be conceded or contested according to opinion: but the second remark may excite indignation, and we cannot commend its prudence, though we really believe that it does not offend intentionally; and the third part of the simile raises the character of uninspired wisdom to too exalted a standard. Thus also, when the fair author added, they offer a spectacle truly unique,' she had certainly forgotten the apostles of Christianity.
Volume II. comprizes the fifth, and a part of the sixth Epochs the former containing three books, the 6th, 7th and 8th, of the history; and the latter including in this volume two books, the 9th and 10th. Epoch the fifth extends from 500 to 400 years before our Savionr, or from the end of the Babylonish captivity to the re-establishment of the Jews under Esdras and Nehemiah; from the commencement of the Persian war, to the restoration of Athenian liberty by Thrasybulus; from the expulsion of the Kings of Rome to the commencement of the siege of Veii. Chapter I. of the 6th book treats of the Jews, and of the Scriptures, for the whole of the epoch.
Chapter II. of the Greeks for the same period.-Chapter I. of the seventh book examines the poetry and music of the Greeks chapter II. discusses their architecture, sculpture, and painting: III. their eloquence, history, and science: IV. their philosophy. Chapter I. of the eighth book considers Carthage, Sicily, and Magna Græcia for the same century: II. inquiries into the arts, and into the state of philosophy in these countries; and the IIId is employed on Rome. Epoch the 6th extends in this volume from 400 to 300 years before our Saviour; or from the re-establishment of Athens by Thrasybulus, to the battle of Ipsus between the successors of Alexander the Great; from the commencement of the siege of Veii to that of the Samnite war. Chapter I. of the 9th book treats of the Greeks to the year 336. A. C.: II. of the Greek cities in Sicily, to about the same year: III. of the Greeks in general from the year 336 to the end of the century. Chapter I. of the 10th book examines the arts and poetry of Greece; and the second, her eloquence.
Our space and other duties will not allow more than some brief extracts as specimens of the execution of the second volume. The author here displays the same happiness of manner, in taking a comparative view of the history and learning of the world during certain given periods, as in the earlier part of this work. Perhaps the second chapter of the eighth book, on the state of the arts and of philosophy at Carthage, (or rather the neglect of them at this city,) in Sicily, and in Magna Græcia, is one of the most interesting.
Poetry, (observes Madame De C.) could not fail in every spot to charm the ears of the Greeks. Simonides, Eschylus, and Pindar received from Hiero the most distinguished marks of honour. The verses of Euripides were heard with rapture in all the parts of Sicily, and became the safeguard of those who recited them after the defeat of Nicias. Yet no Sicilian poet is celebrated in this epoch. Stesichorus, of Himera, belongs with his lyre to the preceding age.'
Epicharmus here escaped ths memory of the writer. Empedocles also wrote his system of Pythagorean philosophy in verse about this time.
Of the school of Pythagoras in Magna Græcia, Madame DE C. gives a luminous account; and her quotations from the remains of Ocellus Lucanus, (if indeed those remains be authentic,) and of Timæus the Locrian, are quite in place, and in fact essential to the execution of her plan. She remarks of the latter :
Timæus applauds Homer for having rendered mankind religious by means of his antient Fables:'-(not so Plato in his republic, we may observe, en passant,) for the soul which resists truth may yield to illusion; and Timæus appears indifferent to the fictions under which
we may chuse to represent to men the influence of the Demons who watch over their destinies. He believed that God, the governor of all things, left to these Genii the administration of the world; where all beings had been produced according to the image and most excellent model of the unproduced and eternal form; and he seemed to reject no allegory founded, with this view, on a religious sentiment: for opinions do not cause impiety, but the depravation of the heart causes it.'
Volume III. continues the sixth epoch in two books, the 11th, and 12th, and also includes the seventh epoch. Chap. I. of the 11th book reviews the state of philosophy in general, from the 4th to the 3d century A. C.. the second is devoted to Xenophon: the third to some disciples of Socrates, the works which they have left, and the followers which they also have had the fourth is occupied with Plato and his works: the fifth with some Pythagorean philosophers: the sixth with Aristotle; and the seventh with the schools of Plato and of Aristotle. Chapter I. of book 12. treats of India and her philosophers; and the second, of Rome, for the whole century.
The seventh epoch extends from 300 to 200 years A. C., or from the battle of Ipsus to the time of Philopoemen; from the Samnite war to the end of the second Punic war. It contains two books, the 13th and 14th of the history. - Chapter I. of book 13. considers the Greeks for this period: II. their philosophy: III. their science: IV. their history, their poetry, and their arts. - Chapter I. of book 14. takes notice of Rome for the entire epoch: II. the arts and sciences of Rome: III. the state of China.
The fourth chapter of the 11th book, in which the works of Plato are considered, is perhaps the most interesting of this volume. We are truly pleased to observe the honourable contrast between this French lady and several of her countrymen, in the manner in which they speak of human and divine wisdom. It was scarcely possible, we may perhaps remark, to avoid some tendency to what is falsely called philosophy, in the overthrow of all that was sacred either in opinion or prac tice in France, by the fury of the revolution: but the bias in the present writer is only feeble and occasional; and we see no attempts to place the wisdom or the morality of Heathen philosophers on a level with Christianity. The world (says
Madame DE C.) was never absolutely deprived of the primitive notion of one only God: it ever remained pure, in the instructions vouchsafed to the Jews: it gradually issued forth from the meditations of the wise: but not with that unclouded brilliancy in which we see it arrayed in the Holy Scriptures. The philosophers who embraced this doctrine did not always
disengage it from the earlier impressions which their minds had received. The instructions delivered in Egypt were wrapped in obscurity; and it was in hieroglyphics that the most antient wisdom was bequeathed to the world.'
Volume IV. comprehends the eighth Epoch, with the ninth and last. The eighth is divided into two books, the 15th and 16th of the history, and extends from 200 to 100 years A. C., or from the entrance of the Romans into Greece to the final subjugation of that country; from the reigns of Antiochus the great, and Ptolemy Epiphanes, in Syria and Egypt, to those of Antiochus Grypus, and Ptolemy Lathyrus; from the end of the second Punic war to the Jugurthine war, and the rise of Marius. Chap. I. of book 15. records the history of the Greeks for this period; and the second relates to their arts, sciences, and philosophy. - Chap. I. of book 16. is engaged with the affairs of Rome; and the second with its arts and literature.
The ninth Epoch extends from the first century before Christ to the Christian ara; or from the beginning of the dissensions between Marius and Sylla to the end of the reign of Augustus. It is portioned out into three books, the 17th, 18th, and 19th of the history. Chap. I. book 17. treats of Rome from 100 to 62 years A. C.; and Chap. II. of Rome again, from 62 years before to 14 years after the Christian æra. — Chap. I. book 18. considers the state of philosophy in general for the whole century 2. the philosophical works of Cicero: 3. Eloquence: 4. Literature in general, and various works: 5. History; and 6. the sciences. Chapter I. of book 19. discusses the progress of poetry for this period: 2. Lucretius: 3. Catullus, Propertius, Tibullus, Gallus, and some other poets: 4. Virgil: 5. Horace: 6. Ovid; and 7. the theatre and the arts. This final epoch is wound up with some general reflections. We should not do justice to the really philosophical strain of argument which runs through these reflections, if we were to select any part of them from the course of reasoning on the subjects of the preceding volumes for the writer too modestly says of her work —
The book which I have submitted to the reader is but a descriptive catalogue. I proposed only to collect facts: I leave conclusions to others. I catch but a glimpse of some moral inferences which are to be drawn from the history of man, and from that of his opinions. I have limited my study to the times of antiquity; and it was enough for me to attempt a single step in the immense gallery which is opened to our eyes by the ages that are past.' We should say on the contrary that this learned lady has taken a very comprehensive view of four thou sand years of the world. If, in so ample a work, some errors