페이지 이미지

fit is* advanced by them, (for that is the effect of the subjunctive dicatur used with nihil quod in this connexion) but what may be found more impressively exemplified in the institutions of civil society. His idea is, that laws are the recorded morality of nations, and law-givers the most effective teachers of virtue that they give to the abstractions of philosophy, so to express it, a tangible and living form-clothe maxims embracing the most important truths and the most refined ethics, with the awful authority of a public sanction, and bring their precepts to bear upon the conduct of life and the interests and business of mankind, with the plastic and controlling influence of a daily, permanent, and authoritative social discipline., We have no time to bestow even a passing remark upon Cicero's philosophyour present occupation is the humble one of the philologist, and we have our hands full with this soi-disant translator.

We have to inform Mr. Featherstonbaugh that “perfectio" in this passage does not mean "perfection” or the state of being perfect, but the act of perfecting, or accomplishing, or doing perfectly- -as in that sentence of the Treatise de Finibus, lib. iii. c. 9. “Ea quæ, &c. susceptione primâ, non perfectione sunt judicandæ.” And many other instances of the same kind might easily be collected. So, nobody talks about the “orations of philosophers”—for oratio includes sermo as well as concio-nor do we see very clearly why these orations should be opposed “to public right and to morals,” though they inay be a less efficacious discipline than “public law and national manners and customs," which is all that Cicero undertakes to say of them. Mores when used in connexion with jus, is not to be rendered "morals.' It means the jus moribus constitutum, public opinion, general usage, the great body of customary or unwritten law, by which positive institutions are supplied or superseded in all nations. So expers does not necessarily import ignorance, but merely “having or taking no part in, &c.” quasi ex-pars, äpopos. Those of our readers who are sufficiently conversant with Latin to relish the exquisite elegance and felicity of the Ciceronian diction, need not be informed how completely successful “ the Fellow of the Geological Society of London” has been in destroying the beauties of the last sentence of the paragraph quoted-especially the animated and expressive allusion to the signal of retreat in the last member of it.

“ His rationibus tam certis tamque in- “Against these reasons so certain and lustribus opponuntur ab his, qui contra so clear, it is urged by those who are opdisputant, primum labores qui sint re posed to us: first, the labour to be under.

* We need not remind scholars that honestus means a great deal more than “honest." See Cic, de Fin. ii. 14.

publica defendenda sustinendi: leue sane gone in preserving the public welfare; a impedimentum uigilanti et industrio; ne- slight impediment to the zealous and inque solum in tantis rebus, sed etiam in me- dustrious, not alone in matters of such diocribus uel studiis uel officiis uel uero high import, but in inferior things; wheetiam negotiis contemnendum. Adiun- ther in studies or in official stations; and guntur pericula uitae, turpisque ab his to be despised even in affairs of business. formido mortis fortibus uiris opponitur: To this they add the dangers to which quibus magis id miserum uideri solet, na- life is exposed, and the dread of death, tura se consumi et senectute, quam sibi which brave men scorn; being wont to dari tempus, ut possint eam uitam, quae view it as more wretched to waste away tamen esset reddenda naturae, pro patria by infirmity and old age, than to seize an potissimum reddere. Illo uero se loco occasion to devote that life to the advancopiosos et disertos putant, cum calami- tage of their country, wbich one day tates clarissimorum uirorum, iniuriasque must be rendered to nature. It is here, iis ab ingratis impositas ciuibus colligunt. however, they deem themselves most Hinc enim illa et apud Graecos exempla, successful and eloquent, when they bring Miltiadem uictorem domitoremque Per forward the calamities of eminent men, sarum, nondum sanatis uolneribus iis, and the injuries heaped upon them by quae corpore aduerso in clarissima uic- their ungrateful countrymen. Here come toria accepisset, uitam ex hostium telis the instances in Grecian history. Miltiaseruatam,'in ciuium uinclis profudisse : des, the conqueror and subduer of the et Themistoclem patria, quam liberauis. Persians, with those wounds yet streamset pulsum atque proterritum, non in ing, which he received in front, in the Graeciae portus per se seruatos, sed in height of viclory: preserved from the barbariae sinus confugisse, quam adflix- weapons of the enemy, to waste away his erat. Nec uero leuitatis Atheniensium life in the chains of his countrymen. And crudelitatisqne in amplissimos ciues ex• Themistocles proscribed and driven from empla deficiunt: quae nata et frequen- the country he had freed, flying, not to tata apud illos, etiam in grauissimam ciui. the harbours of that Greece he had pretalem nostram dicuntur redundasse. Nam served, but to the barbarous shores he uel exilium Camilli, uel offensio com- had harrassed. Nor indeed are instances memoratur Ahalae, uel inuidia Nasicae, wanting among the Athenians of levity uel expulsio Laenatis, uel Opimi dam- and cruelty towards great numbers of natio uel fuga Metelli, uel acerbissima their citisens; instances, which springing C. Mari clades, principum caedes, uel up repeatedly among them, are said also eorum multorum pestes, quae paulo post to have abounded loc conspicuously in our secutae sunt. Nec uero iam meo nomine city. For either the exile of Camillus, abstinent.' Et credo quia nostro con. the misfortune of Ahala, the ill will tosilio ac periculo sese in illa vita atque wards Nasica, or the expulsion of Lenas, otio consergatos putant, grauius etiam de or the condemnation of Opimus is renobis

queruntur et amantius. Sed haud membered; or the flight of Metellus, the facile dixerim, cur cum ipsi discendi aut sad overthrow of C. Marius, the cutting uisendi causa maria tramittant"

off of the most eminent citizens, or the destruction of many of them, which soon after followed. Nor indeed is my name forgotten. And I judge that deeming themselves to owe both life and ease to my peril and counsel, they have a more deep and tender remembrance of me. But it is not so easy to explain how they who cross the seas for the sake of observing or describing”

[ocr errors]

If our readers succeed in torturing the first sentence or two of this extract into the confession of any intelligible meaning, they will be far more fortunate than we profess to have been. To us they appear to exhibit such a union of vulgarity and nonsense, as is rare even in the writings of Mr. F. remarkable as he seems to be for a curiosa felicitas in that style. We say nothing of the elegance of "here come the instances of Grecian


history,” or of the propriety of rendering "nondum sanatis volneribus"-a chaste and beautiful expression-by such a misplaced hyperbole as "wounds yet streaming." There is no disputing about tastes in such matters, and the translator probably bas his own reasons for thinking the style of Cicero tame and languid. But we should like to know why “clarissima victoria” is rendered " in the height of victory" —or how “in nostram civitatem redundasse,” is made to signify " have abounded too conspicuously in our state"-or where authority can be found for converting "amplissimos cives" into "a great number of citizens.". In the same way, we suppose, “vir amplus” would be translated “many men"-50 that in Mr. F's Latin, every man of dignity and consequence is a sort of monster--a Geryon or Briareus-his name is Legion.

We might go on with our criticisms to the end of the volume. We shall trouble our readers, however, with but a few additional specimens of the scholarship of our geologist. In the fifth chapter, the following sentence occurs in the original. “Quam ob rem neque sapientis esse, &c. neque liberalis, cum impuris atque inmanibus adversariis decertantem, vel contumeliarum verbera subire, vel expectare sapienti non ferendas injurias.” The words in Italics are thus rendered, “or a wise man hope tò withdraw from such a contest without injury." In chapter VII. “Ac tamen siqui sunt, qui philosophorum auctoritate moueantur, dent operam parumper atque audiant eos, quorum summa est auctoritas apud doctissimos homines et gloria : quos ego existimo, etam si qui ipsi rem publicam non gesserint; tamen quoniam de re publica multa quaesierint et scripserint, functos esse aliquo rei publicae munere," is translated, “Nevertheless if there are any who are governed by the opinions of philosophers, let them turn their attention for awhile, and listen to those who enjoy a proud pre-eminence among learned men, even when they have not borne any charge in the republic; still whom I deem from the extent of their studies, and their writings on government, to have been invested with functions appertaining to the public interest.” In chapter VIII. for "in qua nihil fere quod magno opere ad rationes omnium rerum perti

we have "in the which I think scarce any point was omitted that belongs to the consideration of these great matters." In chapter IX. we are informed that “P. Africanus, the son of Paulus, established Latin holidays in his gardens. The ferie Latinæ we had always understood to date from the earliest period of Roman history. But Mr. Featherstonhaugh is no antiquarian, and it is certain that constituo sometimes means to establish. To be sure, when used in that sense, it never governs


[ocr errors]

the ablative case; but this is no Hamiltonian version for the use of schools, and the author did not think it necessary to descend to such minutiæ. The words just quoted, therefore, must be received as a very liberal translation of what means strictly this, “P. Africanus was determined (or had made up bis mind) to spend the Latin holidays in his gardens.” So we hear of “ Timæus of Locram,(c. xi.) though we have not been so fortupate as to have ever heard of " Locram" itself. Scipio, who was the son of Paulus Æmilius, but passed into the family of Africanus (his maternal grandfather) by adoption, is made to speak of both his parents, as if he meant his father and mother. The text is, utriusque patris. lib. ii. c. 1. In the same place mention is made of a writer, hitherto unknown, we believe, even to Fabricius: it is one “Zethus, the author of Pacuvius." This is a truly ludicrous blunder. The text of the original is, “Zethum illum Pacuvi.” “ Zethus in the tragedy of Pacuvius.” Zethus ille Pacuvianus, as the same author designates the same personage elsewhere.* If Mr. Featherstonhaugh (we wish his name were shorter) will only open the 18th epistle of the first book of Horace's Epistles, at the 41st verse, and read three or four lines together with the notes of the Dauphin editor, he will learn something more of this "author of Pacuvius."

But of this satis superque. We should make our readers an apology for troubling them so long with this very minute examination of a worthless book, but for one reason. We have recently heard great complaints made against the form and style of the periodical criticism of the present day. Reviews, it is said, are mere set dissertations, in which, the work nominally censured, is only mentioned at the head of the article, in a sort of ac etiam clause to found the jurisdiction upon. We have been ourselves, more than once, guilty of this heinous offence against primitive manners and models, and have, therefore, endeavoured to atone for our past sins, by this specimen of a legitimate critique, which, we trust, will be graciously received as a sufficient expiatory sacrifice for them all.

We are happy to find the Boston edition of “The Republic, more accurate than the Ernesti edition of Cicero's works reprinted there some twelve years ago. The latter appeared to us to reflect very little credit upon a city which seems destined to the double honour of being the cradle of liberty and of letters in the western world. But why were not the prolegomena of Mai retained ? Such is the scarcity of books of a certain description in this part of the country, that we have not been able to lay


[blocks in formation]

our hands upon the account-an object, in every point of view, of so much interest—which the scholar, to whose enlightened and fortunate researches we are indebted for this treasure-trove, bas given of his own discovery.

Our readers are, no doubt, generally informed from other sources, that Signor Mai was advanced, on account of some previous researches of a similar kind in the Ambrosian library at Milan, to the place of librarian of the Vatican—that the MS. of this important fragment was preserved in the Monastery of Gobio in Liguria--that the first edition of it was given to the world in 1822-that its faded characters which had been written over with a commentary of St. Augustin upon the Psalms, were decyphered by means of chemical agents—and that parchment or paper, thus “contrived a double debt to pay, was called even in the time of Cicero himself, a palimpsest.* It may be worth while to remark by the way, that the example of this learned Italian may possibly lead to important discoveries. The spirit of inquiry on the subject of ancient MSS. which had been so long, comparatively, slumbering, may be awakened, for aught we know, to an animation not unworthy of the age of Petrarch or of Poggio Bracciolini. The hopes of scholars—so far as they depended upon other resources—were almost extinguished. The monasteries, and such like repositories in Europe, had been so completely ransacked, that little or nothing could be expected from them. On the other hand, the eruption of Vesuvius which overwhelmed Herculaneum and Pompeii, seems to have been so preposterously slow and gradual, as to admit not only of the escape of their inhabitants, but of the removal of almost their whole stock of goods and chattels. And in spite of all the assiduity and in this matter especially) vaunted sagacity of the Gerinan literati, it is not likely that they will ever do much with the Tironian notes. But it is difficult to set bounds to our anticipations from this unexplored, subterraneous region of the palimpsest—these “catacombs of living death," as they may be well enough described in an outré metaphor of Curran's. The mighty revolution in opinion, which as early, at least, as the sixth century, involved in one indiscriminate sentence of ban and anathema, all the genius and taste of classical antiquity, produced it is certain, many and many similar instances of sacrilegious spoliation by holy hands. It is true that we are indebted to the same hands, for the preservation of much that remains to adorn our libraries—but who shall balance the

There is some difference of opinion as to the etymology of this word. We are satisfied with Facciolati's onimingos from ráasy rursum and fów abstergo. Some write palinwestus from stw rado.

« 이전계속 »