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DIACUS VITÆ, «The Zodiac of Life;" the initial letters of the first twenty-nine verses of the first book of this poem forming his name, which curious particular is not noticed by Warton in his account of this work. The performance is divided into twelve books, but has no reference to astronomy, which we might naturally expect. He distinguished his twelve books by the twelve námes of the celestial signs, and probably extended or confined them purposely to that num. ber, to humour his fancy. Warton however observes, “this strange pedantic title is not totally without a conceit, as the author was born at Stel lada or Stellata, a province of Ferrara, and from whence he called himself Marcellus Palingenius Stellatus." The work itself is a curious satire on the Pope and the Church of Rome. It occasioned Bayle to commit a remarkable literary blunder, which I shall record in its place. Of Italian conceit in those times, of which Petrarch was the father, with his perpetual play on words and on his Laurel, or his mistress Laura, he has himself afforded a remarkable example. Our poet lost his mother, who died in her thirty-eighth year: he has commemorated her death by a sonnet composed of thirty-eight lines. He seems to have conceived that the exactness of the number was equally natural and tender. 21 Are we not to class among literary follies the strange researches which writers, even of the

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present day, have made in Antediluvian times! Forgeries of the grossest nature have been alluded to, or quoted as authorities. A book of Enoch once attracted considerable attention; this curious forgery has been recently translated : the Sabeans pretend they possess a work written by Adam! and this work has been recently appealed to in favour of a visionary theory! Astle gravely observes, that “with respect to Writings at tributed to the Antediluvians, it seems not only decent but rational to say that we know nothing concerning them." Without alluding to living writers, Dr. Parsons, in his erudite “Remains of Japhet,” tracing the origin of the alphabetical character, supposes that letters were known to Adam! Some too have noticed astronomical libraries in the Ark of Noah! Such historical memorials are the deliriums of learning, or aré founded on forgeries.

Hugh Broughton, a writer of controversy in the reign of James the First, shows us in ä tedious discussion on Scripture chronology, that Rahab was a harlot at ten years of age; and enters into many grave discussions concerning the colour of Aaron's Ephod, the language which Eve first spoke, and other classical erudition. This writer is ridiculed in Ben Jonson's Comedies :-hé is not without rivals even in the present day! Covarruvias, after others of his school, discovers that when male children are born they cry out with an A, being the first vowel of the word Adam, while the female infants prefer the letter E, in allusion to Eve; and we may add that, by the pinch of a negligent nurse, they may probably learn all their vowels. Of the pedantic triflings of commentators, a controversy among the Portuguese on the works of Camoens is not the least. . Some of these profound critics who affected great delicacy in the laws of Epic poetry, pretended to be doubtful whether the poet had fixed on the right time for a king's dream; whether, said they, a king should have a propitious dream on his first going to bed or at the dawn of the following morning? No one seemed to be quite certain; they puzzled each other till the controversy closed in this felicitious manner, and satisfied both the night and the dawn critics. Barreto discovered that an accent on one of the words alluded to in the controversy would answer the purpose, and by making king Manuel's dream to take place at the dawn-would restore Camoens to their good opinion, and preserve the dignity of the poet. -roChevreau begins his History of the World in these words : « Several learned men have examined in what season God created the world, though there could hardly be any season then, since there was no sun, no moon, nor stars. But as the world must have been created in one of

the four seasons, this question has exercised the talents of the most curious, and opinions are various. Some say it was in the month of Nisan, that is, in the spring: others maintain that it was in the month of T'isri, which begins the civil year of the Jews, and that it was on the sixth day of this month, which answers to our September, that Adam and Eve were created, and that it was on a Friday, a little after four o'clock in the afternoon!" This is according to the Rabbinical notion of the eve of the sabbath.

The Irish antiquaries mention public libraries that were before the flood; and Paul Christian Ilsker, with profounder erudition, has given an exact catalogue of Adam's. Messieurs O'Flaherty, O'Connor, and O'Halloran, have most gravely recorded as authentic narrations the wildest legendary traditions; and more recently, to make confusion doubly confounded, others have built up what' they call theoretical histories on these nursery tales. By which species of black art they contrive to prove that an Irishman is an Indian, and a Peruvian may be a Welshman, from certain emigrations which took place many centuries before Christ, and some about two centuries after the flood ! Keating, in his “ History of Ireland, starts a favourite hero in the giant Partholanus, who was descended from Japhet, and landed on the coast of Munster 14th May, in the year

of the world 1987. This giant succeeded in his enter



prise, but a domestic misfortune attended him among his Irish friends:-his wife exposed him to their laughter by her loose behaviour, and provoked him to such a degree that he killed two favourite greyhounds; and this the learned historian assures us was the first instance of female infidelity ever known in Ireland !

The learned, not contented with Homer's poetical pre-eminence, make him the most authentic historian and most accurate geographer of antiquity, besides endowing him with all the arts and sciences to be found in our Encyclopædia. Even in surgery a treatise has been written to show by the variety of the wounds of his heroes, that he was a most scientific anatomist; and a military scholar has lately told us that from him is derived all the science of the modern adjutant and quarter-master-general; all the knowledge of tactics which we now possess; and that Xenophon, Epaminondas, Philip, and Alexander, owed all their warlike reputation to Homer! 3.) To return to pleasanter follies. Des Fontaines, the journalist, who had wit and malice, inserted the fragment of a letter which the poet Rousseau wrote to the younger Racine whilst he was at the Hague. These were the words : “I enjoy the conversation within these few days of my associates in Parnassus. Mr. Piron is an excellent antidote against melancholy; but" --&c. Des Fontaines maliciously stopped at this but.

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