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These rectifications ought to have is evident that the whole character, some effect in elevating-first, the the very principle of movement, in rank of Herodotus ; secondly, his pre many modern stories, depends upon sent attractions. Most certain we sentiments derived remotely from are that few readers are aware of the Christianity ; and others upon usages various amusement conveyed from all or manners peculiar to modern civilisources then existing, by this most zation ; 30 as in either case to involve splendid of travellers. Dr Johnson a moral anachronism if viewed as has expressed in print, (and not mere Pagan. Not the colouring only of ly in the strife, of conversation,) the the fable, but the very incidents, one following extravagant idea-that to and all, and the situations, and the Homer, as its original author, may be perplexities, are constantly the protraced back, at least in outline, every duct of something characteristically tale or complication of incidents now modern in the circumstances, somemoving in modern poems, romances, times for instance in the climate; or novels. Now, it is not necessary for the ancients had no experimental to denounce such an assertion as false, knowledge of severe climates. With because, upon two separate reasons, these double impossibilities before us, it shows itself to be impossible. In of any absolute fictions in a Pagan the first place, the motive to such an author that could be generally fitted to assertion was—to emblazon the inven- anticipate modern tales, we shall not tive faculty of Homer; but it hap- transfer to Herodotus the impracticpens that Homer could not inventable compliment paid by Dr Jobnson any thing, small or great, under the to Homer. But it is certain that the very principles of Grecian art. To very best co.lection of stories furnishbe a fiction, as to matters of action, ed by Pagan funds, lies dispersed (for in embellishments the rule might through his great work. One of the be otherwise,) was to be ridiculous best of the Arabian Nights, the very and unmeaning in Grecian eyes. We best as regards the structure of the may illustrate the Grecian fueling on plot-viz. the tale of Ali Baba and the this point (however little known to Forly Thieves-is evidently derived eritics) by our own dolorous disap- from an incident in that remarkpointment when we opened the Al able Egyptian legend, connected with hanibra of Mr Washington Irving the treasure house of Rbampsinitus. We had supposed it to be some real This, except two of his 'Persian Spauish or Moorish legend connected legends, (Cyrus and Darius,) is the with that romantic edifice; and, be longest tale in Herodotus ; and by hold ! it was a mere Sadler's Wells much the best in an artist's sense ; intravesty, (we speak of its plan, not of deed, its own remarkable merit, as a its execution,) applied to some slender fable in which the incidents succesfragments from past days. Such, sively generate each other, caused it to bat far stronger, would have been the be transplanted by the Greeks to their disappointment to Grecian feelings, own country. Vossius, in his work on in finding any poetic (à fortiori, any the Greek historians, and a hundred prose) legend to be a fiction of the years later, Valckenaer, with many writer's-words cannot measure the Other scholars, had pointed out the reaction of disgust. And thence it singular conformity of this memorable was that no tragic poet of Athens Egyptian story with several that ever took for his theme any tale or afterwards circulated in Greece. The fable not already pre existing in some eldest of these transfers was undoubtversion, though now and then it edly the Bæotian tale (but in days might be the least popular version. before the name Bæotia existed) of It was capital as an offence of the in Agamedes and Trophonius, architects, tellect, it was lunatic to do otherwise. and sons to the King of Orchomenos, This is a most important characteris who built a treasure-house at Hyria, tic of ancient taste ; and most (noticed by Homer in his ship cata. interesting in its philosophic value for logue,) followed by tragical circumany comparative estimate of modern stances, the very same as those reart, as against ancient. In particular, corded by Herodotus. It is true that no just commentary can ever be writ- the latter incidents, according to the ten on the poetics of Aristotle, which Egyptian version—the monstrous deleaves it out of sight. Secondly, it vice of Rhampsinitüs for discovering

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EDINBUROII: PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND NUOHES,

PAULI WORK, CANONGATE

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