« FöregåendeFortsätt »
die heads ; with a lombefore us
pearance of the scene before us yesterday. The ground was then parched with a long drought; the flowers hid their drooping heads; no fragrant odours were perceived ; and vegitation seemed to cease. To what cause must we impute the revival of nature?- To the rain which fell this morning, replied Alexis, with a modeft confufion. He was ftruck with the Selfishness and folly of his conduct; and his own bitter reflections anticipated the reproofs of Euphronius.'
"The Passions pould be governed by Reafon. Sophron and Alexis bad frequently heard Euphronius mention the experiment of filling the waves with oil, made by his friend Dr. Franklin, They were impacient to repeat it; and a brifk wind proving favourable to the trial, they haftened one evening to a theet of water, in the pleasure grounds of Eugenio, near Hart-Hill. The oil was scattered upon the pool, and spread itself instantly on all sides, calming the whole surface of the water, and reflecting the most beautiful colours. Elated with success, the youths returned to Euphronius, to inquire the cause of such a wonderful appearance. He informed them, that the wind blowing upon water a hich is covered with a coat of oil, slides over the surface of it, and produces no friction that can raise a wave. But this curious philosophical fact, said he, suggests a most important moral reflection. When you suffer yourselves to be ruffled with paso sion, your minds resemble the puddle in a storm. But Rearon, if you hearken to her voice, will then, like oil poured upon the waters, calm the turbulence within you, and refore you to ferenity and peace.'
• Affection extended to inanimate Ofijces. • A beautiful tree giew in an open space, opposite to the parlour windows of Euphronius's house. le was an object which his family often contemplated with pleasure. The verdant foliage with which it was covered, gave an early indica. tion of spring; its spreading branches furnished an agreeable shade, and tempered the heat of the noon vide fun; and the fal. Jing leaves in autumn marked the varying seasons, and warned them of the approach of winter. One luckle's morning, the ax was laid to the root of this admired tree, and it fell a lamented victim to the rage for building, which depopulates the country, and multiplies misery, ciseases, and dea:h, by the enlargement of great towns. You now feel, said Euphronius to Alexis on this occasion, the force of that good natured remark of Mr. Addison, in one of the Spectators, that he should not care to have an old stump pulled up which he had remembered ever since he was a child. The affcctions of a generous heart are extended by the early asociation of ideas, to almost every surrounding object. Hence the delight which we receive
from revisiting those scenes in which we palled our youth ; the school where our first friendships were formed, or the academic groves in wbich fair Science unveiled herself to our enraptured view. Suetonius relates, that the Roman Emperor, Vespagan, went constantly every year, to pass the summer in a small country house near Rieti, where he was born, and to which he would never add any embellidhment; and that Titus, bis suc. ceffor, was carried thither in his last illness, to die in the place where his father had begun and ended his days. The Emperor Pertinax, fays Capitolinus, during the time of his abode in Liguria, lodged in his father's house; and raising a great num, ber of magnificent buildings around it, he left the cottage in the midft, a Itriking monument of his delicacy of sentimens and greatness of soul.
Scepticism condemned. Sophron asserted, that he could hear the slighteft fcratch of a pin at the distance of ten yards. It is impossible, faid Alexis, and immediateiy appealed to Euphronius, who was walking with them. Though I don't believe, replied Euphronius, that Sophron's ears are more acute than yours, yet I disapprove of your hafty decision concerning the impoffibility of what you so liule understand. You are ignorant of the nature of found, and of the various means by which it may be increased or quia kened in its progress; and modefty should lead you, in fuch a case, to-suspend your judgment till you have made the proper and necessary inquiries. An opportunity now presents itself, which will afford Sophron the satisfaction he desires, Place your ear at one end of this long rafter of deal timber, and I will scratch the other end with a pin, Alexis obeyed, and distinctly heard the sound, which being conveyed through the tubes of the wood, was augmented in loudnefs as in a speaking trumpet, or the horn of the huntsman,- Scepticism and credulity are equally unfavourable to the acquifition of knowledge. The latter anticipates, and the former precludes all inquiry. One leaves the mind satisfied with error, the other with ignorance.'
ART. V. A Vindication of the Apamean Medal; and of the Inscription NSE: Together with an Illuitration of another Coin, struck ai ibe fame Place, in Honour of the Emperor Severus. By the Author of
the Analysis of ancient Mythology. 4to. 1 s. Payne. 1775. A A R. Bryant, in the lecond volume of his Analysis of one
V cient Mythology, amidst other traces and proofs of the deluge, which he finds among the Pagan nations, has made fume curious observations concerning the City Cibotus in Phry, gia, in latter times called Apamea; and he has particularly mentioned a coin of the Emperor Philip the Elder, which was O 2
fruck at this place, and contained an epitome of the diluvian biftory. Upon the reverse of this medal is delineated a kind of Square machine, or ark, Aoating on the water. Through an opening in it are seen two persons, a man and a woman, as low as to the breast; and upon the head of the woman is a veil. Over this ark is an open roof, on which sits a dove; and over against it is another in the air, which seems to be returning towards the machine, and holds a small branch in its bill. Before the machine is a man following a woman, (probably the fame persons repeated), who seem to have just quitted it, and with uplisted hands, to witness some extraordinary emotion. On the ark itself, underneath the persons there inclosed, is to be read in distinct characters, NIE.
To the above account it has been objected, by the writer of an ingenious letter in the Gentleman's Magazine, that this pretended name of Noah is only the remainder of the city's name, Anegavopswv, which is inscribed on the legend round the coin; but there not being room for the thice last letters to be continued round the edge of the coin, the Artist engraved them on the chest in the middle of the coin in a reversed manner.' · This difficulty hath been thought, by Mr. Bryant, to be important enough to deserve a distinct solution. Accordingly, he has thewn, in the poblicati o before us, thac the objection is groundless, and has confirmed his own opinion by new and Ariking evidence. Besides this, he hath critically examined another coin, ftruck at Apamea, in honour of the Emperor Severus, and ha:h thence deduced fresh proofs of the traditions and memorials that were preserved of the deluge.
Our learned Author is persuaded, that if it had been out of his power to have ascertained what he hath undertaken to prove, it would have been of litile consequence, even if the name had been totally erased. The history, he says, would still remain in legible characters, independent of the inscription. Thus take away the letters Nwe, or assign them to a different purpose; yet the historical part of the coin can neither be obliterated nor changed. The ark upon the waters, and the persons in the ark, will still remain ; the dove too, and the olive, will be seen : and the great event, to which they allude, will be too manifest to be mistaken.
ART. VI. The Hiftory of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
By Edward Gibbon, Esq. Volume the First. 4to il. 1 s. Cadell. TITE have now before us one of those produ&ions which,
VV so far as we can judge from the small portion of the work, we have, as yet, had time to peruse, will do honour to the literature of our country, and give the Author a just title to a diftinguished rank among the most celebrated histo. rians of the present age. The subject which he has chosen for the display of his historica' abilities, is, in a variety of views, highly interesting; to the poiiosopher and statesman, it opens a wide field for rc Aestion; to every class of readers it muft afford both instruction and entertainment, la naturally leads to the discuffion of many points, cqually curious and important; and which, in order to do juttice to them, require an uncommon share of learning, judgment, and sagacity. Mr. Gibbon appears in every respect equal to the lack he has undertaken; his style is well suited to the dignity of his subject, -elegant, perspicuous, and manly. The arrangement of his materials, , which he has selected with great diligence and accuracy, is clear and distinct ; his reflections are periinent and solid ; his månner, allo, of creating lome points, even those of the most nice and delicate nature, and which have been variously repre. sented according to the different views and prejudices of dif. ferent writers, thews an enlarged and liberal turn of thinking, is far from being decisive and dogmatical, and equally evinces his candour, his judgment, and his penetration. .
In a short, and modeft preface, he explains the nature and limits of his general plan:
• The memorable series of revolutions, says he, which, in the course of about thirteen centuries, gradually undermined, and at length destroyed, the solid fabric of Roman greatness, may, with some propriety, be divided into the three following periods.
•1. The first of these periods may be traced from the age of Trajan and the Antonines, when the Roman monarchy have ing attained its full strengih and maturity, began to verge towards its decline; and will extend to the subversion of the western empire, by the barbarians of Gerinany and Scythia, the rude ancestors of the most polished nations of modern Europe. Tois extraordinary revolution, which subjected Rome to the power of a Goihic conqueror, was completed about the begin ning of the sixth century.
ll. The second period of the Decline and Fall of Rome, may be supposed to commence with the reign of Justinian, who by his laws, as well as by his victories, reltored a transient splendour to the Eastern Empire. Io will comprehend the inva. sion of Italy by the Lombards; the conquest of the Asiatic and African provinces by the Arabs, who embraced the religion of Mahomet; the revolt of the Roman people against the feeble princes of Constantinople; and the elevation of Charlemagne, who, in the year eight hundred, established the se. cond, or German Empire of the west,
JII. The last and longest of these periods includes about seven centuries and a half; from the revival of the Western Empire, till the taking of Conftantinople by the Turks, and O 3
the extin&ion of a degenerate race of princes, who continued to assume the titles of Cæsar and Auguftus, after their dominions were contracted to the limits of a single city : in which the language, as well as the manners, of the ancient Romans, bad been long since forgotten. The writer who should undertake to relate the events of this period, would find himself obliged to enter into the general history of the Crusades, as far as they contributed to the ruin of the Greek Empire ; and he would scarcely be able to restrain his curiosity from making some inquiry into the state of the city of Rome, during the darkness and confufion of the middle ages.
As I have ventured perhaps too hastily to commit to the press, & work, which, in every sense of the word, deserves the epithet of imperfed, I consider myself as contracting an engagement to finih, most probably in a second volume, the firit of these memorable periods; and to deliver to the Public, the complete history of the Decline and Fall of Rome, from the age of the Anionines, to the fubversion of the Western Empire. With regard to the subsequent periods, though I may entertain some hopes, I dare not presume to give any alsurances. The execution of such an extenfive plan, as I have traced out, and which might perhaps be comprehended in about four volumes, would fill up the long interval between ancient and modern history; but it would require many years of health, of leisure, and of perseverance.'
Before we proceed to give a general view of what is contained in this first volume, we cannot help expressing an earnest with, in which, we are persuaded, every intelligent reader of it will readily and heartily join us, that Mr. Gibbon's health and spirits may enable him, with pleasure and alacrity, to pro. secute and complete the extensive design which he has sketched out in his preface.
That part of the work which is now under our consideration, is divided into fixteen chapters, in the three firft of which, Mr. Gibbon describes the prosperous condition of the Roman Empise in the age of the Antonines ; giving a concise, but clear and distinct view of its extent and military force ; of its union and internal prosperity ; and of its conftitution, during this happy period.
After observing that the moderate fystem, recommended by the wisdom of Auguftus, was adopted by the fears and vices of his immediate successors, and that it was uniformly pursued by Hadrian and by the two Antonines, our Author proceeds, in his first chapter, to take a view of the military establiment of the Roman Empire; and after giving a general idea of the imperial forces, he tells us, that the most liberal computation which rea
fon S :
, wou might peran extcolume to