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ments of Petronius, will find it difficult to answer the objections of Burman and Perizonius.
42. In grave Quintilian's copious works we find
The justest rules and clearest method join'd.* -
To commend Quintilian barely for his method, and to insist merely on this excellence, is below the merit of one of the most rational and elegant of Roman writers. Considering the nature of Quintilian's subject, he afforded copious matter for a more appropriated and poetical character. No author ever adorned a scientifical treatise with so many beautiful metaphors. Quintilian was found in the bottom of a tower of the monastery of St. Gal, by Poggius, as appears by one of his letters, dated 1417, written from Constance, where the council was then sitting. The monastery was about twenty miles from' that city. Silius Italicus, and Valerius Flaccus, were found at the same time and place. • A history of the manner in which the manuscripts of ancient authors were found, would be an entertaining work to persons of literary curiosity.
* Ver. 669.
. ;43» ^fcpgj bblfl Lt)NGiNtjs, all the Niae inspfjre', ,
And bless their critic with a poet's fire.*
. ' .-it . ..'A : i. . ..'!,.' . ..Jij-"|iiu '..
This .abrupt address to Longinus is more spirited and striking, and more suitable to the character of the person addressed, than if he had coldly :spoken of him in the third person.: The taste and sensibility of Longinus were exquisite; but his observations are too general, , and his me" thod too. loose. The precision of the true philosophical critic is lost in the declamation of the florid rhetorician. Instead of shewing for what reason a sentiment or image is Sublime, and discovering the secret power by which they affect a reader with pleasure, he is ever intent on producing something Sublime kitfitelf, and strokes of his own eloquence. Instead of pointing out the foundation of . the grandeur of Homer's imagery,, where he describes the motion of Nep« 4# tune, the critic is endeavouring to rival the poet, by saying, thatthere was not room enough in the whole earth to take such another step." He should have shewn why the speech of Phaeton to his son, iu a fragment of Euripides, was so lively . . - ., and
*1 Ven 675,
and picturesque; instead of which, he ardently exclaims, "would not you.say, that the soul...off the writer ascended the chariot with the driver, arid was whirled along in . the same flight and danger with the rapid horses?" We have lately seen a just specimen of the genuine method of criticising, in Mr. Harris's accurate Discourse on Poetry, Painting, and Music; ^ I have frequently wondered, that Longinus, Ay ho mentions Tully, should have taken no notice of Virgil. I'suppose he thought him only a servile copier of the Greeks, v '•' i i^ri .Li-.v' \■ ,"ti'.1'r.;
44. From the'same foes, at last, both felt t'ho'ir doom;,'
And the same age saw learning fall and Rome.*
, f. . ,, ... ,,... . t . , nj.i ■' - :. 't i.'.i :u,.:
r . ti '
j: , :. 11.) it•• . . .. ,•;. ;. . .
"'Twas the fate of Rome to have scarce an
intermediate age, or single period of. time, between the rise of^fs and fall of liberty. No sooner had that nation begun to lose the rough-fe
ness and barbari.ty of their manners, and learn of Greece to form their heroes, their orators, and poets, on a right model, than, by their .unjust
a.ttempt upon the liberty of the world, they justly
.i' , ,
* Ver. 685."
lost their own. With their liberty, they lost not only their force of eloquence, but even then* style and language itself. The poets who afterwards arose among them, were mere unnatural and forced plants. Their Two most finished, who came last, and closed the scene, were plainly such as had seen the days of liberty, and felt the sad effects of its departure.''*
s^/ Shaftesbury proceeds to observe, that when despotism was fully established, not a statue, picture, or medal, not a tolerable piece of architecture, afterwards appeared. And it was, I may add, the opinion of Longinus, and Addison, who adopted it from him, that arbitrary governments \y were pernicious to the fine arts, as well as to the sciences. Modern history, however, has afforded an example to the contrary. Painting, sculpture, and music, have beeffteen to arrive to a high perfection in Rome, notwithstanding the slavery and superstition that reign there: nay, superstition itself has been highly productive of these fine arts; for'with what enthusiasm must a
* Advice to an Author, vol. i. pag. 148. Edit. 12mo.
popish painter work for an altar-piece? There have been instances of painters, who, before they began to work, have always received the sacrament. Neither Dante, Ariosto, nor Tasso, flourished in free governments; and it seems* chimerical to assert, that Milton would never have written his Paradise Lost, if he had not seen monarchy destroyed, and the state thrown into disorder. Michael Angelo, Raphael, and Julio Romano, lived in despotic states. The fine arts, in short, are naturally attendant upon power and luxury. But the sciences require unlimited freedom to raise them to their full vi§jur and growth. In a Monarchy, there may be poets, painters, and musicians; but orators, historians, and philosophers, can exist in a Republic alone.
45. A second deluge learning thus o'er-run.
And the monks ffPfci'd what the Goths begun.f
Every custom and opinion that can degrade and deform humanity, were to be found in tha
* See Enquiry into the Life and Writings of Homer,
f Vsr. 681.