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Impulsus erumpit medius liquor,
Nunc et recluso carcere lucidam
Quin hæc cadentum fragmina montium
Mox iterum reditura formam. Nimbis rubentem sulphureis Jovem Cernas; ut udis sævit atrox hyems Incendiis, commune mundo
Et populis meditata bustum! Nudus liquentes plorat Athos nives, Et mox liquescens ipse adamantinum Fundit cacumen, dum per imas Saxa fluunt resoluta valles. Jamque alta cœli monia corruunt, Et vestra tandem pagina (proh nefas!) BURNETTE, vestra augebit ignes, Heu socio peritura mundo. Mox æqua tellus, mox subitus viror Ubique rident: En teretem globum! En læta vernantis Favoni
Flamina, perpetuosque flores! O pectus ingens! O animum gravem, Mundi capacem! si bonus auguror, Te, nostra quo tellus superbit, Accipiet renovata civem.
USEFULNESS OF ANCIENT MEDALS.
ESPECIALLY IN RELATION TO THE LATIN AND GREEK POETS.
Quoniam hæc ratio plerumque videtur
Tristior esse, quibus non est tractata, retroque
OCCASIONED BY MR. ADDISON'S TREATISE ON
SEE the wild waste of all-devouring years!
Perhaps by its own ruins saved from flame,
Ambition sighed. She found it vain to trust
Huge moles whose shadow stretched from shore to shore,
A narrow orb each crowded conquest keeps ;
The medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
This the blue varnish, that the green endears,
The sacred rust of twice ten hundred years.
To gain Pescennius one employs his schemes;
One grasps a Cecrops in ecstatic dreams :
Poor Vadius, long with learned spleen devoured,
Can taste no pleasure since his shield was scoured;
Theirs is the vanity, the learning thine.
Oh when shall Britain, conscious of her claim,
A Virgil there, and here an Addison.
Then shall thy Craggs (and let me call him mine)
With aspect open shall erect his head,
And round the orb in lasting notes be read.
Statesman, yet friend to truth! in soul sincere,
In action faithful, and in honour clear;
Who broke no promise, served no private end,
And praised, unenvied, by the muse he loved." A. POPE.
CYNTHIO, Eugenius, and Philander had retired together from the town to a country village, that lies upon the Thames. Their design was to pass away the heat of the summer among the fresh breezes that rise from the river, and the agreeable mixture of shades and fountains, in which the whole country naturally abounds. They were all three very well versed in the politer parts of learning, and had travelled into the most refined nations of Europe: so that they were capable of entertaining themselves on a thousand different subjects, without running into the common topics of defaming public parties, or particular persons. As they were intimate friends they took the freedom to dissent from one another in discourse, or upon occasion to speak a Latin sentence without fearing the imputation of pedantry or illbreeding.
They were one evening taking a walk together in the fields, when their discourse accidentally fell upon several unprofitable parts of learning. It was Cynthio's humour to run down everything that was rather for ostentation than use. He was still preferring good sense to arts and sciences, and often took a pleasure to appear ignorant, that he might the better turn to ridicule those that valued themselves on their books and studies, though at the same time one might very well see that he could not have attacked many parts of learning so successfully, had not he borrowed his assistances from them. After having rallied a set or two of virtuosos, he fell upon the medalists.
'Mr Addison's great reputation is chiefly owing to what he wrote in prose. This part of his works, then, will deserve to be studied with care. It is scarce possible to examine a writer of this class, without admiring sometimes. But I shall do it sparingly. It will be more useful to point out his defects, which, in such a crowd of beauties, may be overlooked, or may themselves be mistaken for beauties. Nor let the presumption of this attempt give offence to any, even though they should dissent from me, in the instances alleged: for, to be at the pains of inquiring whether such a writer have any faults, is, in effect, to pay the highest compliment to his merit. And for the rest, I commit myself to the candour of all capable judges.-Nam etiam cum judicium meum ostendero, suum tamen legentibus relinquam.
2 Defaming public parties, is not a topic, but a mode of treating it. It had been more exact to say, "into the common practice of defaming public parties," &c.
These gentlemen, says he, value themselves upon being critics in rust, and will undertake to tell you the different ages of it by its colour. They are possessed with a kind of learned avarice, and are for getting together hoards of such money only as was current among the Greeks and Latins. There are several of them that are better acquainted with the faces of the Antonines than of the Stuarts, and would rather choose to count out a sum in sesterces than in pounds sterling. I have heard of one in Italy that used to swear by the head of Otho. Nothing can be pleasanter than to see a circle of these virtuosos about a cabinet of medals, descanting upon the value, rarity, and authenticalness1 of the several pieces that lie before them. One takes up a coin of gold, and after having well weighed the figures and inscription, tells you very gravely, if it were brass, it would be invaluable. Another falls a ringing a Pescennius Niger, and judiciously distinguishes the sound of it to be modern.2 A third desires you to observe well the toga on such a reverse, and asks you whether you can in conscience believe the sleeve of it to be of the true Roman cut.
I must confess, says Philander, the knowledge of medals has most of those disadvantages that can render a science ridiculous, to such as are not well versed in it. Nothing is more easy than to represent as impertinences any parts of learning that have no immediate relation to the happiness or convenience of mankind. When a man spends his whole life among the stars and planets, or lays out a twelve-month on the spots in the sun, however noble his speculations may be, they are very apt to fall into burlesque. But it is still more natural to laugh at such studies as are employed on low and vulgar objects. What curious observations have been made on spiders, lobsters, and cockle-shells! yet the
1 Substantives terminating in ess, especially if polysyllables, have an ill effect in our language. We now say, authenticity.
2 Judiciously distinguishes the sound of it to be modern.] Inaccurately expressed. It should have been, "judiciously observes the sound of it to be modern." We say, to distinguish one thing from another; or, to distinguish between one thing and another, but not, to distinguish any thing to be. If the word distinguishes be here used, it should be in some such way as this, "distinguishes the sound of it from that of an ancient coin." We first perceive a distinction between two things, and then conclude this not to be that. The word distinguishes is here used by Mr. A. as if it implied an act of the mind, which is consequent to distinguishing The word is, therefore, improper.