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LINE 13.

how bright the high-soul'd father shone.

PTOLEMY LAGUS (one of ALEXANDER's captains) inherited, on the death of his mafter, a confiderable portion of the empire. Egypt, Lybia, and that part of Arabia which borders upon Egypt, fell to his share.

LINE 50.

Not one reflects the image of the fire.

Thus JUVENAL, in his fixth fatire:

Nobilis Euryalum mirmillonem exprimet infans.

Line 81.

And afterwards

Ethiopis fortaffe pater.

HESIOD remarks as a happiness attending good men, that

Τίκτεσιν δε γυναίκες εοικότα τεκνα γονεύσι

Indeed it was a general perfuafion among the ancients, that thofe children who did not resemble their parents, were illegitimate. This notion hath been tranfmitted to modern times. The Calabrians (according to Mr. SWINBURNE) believe that every child, whose mother hath been true to her marriage-vow, muft neceffarily refemble the father. It is, no doubt, an easy matter (adds our favourite traveller) to perfuade a peasant who feldom confiders the lineaments of his face in a glass, that the features of the infant are miniature copies of his : But if he were to become thoroughly convinced, that no fuch resemblance exifted, he would never be perfuaded to pardon his wife, or look upon the child in any other light, than that of a bastard.

LINE 67.

Then brightening Coos, as fhe faw thee born, &c.

This imperfonation of the island is in the true Scriptural manner, The valleys fhall laugh and fing.' Why hop ye fo, 'ye high hills - Break forth into finging, ye mountains! O




• forest, and every tree therein!' and many other figurative expreffions, conceived in a fimilar ftile of Oriental magnificence, might be adduced, as bearing a general resemblance to the bold imagery of our poet.

LINE 87.

Yet where the fatness of the Nile o'erflows.

In the time of HERODOTUS, the Nile was an hundred days rifing, and as many fubfiding. The inundation is now much lefs. See HERODOTUS, Euterpe, p. 55.

PLINY fays that the Nile received no rivers into it. Later obfervations have proved his mistake.

For entertaining accounts of the Nile, fee ELIAN's Var. Hift. STRABO. Arabian Nights Entertainments, vol. 4.—IN VIRGIL'S 4th Georgick we have very poetical lines on the subject.

To discover the fource of the Nile, was a great defideratum among the ancients. But all their attempts in pursuit of this object, proved abortive. Whether the moderns have been more fuccessful or not, may be confidered as rather problematical—so inconfiftent and contradictory are the reports of the miffionaries and other travellers who pretend to have effected the discovery.

KIRCHER tells us, that the Nile takes its rife in the kingdom of Gojam, from a fmall aperture on the top The of a mountain. communications of Mr. BRUCE on this topic have been generally received as authentic; though Baron de Torr hath attempted to deftroy their credit. The French traveller afferts, "that the fources of the Nile are not yet known, though one BRUCE, an Englishman, hath paffled for the difcoverer of them." The tranflator cannot pretend to enter into the merits of the cafe.* A few anecdotes from the Baron's book fhall conclude thefe defultory remarks.


It is to be observed (fays the Baron) that the water of the Nile becomes thick, by wafhing the clayey foil over which it

Mr. BRUCE, who has published his book fince this note was written, can fufficiently anfwer for himself.


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paffes: It appears, when drunk, as light and limpid as the cleareft. The Egyptians themselves believe it to be nourishing, and say, whoever drinks of their river will never remove to any great distance from its banks. The divine honors the Ægyptians paid to the Nile are, in a manner, ftill preserved under the Mahometans. They give this river the title of Most Holy: They likewise honour its increase with all the ceremonies practised by Pagan antiquity. The ancient Egyptians had the barbarous custom of facrificing a young girl to the Nile, when the waters were arrived at a certain height. They called her the Aroosa, or the Bride. And the name and ceremonies of this fanguinary feaft are still preserved; though the Caliph OMAR rendered it more humane, by fubftituting a pillar of earth, which represents the victim, and is thrown into the Nile.

LINE 105.

Through all thy marts the tide of commerce flows.

Mr. SAVARY, in his letters on Egypt, describes the revolutions of Egyptian commerce in ancient and modern times. The æra of PTOLEMY was not the leaft illuftrious. PTOLEMY PHILADELPHUS (fays he) imitated the example of his father, continued the canal from the Red Sea to the Nile, and had the glory of completing it. In the latitude of Siene, he built on the Red Sea, a city, which, in honor of his mother, he called Berenice; between which and Cophtos he established inns, and provided cifterns of water, for the use of the caravans that in twelve days traversed these burning fands. To protect their commerce, the PTOLEMIES maintained a formidable fleet, both in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. PTOLEMY PHILADELPHUS had ninetyfeven veffels, moft of which were 200 feet long, with many more of inferior fize; and innumerable advice-boats and pacquets, deftined for conveying orders, &c. through his dominions. Compared with fome of the Egyptian veffels, particularly the galley described by PLUTARCH in his life of DEMETRIUS, our largest men of war would appear but fmall frigates. A nation must have acquired great skill in fhip-building, which could produce fuch

L 2

fuch prodigies of art as no fucceeding age hath been able to imitate. By means of their commerce and naval power, the Egyptians, though they never were distinguished for their military skill and courage, were enabled to extend their conquests into the remoter parts of Æthiopia and Jemen-and the PTOLEMIES had thirty-three thousand cities fubject to their power. These facts would appear incredible, were they not attested' by the moft authentic authors; and did we not reflect, to what fplendor commerce might raise a kingdom washed by two feas, and enjoying the treasures of an inexhauftible foil.'-See Monthly Review, vol. 74, p. 527. See alfo Universal Hift. vol. 9, 8vo. p. 283.

LINE 123.

His bards, with melancholy step, depart.

The fame of PTOLEMY's munificence drew feven poets to his court, who, from their number, were called the PleiadesTHEOCRITUS, CALLIMACHUS, APOLLONIUS, ARATUS, LYCOPHRON, NICANDER, and PHILICUS.

LINE 131.

Lo PTOLEMY, on virtue's arduous road,
Hath in the footsteps of his father trode.


Thus HEINSIUS interprets this difficult paffage: PTOLEMY alone treading clofe in the footsteps of his fathers, yet warm in the duft, defaced and rose over them'-alluding to an expreffion used in a certain conteft among the ancients: EwiCεCnna Cov, Ypxvw I have stept over you-I am beyond you. For illuftrations of the above, fee Hoм. Iliad xxiii. 763, and PINDAR Pyth. viii. 48. Nem. vi. 28. Pyth. vi. 45.

For a sketch of PTOLEMY's character, fee Idyll. xiv. See also Univerfal History.

Yet PTOLEMY, it seems, with all his virtues, had a mixture of envy in his compofition. His prohibiting the exportation of the Papyrus, left ATTALUS king of Pergamus fhould furpass him

in the accumulation of MSS. (which were eafily copied on this Egyptian paper) detracts, in no trifling degree, from his character of liberality. The prohibition, however, gave occafion to a more useful invention. The fpirit of ATTALUS was too active to acquiefce in the obstruction of its views. We are told that being forbidden to use the papyrus, he invented the pergamena or parchment.

In regard to their accumulation of books, and their patronage of literary men, there is no doubt but ATTALUS and PTOLEMY were partly influenced by the love of learning. But emulation (or rather envy) was the moft powerful principle. To this fpirit of rivalry the celebrated library at Alexandria, which, according to A. GELLIUS, confifted of 700,000 volumes, in a great meafure owed its magnificence, though not its existence. It was burnt about fifty years before Chrift, by CESAR's foldiers. From its afhes arose another library, that (equally ill-fated) was destroyed in the fixth century, by the Caliph OMAR, the contemporary and companion of MAHOMET. See Abul. Phar. Hift. p. 180, and Modern Univ. Hift. vol. i. p. 498.

To the well-verfed in literature, the "Philological Enquiries" of the truly learned and polished HARRIS will furnish most elegant amufement on the fubject before us. His reflexions are thofe of a man, who, poffeffing uncommon erudition, looks back with complacency on the career of science he hath run, and reviews with fenfibility and taste the more ftriking incidents in the regions of philology.

It is remarkable enough that the Saracens were, afterwards, as eager to preserve, as they were first active to destroy literature. In their treaties with the Greek Emperors, they demanded, by express articles, the works of the ancients.

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