« AnteriorContinuar »
comparata, eodem sit loco habenda, quem Apuleiana latinitas ad Livianam tenet.'
On the whole, although the discoveries which Mr. Mai has made in the Ambrosian library, are curious and interesting to the classical antiquary, they are not of that importance which the learned editor himself attaches to them; nor do they satisfy the expectations which the first intelligence of them had excited in our minds. We fear that no further hope is to be entertained, of recovering any material part of those treasures of antiquity, which have now for so many ages been lost. Even the rolls of papyrus from Herculaneum, as far as they have hitherto been deciphered, have proved to be of little value or importance. Some interesting discoveries have been made by Mr. Schneider amongst the MSS. of a dissolved monastery at Breslau, but no addition to the stock of authors. We are anxious that some able scholar should search the Laurentian library, at Florence, of which even the printed catalogue, so ably compiled by Bandini, proves that it contains much deserving of investigation: but in addition to the MSS. specified, we are informed that a great number have, within a few years, been added to the library from suppressed convents, of which there is no catalogue. There is one circumstance which might lead us to expect something from the libraries of the lower part of Italy, (especially those of Naples, which have not been carefully examined,) and that is the late prevalence of the Greek language in those countries which were anciently called Magna Græcia.
Galateus, who lived about the year 1500, assures us that when he was a boy, they spoke Greek in Callipolis, (Gallipoli,) a town on the east coast of the Bay of Taranto. And Barrius, who lived about fifty years later, says in his Antiquitates Calabriæ,' that the Archiepiscopal church of Rossano, in upper Calabria, retained the Greek tongue and liturgy till his time: and this was the case in many churches of Calabria till the middle of the fifteenth century. It appears that Barlaam, a Calabrian monk, who instructed Petrarca in Greek, spoke it as his native tongue, and knew but little of Latin.
Before our readers take leave of Mr. Mai, it may be as well to inform them, that he is preparing for publication a fac-simile of a very ancient MS. containing about 800 lines of the Iliad, with paintings illustrative of the descriptions of the poem. The character of this MS. which is of parchment, is very remarkable, On one side of the leaf are the paintings, on the reverse the poetry; but this reverse had been covered with silk paper, on which are written some scholia, and the arguments of some books of the Iliad. Mr. Mai separated the paper from the parchment, which last he thinks was written on at least 1400 years ago. The Aristarchean
tarchean edition of Homer appears to have furnished the text of this MS. From another of the Ambrosian manuscripts, M. Andrea Mystoxides, a Greek of Corcyra, has published the oration of Isocrates Tepì avridóσews, with an addition of about eighty pages; but he has not fulfilled his task in a very critical or workmanlike
ART. III. Narrative of a Residence in Ireland during the Summer of 1814, and that of 1815. By Anne Plumptre, Author of Narrative of a Three Years' Residence in France, &c. illustrated with numerous Engravings of Remarkable Scenery. London. 4to. pp. 398.
WE E were about to begin by exclaiming Sir John Carr in petticoats!' but our respect for Sir John induced us to desist from a comparison which he does not deserve. Sir John was, it must be confessed, trivial and superficial, but he was not, like Miss Plumptre, pedantic and dull; his taste was not very good, nor his pleasantry always select, but he was not, like Miss Plumptre, gross and vulgar: he had a sufficient share of personal vanity, but he had not all the conceit of Miss Plumptre; and accordingly we find that his works, laughed out of literary life as they have deservedly been, are in most respects less ridiculous, and in every point of view, less revolting, than the trash which Miss Plumptre has, with an unlucky industry, gleaned after him.
A combination of circumstances rendered Miss Plumptre desirous of seeing Dublin and the North of Ireland, and she gladly accepted a proposal made by her friends, Mr. and Mrs. C(We really pity the persons who have visited Ireland in the last two or three years, and whose names begin with this unfortunate letter.) Liverpool was the place fixed for embarkation; but a friend of Mr. C's convinced him that it would be cheaper and better to go to Bristol and there take the accommodation of a trading vessel to Dublin; but alas! on their arrival at Bristol, this economical scheme was overthrown-their friend, it seems proved false, and very, very false,' for there was no trader sailing for Dublin, and they had now only the alternative of going in the packet to Waterford, which would have cost three guineas! and left them still sixty miles from Dublin; or of crossing the country to Liverpool, whence they could reach Dublin in the regular packets for 17. 1s. This last consideration determined the tourists, and by the help of all the cross stage-coaches in the North-west of England, they arrived
arrived safely and cheaply at Liverpool.-One singular advantage which this plan had, and for which Miss Plumptre ingenuously applauds it, was, that instead of obliging her to travel sixty additional miles in Ireland, the country which she was professedly going to visit and write about, it led her through the counties of Gloster, Shropshire, and Chester.
At Liverpool, however, they embarked, and while all the other passengers contented themselves with laying in provisions for the body, Miss Plumptre-she must take the whole credit to herself'
had the providence to lay in food for the mind,' and she accordingly put up with her sea-stores, what? Lady Morgan's excellent novel of O'Donnell-food for the mind' with a vengeance! for it seems it was to serve her as a chart at sea, a road-book ashore, and an introduction into society
As I was going to visit a part of Ireland admirably described in this work, the county of Antrim, and had besides a letter of introduction to the amiable authoress at Dublin, it received great additional interest from being read as I was crossing the Irish Channel.'-pp. 8. 9. Our readers will easily judge of a tour made under such auspices. But this work was not Miss Plumptre's only guide: before she left London, she had the good fortune to meet, and the good sense to engage, a very singular sort of companion,
A servant hired for the excursion-who having, like myself, ac quired a smattering of mineralogical knowledge, was not less eager in the pursuit of aliment to increase and nourish it.'-p. 3.
The happy promise which these preparations give, our readers will find that the work amply fulfils. The historical and geographical parts are fully equal to Lady Morgan's romance, and the scientific parts do great honour to the mineralogical footman.
Miss Plumptre hastens to shew the whole extent of her skill, and to astound us in an early stage of our acquaintance, with the variety and accuracy of her information, by acquainting us, on the subject of the Lighthouse of hewn stone which is built nearly in the middle of the bay of Dublin, that
In order to obviate the objection to the sandy foundation on which this structure was of necessity to be raised, it is built on empty woolpacks; an idea for which the engineer was indebted to the ingenuity of his wife.'-p. 10.
We could have wished that the philosophical footman had explained in a note on this passage what his mistress meant by an empty woolpack, and in what way woolpacks, full or empty, could have occurred to the mind of the engineer's wife as a fit foundation for a lighthouse.
Her taste in landscape and the fine arts is equally exquisite-she
finds the bay of Dublin very beautiful, but not so much so as the bay of Toulon and Belfast Lough; and she gives a view of it which certainly would justify her preferring Sheerness harbour or one of the Lincolnshire washes to this celebrated scene. It was drawn by her good friend Mr. C-, who, living in one of the houses' of an unfinished street in the outskirts of Dublin' was struck with the view and sketched it.' It presents,' Miss Plumptre adds with great naïveté, ' a different view of the bay from any hitherto given to the public.' It certainly does-it excludes three-fourths of the extent, and all the beauty of the scene-it exhibits neither the bay, nor the villas, nor the mountains; nor the river, nor the city which adorns its banks; but there happens to be in one corner of the bay a muddy shoal, the land bordering upon which is a fetid morass, with a salt-work and a few wretched cottages, in which the lowest class of labourers reside,—and this is just the view of the bay of Dublin which her friend Mr. C→ selected to sketch, and which Miss Plumptre chooses to present to us: if our ideas of the local be correct, there was no other spot on the shores of the bay from which the whole of its beauties could have been excluded. No wonder that it presents a view hitherto unknown to the public!
Miss Plumptre has the good fortune to find in Dublin all the advantages which the age of chivalry could have afforded to a wandering damsel and her squire-she is attended by two knights, at whose potent command the recesses of the most secret and mysterious curiosities are thrown open to her.
Sir Arthur Clarke, who is, it seems, a respectable apothecary, procured her,' through his obliging attentions, and his connexion with the proprietors,' not merely an admission into the Bank of Ireland-but, (such was his potency,) into places of the building not commonly shewn. Whatever those places may have been, Miss Plumptre has behaved with a discretion which justifies Sir Arthur's confidence, for she certainly does not mention any thing which may not be found drawn or described in every work which affects to treat of this edifice.
While Sir Arthur Clarke opened to Miss Plumptre the Bank, and the Custom House and Surgeons' Hall, and certain nameless places within these buildings which are not commonly shewn, Sir William Betham, another Knight, (by profession a herald at arms,) by his politeness and patronage,' procured her the advantage of seeing that most recondite and mysterious adytum, the Castle Chapel beautiful specimen (she says) of modern taste and industry; the ornaments being chiefly copied from York Cathedral. (p. 30.) We shrewdly suspect that Miss Plumptre never saw York Cathedral, and we confess that we never saw the Castle Chapel: but we are inclined,
inclined, with all due respect to Miss Plumptre, to believe that the said Chapel may resemble York Minster, as the Golden Cross Jun, at Charing Cross, does King Henry the Seventh's Chapel. If we are in an error we beg her and Sir William Betham's pardon.
Miss Plumptre is so fond of Knights, that she takes the liberty of conferring that dignity herself-thus we have twice or thrice over that eminent friend to his country, Mr. Foster, (well known to every body but Miss Plumptre, for his long public services, and for the most active and generous patronage of the arts and manufactures of Ireland,) travestied into Sir John Foster.This trivial mistake proves Miss Plumptre's general state of ignorance, with regard to Ireland, to a greater extent than at first appears: for it is impossible to have given any attention to the history of Irish politics, finances, arts, manufactures, or agriculture for the last fifty years, without being acquainted with the name of Mr.
We really have some compunction in mentioning the names of persons, whom the unlucky friendship of Miss Plumptre exposes to ridicule in her book-they may, for aught we know, be as ridiculous as her portraits represent them, but as we do not know that they are so, we shall spare them the disgrace of being quoted by name as accomplices in Miss Plumptre's vulgar absurdity; but we cannot refrain from giving the conclusion of her eulogy on a literary gentleman and his wife, whose name we shall, however, suppress,— the whole passage is too long to be extracted, but the last two paragraphs will shew the taste in which Miss Plumptre writes, and the happy consistency of her ideas.
Mr.'s ardour in pursuing the objects by which he is thus deeply interested has a very able and admirable support, in one of the happiest and most extensive of memories: the minute details which are stored in his mind, and which he puts forth in conversation in the most instructive manner, are really astonishing. Besides his rich collections relative to Irish antiquities, he has a number of scarce and valuable books in a great variety of languages both ancient and modern, with books of prints, &c. &c. in short, his library is an inexhaustible source of instruction and entertainment. I saw it in a state of great disorder, as he was but just removed into a new house in Harcourt-street, and half the books were lying scattered about the floor. Mrs. Mmost lovely and amiable woman, alike in person and disposition, has a few very fine specimens of old china.'-pp. 35, 36.
Another of her female acquaintance, whose name we also suppress, she praises, not for old china but, for a quality which quite startles us, when attributed to a lady, nay, to a titled lady. She is very musical,' says her admirer, and possesses a singular talent