Imágenes de páginas

tation, but we have no room for them. putation and character, embarking in The private library of the Emperor of the hazardous experiment of a long Austria is particularly described, and and fatiguing journey, to the chief as for the public or imperial library, it capitals of France and Germany, for must be the Palace of Armida fitted the sake of making his countrymen up bibliographically! The earliest acquainted with the " bibliographical, sacred text extant, in Mr Dibdin's antiquarian, and picturesque treaopinion, which is a fragment of the sures in each. He carries with him book of Genesis, is viewed and de an artist, not of widely extended fame, scribed with feelings approaching to but an experimentalist, yet an able, rapture ! The copperplate engra- diligent, and, in the end, surprisingly vings, by way of fac-similes, are full successful artist. He spares no exof interest. After visiting the monas- pence- entertains him sometimes, it tery of Closterneuburg, about eight should seem, en prince and they miles beyond Vienna, and where Mr move on, lovingly and profitably toDibdin was tempted to offer, but in gether. He is afterwards paid for his vain, 2000 florins for about a dozen labours, both abroad and at home, and old books, from the library of the thus this arduous and elaborate persame monastery, our author turned formance comes before the public, to back with his heart and hopes set up- excite its notice, and to claim its proon Old England! Yet does he con- tection. Throughout the whole text, tinue to give us a very interesting ac- there is nothing which militates against count of Ratisbon, Nuremberg, and the canons of good taste and good prinManheim, in his route homewards, ciples. The author is always casting a adorned with some of the most beau- fondand" lingering look behind," upon tiful engravings in the work. The the white cliffsof his own country and Albert Durer Street, and the unknown the moon, which shines brightly over portrait, the interior of two churches his head at Vienna, is doubly brilliant at Nuremberg, and the specimens from and beautiful, from the reflection that lein's drawings and copperplates, his family and friends, at home, may (which latter, we think, might have be gazing on it at the same time! been well spared,) make the conclude Wherever he goes, the milk of good ing part of Mr Dibdin's tour as bril- humour is still flowing in his veins. liant a sunset as the commencement, He has no fierce national antipathies or morning part of it, is allowed to to indulge ; but, with the steadiest athave been “ cloudless."

tachment to the laws and religion of We had got thus far when we re his own country, he mingles with his ceived the additional plates, not com fellow creatures, as being, equally with pleted at the time of publication. Mr himself, "animated and upheld by Dibdin really seems to have no mercy one and the SAME POWER, and hoping upon his own purse, which we hope is that all may be benefited by a remore capacious than that of thegeneral. liance upon its goodness and bounty." ity of publishing travellers. Of these Vol. I. 184. plates, the vignette group of women On the score of absolute informaat prayers, the Hotel de Ville at Stutt- tion, chiefly for books, and in a great gart, and the Halt of Pilgrims to measure for architecture, these voGöttwic Monastery, are perfectly ex. lumes cannot fail to be referred to by quisite. Whatever the author may the future antiquary and collector. have done for himself, whether on the The work might have been, doubtscore of fortune or of fame, he has less, much compressed. Many traits been a kind and liberal benefactor to of character (although interesting in the brethren of the BURNA. Only a themselves) might have been omitword or two more, and we have done. ted, many exclamations, and many Justice demands the mention of fail- eulogies spared ; though we should ings and errors, as well as of excellences. have lost the raciness, as it were, of We admit, on a revision of our la- the performance. The style, too, is bours, that they are of a friendly com not to be imitated; by this we do not plexion, because, we think, a love of inean that it is inimitable, yet it behonesty and of PATRIOTIC feeling comes Mr Dibdin.

It is his own, mingles itself in the exercise of our quite original, and generally lively; functions, as just critics. Here is a and we should be sorry to see him apgentleman, and a clergyman, of re- pear in a different dress. Many notes



(that amiable failing of a bibliogra- destined for the occupation of his old phical mind !) might have been prun- age; but when he took a nearer view ed down to more readable dimensions, of his subject, judging, perhaps, that and the fervour of individual panegy. it was a more honourable, or a less rics frequently abated. The engra- invidious office, to record the vices vings likewise may be thought to in- of past tyrants, than to celebrate the trude too much upon the reader's at- virtues of a reigning monarch, he tention. But here comes the recol- chose rather to relate, under the lection of that perverse determination form of Annals, the actions of the (no doubt carried into effect ere now) four immediate successors of Augus. of DESTROYING these plates, and the tus. To collect, tu dispose, and to equally perverse one of never repub- adorn a series of fourscore years, in lishing the text! Wesuppose, however, an immortal work, every sentence of that all this is done with a thorough which is pregnant with the deepest knowledge of its beneficial results in observations and the most lively past instances. And thus, borrowing images, was an undertaking suffithe quaint phraseology so frequently cient to exercise the genius of Taciadopted by our author, take we our tus himself during the greatest part hearty farewell of the Reverend of his life.” THOMAS FROGNALL DIBDIN!

Tacitus was probably born in the reign of Claudius, which terminateil in October of the year 54, for about the year 76 he married the daughter of Agricola. The affectionate ac

count of Agricola's life was his first The fragments that have happily publication, but it is manifest, from come down to us of the writings of the inimitable introduction to that Tacitus, must ever remain unrivalled elegant piece of biography, that he as historical compositions. Not only was, at the time of publication, endo they display an accuracy of research gaged in writing his history. The and an exercise of sound judgment introduction we may suppose to have unknown to ancient historians, but been the last part of each work which they bear in every line proofs of a de- he finished ; hence the introduction gree of acquaintance with the sub- to the life of Agricola makes mention ject, and of an extent of labour in fi- of Nerva as Cæsar, while the introducnishing the composition, which no tion to the history alludes to him as modern historian has approached. no longer mortal. Tacitus must This proud pre-eminence may be therefore have published his life of partly ascribed to his choice of a pe. Agricola after the adoption of Trajan riod 'fresh in men's recollection, but and before the death of Nerva, as a much more to the singular character relief from the greater work in which of the writer. Mr Gibbon's digres- he was at the same time engaged. sion to celebrate his favourite model The elaborate essay on the boundaries, is highly interesting : “ Before he manners, and tribes, of the Germans, gave himself to the public, he calmly ought probably to be dated after the waited till his genius had attained its publication of the history, and before full maturity, and he was more than the composition of the Annals

. He forty years of age, when a grateful re says in that work: “We have seen gard for the memory of the virtuous Velleda long regarded by the GerAgricola, extorted from him the most mans in the reign of Vespasian, with early of those historical compositions divine reverence.” This fact Tacitus which will delight and instruct the has recorded in the very commencemost distant posterity. After mak-ment of Vespasian's reign, we may ing a trial of his strength in the life therefore more naturally apply the of Agricola, and the description of allusion to his history of the fact, Germany, he conceived and at length than to the fact itself. In another executed a more arduous work; the part of the essay, Tacitus mentions History of Rome, in thirty books, the second consulship of the Emperor from the fall of Nero to the accession Trajan. This only proves that it was of Nerva. The administration of published in the reign of Trajan. Nerva introduced an age of justice The Annals were evidently his last and prosperity, which "Tacitus had work. Tacitus was upwards of 63

years of age when Hadrian obtained But not so striking was the seasonathe empire, and it is not unlikely bleness of the time, as was the fitness that he lived during the greater part of the genius of Tacitus. Penetrating of that emperor's reign.

and philosophical in his observations The felicity of the circumstances in and researches, he discovered the hidwhich Tacitus wrote is singularly den springs of human conduct, and striking. From the death of Augus- traced the operations of conflicting tus, to the accession of Nerva, a pe- passions. Catching the expressive riod of about eighty-two years, the features of character and the decisive only respiration from capricious and incidents of narrative, with the inspirturbulent tyranny was during the ed felicity of poetry, he described twelve years in which Vespasian and them with the unvarnished fidelity of his son Titus reigned ; and Vespa- history. His style corresponds to his sian's reign is stained with the execu- severity of discrimination and accuration of Helvidius Priscus, the pride cy of description. Every sentence, and glory of the enthralled empire, every word, is fully tasked, and fully and a senator who had been respected performs its task. When you read even by the swinish Vitellius. From Tacitus you listen not to tedious tales the death of Domitian to the acces- and winding explanations, but you fix sion of Commodus, a period of 84 your eye on a panoramic picture. years, "the vast extent of the Ro- Foolish and mischievous have been man empire," as Mr Gibbon has ele- thedreams respecting the various styles gantly and extravagantly expressed it, in which history may be written. “was governed by absolute power, There is but one finished style, and under the guidlance of virtue and that is a style in which every word is wisdom.” Tacitus was born in the full of meaning, and not one word remiddle of the former period, and com- dundant. This style requires great laposed all his writings in the latter pe- bour, and great labour directed by geriod. He heard his father and his nius, infallibly finds and adopts it. father's friends relate their experience The style of Tacitus has all the graor their observation of the remorse- phic impressiveness of Hume, and all less hypocrisy of Tiberius, of the ca- the studied selection of Gibbon ; it pricious fury of Caligula, and of the never relaxes into the familiar negliunfeeling sottishness of Claudius; he gence of the former, and never reels in was himself capable of remarking the the fantastical gait of the latter. Rocharacter of the last years of Nero's bertson will give the English readreign, the eventful course of his three er the best illustration of Tacitus, short-lived successors, and the pro- yet even he falls far short of the fresh gress of Vespasian to tranquillize the reality which satisfies you, that you empire; he advanced through vari are awake, and conversant with actual ous gradations of public offices in the life. successive reigns of Vespasian, Titus, Let the attention be for a moment and Domitian. Accurately and feel fixed upon the destiny of this philoso ingly did he mark the dark principles phical phenix. A nation that exhiof tyranny, and the various motives bited the powers and the virtues of of its patient subjects, during the fif- the human mind in their proudest teen years that Domitian exercised a view, having subjected the world to savage and timid temper. The in- their dominion, were themselves stant he had emerged from this terri- overpowered, and ruled, by a succes fic oppression, he began to write its sion of profligate tyrants. They next history. The full contrast of the pe- experienced the authority of several riod in which he now breathed, and successive despots, who felt the imits clear assurance of settled tranquil- pulse of humanity, and respected the lity, gave him unlimited freedom of principles of justice. Then arose the narration and animadversion. Had frightfulstorms, which madeshipwreck Tacitus been born at an earlier period, of the Roman Empire, and spread the extension of tyranny, coeval with darkness and desolation from oneend of his life, would have prevented or de the world to the other. At this day, stroyed his writings'; had he been after the lapse of sixteen centuries, are born at a later period, he would have men employed in collecting the dehad no personal experience to give tached fragments of the mighty mass. truth and spirit to his delineations. During the profound calm which had



preceded this stort, did the most ac- Otho, of Vitellius and Vespasian, are complished writer record the history described in a style that must ever of the mightiest nation under the in- increase admiration, and deter compefliction of the worst despotism. He tition. Who can recollect without had been personally acquainted with anguish, that all the events which the unequalled evils of imperial tyran- marked the reigns of Vespasian, ny, and he drew a faithful picture of Titus, and Domitian, were, in like them; he rejoiced in the respite given manner, painted by the same masterto mankind under a milder denomina- ly artist, and that there is not a trace tion, but with the prophetic wisdom remaining? The life of Agricola, an of enlightened experience he foresaw inimitable model of dignified and the fearful tendency to inevitable modest, yet deeply interesting bioruin. The plaintive grandeur of Ta- graphy, supplies part of the historicitus fills the mind with melancholy cal loss. Its entire preservation concommiseration for our unhappy race; tributes greatly to enhance its interest. his involuntary lamentations for lost We visit ruins with eager curiosity; liberty inspire a holy ardour in the we delight to dwell on unimpaired noblest cause that interests society; mansions. his electric glances at the horrors of

(To be continued.) oppression overwhelm our rising execrations with wonder and despair. The writings of Tacitus, when entire, and universally intelligible, were unavailing. Men rushed precipitately

HENRY AINSWORTH was a Separatinto the depths of servile misery, and ist from the Church of England, superstitious horrors. Yet the ten- about the latter end of the reign of dency of writings has been called a Elizabeth, and belonged to that sect of crime. The writings of Tacitus, Ti- Christians known in church history berius or Domitian would have de- by the name of Brownists, though they stroyed, as fatal to the stability of the themselves seem to have disavowed empire. But they interrupted not that appellation. They differed chiefly the security of Commodus or of Ca. from other sects about church governracalla. Let political enthusiasts ment, and professed to be Congregaknow, that they may ruin themselves, tionalists, or what, in process of time, but cannot benefit society. Even were called Independents, because, Brutus fought, even Tacitus wrote, according to them, every church or without checking the downward course congregation was independent of the of mankind. But Tacitus was no en interference or control of another in thusiast. He wrote with equal feel the management of its affairs. They ing and fidelity, and his writings will were extremely averse to the for. continue to delight and improve, malities of the Church of England, atwhile reason and truth hold' their tempting on every occasion to ridicule sway among men.

and condemn them, * and would have That the works of Tacitus have been equally hostile to the Presbynot been preserved entire, is the great- terian Church, if they had sprung up est loss which the ages of darkness in a country where it was established have entailed on the world. Of six- by law. teen books of Annals, embracing fifty But while they rejected all ceremofour years of unrelieved tyranny, four nies in the government of the church, are wholly lost, and three are muti- they were ardent in the study of scriplated. We have no account of Cali- ture. Their theology chiefly consists gula's reign, and we want six years of ed in illustrating one passage of scripthe reign of his successor, Claudius. ture by another, and in expressing The fall of Sejanus, and the death of their ideas in scripture language. Nero, we miss. But still more grie. Whoever excelled in this respect was vous is the loss sustained from the reckoned "mighty in the scriptures," matilations of his finished history and qualified to teach others. To that Of a period of twenty-eight years, we office he was raised by the voice of have only the history of three years, the society, and laid it down at their and never did the tide of narrative flow so rich, so natural, and so majes Ainsworth's Arrow against Idolatry. tic. The civil conflicts of Galba and Edin. ed. p. 271.

among them.

pleasure. This was all the ordination his being poisoned by a Jew, who had

It is apparent that lost a jewel which Ainsworth found. tione could discharge the duties of All the reward which Ainsworth this office well, without attending to would accept was a conference with the Hebrew text. Henry Jacob, who some of the Rabbis about the grounds is said to have founded the first Inde- of their faith. The Jew promised, pendent congregation in England about but could not perform ; and the the year 1616, was skilled in He- murder of Ainsworth was the only brew; but none excelled Henry Ains- expedient which he could devise worth, concerning whose merits in to free himself from the obligation. this kind of literature we propose to For this story there is little foundamake a few remarks.

tion, and we are rather inclined to Of this man's personal history very believe what we are told by the aulittle is known. Where and of whom thor of a preface to one of his posthuhe was born ; what kind of education mous works, called a “Censure on an he received, and to what profession he Anabaptist,” &c. and who seems to was destined; how he conducted him- have been well acquainted with him. self in life, or bore the troubles of his This person mentions that he was situation, -none has thought proper to recently dead, and that he was ad. record.

vanced in age and infirmities when that While Whitgift and Bancroft filled event happened, which was about the the See of Canterbury, liberty of con- end of the year 1622 or the beginning science was destroyed, and no sect of 1623. whatever tolerated by Government ex In such obscurity is the name of cept the Church of England. Ains. Ainsworth involved - one of the best worth, therefore, and those of his sen- scholars of his age, and whose protiments, were forced, through the bi- gress in oriental literature would have gotry of the times, to abandon their na. been very great indeed, had it been his tive land, and seek an asylum in Hol- sole study. As it was, he had acquired land. Here they suffered much oblo- uncommon skill in Syriac and Chalguy, and were exposed to great distress. dee, but especially in Biblical and RabAinsworth is said to have been under binical Hebrew. Whether he was inthe necessity of acting as porter to a debted to any Jew of those times for bookseller in the streets of Amsterdam, assistance in this study, we know not, where he had no more than ninepence but we are certain that it was then a-week and some boiled roots for his the custom of the learned to receive support.

lessons in Hebrew from Jews. He Hardships and contempt were the was attracted to the study of the consequence of such poverty. The Hebrew scriptures from being teachDutch Government looked upon the er of the English Exiled Church exiles with an unfavourable eye, not at Amsterdam, while one Francis only from the bad accounts of them Johnson was the pastor. In what transmitted from Englanıl, but also respects these offices differed, is not from the hostility of Elizabeth, whom very obvious. ' Perhaps Ainsworth their High Mightinesses were unwill- expounded the scriptures, while Johning to offend. Their insignificance son conducted the devotions of the alone secured them from persecution. congregation, and urged the people

After staying some time at Amster- under his charge to the perforinance dam, it is asserted by Hoornbeck, † and of religious and moral duties. after him by Neal, that Ainsworth While acting in this capacity, he sailed to Ireland,and attempted to con- began his labours on the Hebrew scripvert the Irish ; but we have been un- tures. He translated the Pentateuch, able to find any other authority for this Psalms, and Song of Solomon, and report, and it does not seem very pro- wrote commentaries upon them. The bable. If ever he went thither, he Psalms and Song of Solomon were soon returned, and followed his fore first printed in 1612, Genesis in 1616, mer occupations.

Exodus in 1617, Leviticus 1618, and The same uncertainty hangs over Numbers and Deuteronomy 1619. his death. Neal tells a story about The whole were reprinted and col

lected into one volume folio, London, • Orme's Memoirs of Dr Owen, p. 69. 1627, and again in 1639, which edition + Summa Controversiarum, p. 740. is said to be scarce. By these works

« AnteriorContinuar »