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There is often as much of affectation as of ignorance in this love of ruggedness,' this contempt of polish. Of all literary coxcombries it is one of the most disgusting. It is a tacit profession of being occupied only with the higher requisites of poetry, and of unwillingness to condescend to the cultivation of minor graces-it is one mode of pretending to have written with ease and rapidity—it is an assumption of such superior merit, as must make minor blemishes of no importance,mere specks in the sun, dust in the balance, when weighed against the author's manifold perfections, and which readers ought to disregard. With this pitiful affectation we do not say that Mr Reade is chargeable. The ruggedness' of his lines may perhaps proceed from an inability to distinguish what is or is not harmonious in verse. If so, we are sorry for it; for he is deficient in one of those qualities, without which no man can aspire to the character of a poet.
We cannot close this article without adverting to Mr Reade's allusions to two distinguished contemporaries. Is it wise, or modest, for a young and unknown poet, to usher in his first work with the following quotation, as an apology for writing? When Southey's read, and Wordsworth understood, I can't help putting in my claim for praise.'
It is perhaps to be regretted, that Lord Byron should have made so flippant an attack. But that which in Lord Byron was only arrogant and discourteous, becomes the height of absurdity when proceeding from Mr Reade. It is well known to our readers, that we are not to be classed among the enthusiastic admirers of the poetry either of Mr Wordsworth or Mr Southey; but we cannot on that account be insensible to Mr Reade's presumption. Mr Southey, whatever may be his defects of taste and judgment, occupies a very distinguished place among the poetry of his country, and has gained, both by the strength and variety of his talents, a celebrity to which we do not expect that Mr Reade is ever likely to attain. But we shall see that Mr Reade claims more than equality with Mr Southey. In one of the notes in the volume containing Cain the Wanderer,' we find the following passage :-' How dared Southey, of all men, to set himself up as his [i. e. Shelley's] judge? Was he so superior to him in talent? I am of opinion,' &c. And then he proceeds to deliver his judgment upon Shelley, claiming for his own superior talent the privilege which he denies to Southey. In another note, he speaks of 'poor Milman, struggling for once to say something out of the 'common.' It is unnecessary to comment on these passages; to quote them is to expose them.
In taking leave of Mr Reade we shall bestow a word of advice, which we should not offer if we did not think that his works evinced a misdirection and abuse, rather than a deficiency of talent. We believe him capable of better things; but it is necessary that he should select subjects more suited to his powers, that he should entertain a humbler opinion of his own abilities, that he should abstain from exaggeration,—that he should cultivate a purer style, should study to express more clearly his meaning,-and should become more grammatical in his construction, and less rugged in his metre.
ART. VI.-The History and Antiquities of the Doric Race. By C. O. MÜLLER, Professor in the University of Göttingen. Translated from the German, by HENRY TUFNELL, Esq., and GEORGE CORNEWALL LEWIS, Esq. 2 vols. 8vo. Oxford: 1830.
T is the common, and perhaps inevitable, defect of ordinary teachers, to fall very soon into a dull routine, to adopt a limited course of instruction, which has usually been transmitted from their predecessors, and not merely to repeat it without addition or improvement, but often, through a continually increasing languor and oscitancy, to detract somewhat from its original merit at each succeeding repetition. The listless monotony sometimes threatens to extinguish curiosity, and to annihilate utterly and for ever all literary emulation; but the occasional appearance of an instructor, endued with talents and originality, reanimates the sluggish listener, and infuses new life and vigour into an expiring science.
We may include historians amongst the most important teachers, and we may justly accuse them of participating largely in the defect of which we have briefly spoken; they are peculiarly liable to the charge of rendering their precious lessons so tasteless, that if they do not create disgust, they fail egregiously in stimulating the appetite of those who should feed on them. In proportion as the matter related is intrinsically important, the history is commonly jejune and impotent in execution; if the narrative is pregnant with political wisdom, and fertile in examples of public and private virtue, the style of the narrator is most probably repulsive, and his work void, and without form or comeliness. The wonderful tale is passed from the lips of one sloven to another, until, through the insipidity of the successive messengers, it becomes itself insipid, although a message of high import; the statement of startling
events is transcribed fully, or in an abridgement, carelessly, or correctly, but with so cold a hand, that attention is at last benumbed, and even the sedulous read only with the eyes, and not with the mind. The fortunes of Greece and of Rome claim the pre-eminence over the chronicles of other nations; their claim is universally acknowledged, and accordingly their annals have long been consigned to the most vapid and frigid of writers, who have laboured with much success to wean students from themes that are in themselves so attractive. Those who love exaggeration affirm, that had the monopoly of dulness been secure from invasion a little longer, although the memory of the Greeks and Romans might have slumbered sccurely in unopened volumes, it would soon have ceased to live, and to kindle active thoughts in the moving fancies of mankind. If we take the most sober view of the consequences, and estimate at the lowest rate the effects of the great phenomena that sometimes arise in the world of letters, we must still attribute vast influence to the productions of master-minds, that at once rouse large classes of scholars from a long and deep sleep. By his Roman History, the incomparable Niebuhr gave an astonishing impulse throughout Europe to the cultivation of that department of letters. A stimulus, the same in kind, but inferior in degree, has been conveyed by Professor Müller; the publication of his History of the Dorians has directed the attention of the learned to the investigation of the History of Greece, and has shaken off whatever languor lately oppressed that pursuit, in consequence of the lifeless and wearisome repetitions of transcribers and compilers. We must express our regret and mortification, that although our means of reward are great, and indeed almost boundless, there should be no encouragement to produce original works that would rival the erudite volumes of which we speak; but it is a slight consolation to find, that they have been rendered accessible to our countrymen through faithful and accurate translations. We accordingly propose to give some account of the History of the Dorians, generally, and after the manner of journalists, with due regard to the patience of our readers, and to the just claims of others, not particularly and according to the erudition and merits of the work, for a space nearly equal to the bulk of the history itself, would be required to allow us to afford a critical examination of the numerous questions that the abundant learning and ingenuity of the author have raised. By refusing the ordinary and long-accepted materials of history, and by attempting to build up the Roman edifice without them, and in spite of them, and by means of the discussions that necessarily flowed from such a course, Niebuhr was
enabled to give an impulse, not less vivid than the electric shock, to the study of Roman antiquities. By a proceeding equally novel, and scarcely less bold, has Professor Müller endeavoured to infuse fresh life into Grecian Archæology. He has composed a history, not of Greece, but of one of the principal races of Greeks; and he has laboured to demonstrate, in opposition to the received opinions, that the people of this favourite race were the bravest, the best, the wisest, and the happiest; in one word, if we may allow ourselves such a mode of expression, the most Greek of the Greeks. Such is the position, or paradox, of the learned historian of Göttingen. The scheme of writing the history of a portion of the Greeks, as a distinct race, possesses many advantages; and we ought not to grudge the legitimate recompense of his toils to the meritorious historian-the liberty of displaying a marked partiality for the favoured race.
The Dorians, it is said, a people of Hellenic origin, had formerly inhabited the country at the foot of the mountains Ossa and Olympus. Afterwards, however, being driven out by the pressure of some northern hordes, as Müller supposes, they migrated to the south, and dwelt under Mount Pindus. Their early habitations, therefore, were those very spots which have long been consecrated to poetry. When we contemplate that scanty strip of land which is inscribed Doris on the map of Greece, comprehending a small portion of mountain, and a very few miles in length of the upper part of the valleys formed by the two celebrated streams Pindus and Cephissus, we are astonished at the diminutive district that once contained a nation which has filled the world with its fame. For many ages the Doric name has been famous throughout every civilized region; many centuries after they quitted the narrow vale of Pindus, the inhabitants of the opposite extremity of Europe are striving to do them honour. At the remote Göttingen, one of the most learned men of his day is glad to devote all his talents and erudition, and a considerable portion of his life, to display their claims to the admiration and gratitude of their species; and if he errs in the execution of his undertaking, it is only through an excessive zeal and eagerness to vindicate their excellence. All the scholars of Germany are animated by the example; in Britain the laudatory work is immediately translated; and we are glad to commend such an application of learning and ingenuity, and to invite the attention of the studious to the green and flourishing fame of the Dorians. In the other countries of Europe, we doubt not that other translators and other critics are equally active in diffusing, in their respective languages, the tidings of Doric glory. This famous nation,
nevertheless, was originally contained within the limits of a
The Dorians, we are told, were a restless race, a people much addicted to wandering. According to Herodotus, after a migration to Dryopis, they passed into the Peloponnese. This expedition of the Dorians has received the traditional name of the return of the descendants of Hercules, Tv 'Heanλedav nadodos, and it is enveloped in mystery and fables. Of their new country Müller speaks thus:- So wonderful is the physical organization of Greece, that each of its parts has received its peculiar destination, and a distinct 'character; it is like a body whose members are different in form, but amongst which a mutual connexion and dependence necessarily exists. The northern districts, as far as Thessaly, are the nutritive organs, which, from time to time, introduced fresh and vigorous supplies; as we approach the 6 south, its structure assumes a more marked and decided form, and is impressed with more peculiar features. Attica ' and the islands may be considered as extremities, which, as it were, served as the active instruments for the body of Greece, and by which it was kept in constant connexion with others; while the Peloponnese, on the other hand, seems formed for a 'state of life, included in itself, occupied more with its own than 'external concerns, and whose interests and feelings centred in itself. As it was the extremity of Greece, there also appeared to be an end set by nature to all change of place and habitation; and hence the character of the Peloponnesians was firm, steady, and exclusive. With good reason, therefore, was the ' region where these principles predominated, considered by the Greeks as the centre and acropolis of their countries; and those 'who possessed it were universally acknowledged to rank as first in Greece.' This short and fanciful passage will show more