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Of beauty that in forms and colours rare
Stories of love to listen, or the deeds
Of heroes of old days; the harp, sometimes, Herself would touch, and, with her own sweet voice,
Fill all the air with loveliness. But, chief, When to his green-wave bed the wearied sun
Had parted, and heaven's glorious arch yet
A last gleam catching from his closing eye, The palace, with her maidens, quitting then, Through vistas dim of tall trees would she
Cedar, or waving pine, or giant palm,--Through orange groves, and citron,--myrtle walks,--
Alleys of roses,-beds of sweetest flowers,-Their richest incense to the dewy breeze
Breathing profusely all,-and, having reached
When through the glistering trees the golden
Aslant their bright flood poured, and every bird
And in the gladness of all things be glad.
After quoting the above, our readers will be enabled to judge of the author's power of language and versification. Mr. Atherstone is evidently a writer of the first ability, and the design of his present Poem appears to be a great and happy one. We warn him against aiming too much at smoothness in over-ornamenting his verse. An epic poem must entirely depend for success on a sort of regal grandeur in its language, and the most noble simplicity of exalted sentiment. The taste of the age is, perhaps, unfitted to give extensive popularity to a composition, depending for its praise on such characteristics; but no epic can be tolerated without them; and it would be a hopeless task in an author to eudeavour a successful union between
the style which would please popular readers and that fitted for an epic. Mr. Atherstone, we doubt not, will be found,when his poem is complete, to have avoided the errors of such an attempt; and we look forward with pleasure to the appearance of the remainder of his Nineveh.
THE MAN OF PROMISE..
He only in whose ample breast
The praise of wisdom may contest;
Not they who, with loquacious learning stor'd,
Pursue the bird of Jove, that sails along the skies.-WEST'S Pindar.
THE great difference which pre
vails among mankind in intellectual abilities and attainments, is attributed by philosophers to various causes. Of the diversity of mental capacity, one reason indeed, is obvious: that Providence, in its wisdom, has allotted to different creatures, different powers, not only in their specific, but in their individual natures. The individual distinction, however, does not obtain to the extent which is generally believed; and many, who are sensible of their deficiency in this respect, have frequently more cause to ascribe it to themselves than to their Maker; because, though undoubtedly some have greater advantages than others for the improvement of the intellectual faculties, few endeavour so far
But those who are debarred, except to a very limited degree, from the advantages of good society, are generally for the same reasons deprived of the endowments of literature. Real genius, however, accompanied by good sense, will break through the trammels of circumstance, undismayed by privations, unchecked by obstacles; and will proceed so far without foreign assistance, to clear away the mists of ignorance and prejudice with which it is encompassed, as to open to itself a prospect in which the intellectual vision can repose with security, satisfaction, and delight; in which it can discern the travellers up the ascent of knowledge, though favoured by more propitious fortune, and consequently passing above it, some incit
as they are able, and with the op-ed by hope, and others supported by portunities which they possess, to application, yet few more ardent in strengthen or refine the understand- the pursuit, and none making more ing. rapid advances. In this laudable progress, when mindful of its particular condition, it never rejects with contempt the counsels of a friend, or vainly assumes to itself that which it has no right to adopt, and no ability to support. Its deportment is characterized by affability without loquacity, modesty without servility, a disposition to listen to the decision of more experienced judges; a willingness to arrive at truth, but without the compromise of principle, or the degradation of subserviency. Its knowledge of things appears to be gained by intuition, its ideas of right and wrong almost without reflection; and those whom chance has brought within its influence, derive from it such assistance and gratification, as induce attention and homage, and excite that applause and veneration which the more sensible part of the community are always found ready
Many who, for the support of life, always adhere to the same track, compelled by necessity, or led by accident, are often obliged to want the invaluable benefits of a liberal education and polished society, and many, who, by their external circumstances, or the smiles of fortune, might be enabled to enjoy those blessings, are equally precluded from them by casualties of a peculiar nature; by the objections of a particular sect in religion to which they may be united, by avaricious motives, or th ignorant apprehension that those who should gain the knowledge of life, may recede from the paths of virtue; that those who partake of the elegances and gaieties of refinement are rendered unfit for the accumulation of wealth, for the cares of domestic life, or the sober sphere of active usefulness.
to confer on merit, however dignified, or however depressed.
The man of sense and genius, by his superior powers in the comprehension of what to others may appear difficult or abstruse, is less liable to the admiration of what is great and splendid; to that inquisitiveness in the investigation of truth, or to that loquacity in the display of his know ledge, for which persons of more ordinary capacities, though great pretenders to science, are remarkable. He is, indeed, frequently distinguished by a natural taciturnity; since what to him can be the use of an exuberance of words about things, whose nature is to his understanding so easy of perception? He measures the perspicuity of others by his own; and therefore hesitates, through motives of delicacy, to relieve their hebetude, or through ignorance of their insufficiency, fancies they are equally sagacious with himself.
As genius is sometimes united with pride, so is it often conjoined with vanity, the characters of both of which are extremely distinct; for according to an observation of Swift, a man may be too proud to be vain. The proud man of genius acts with regard to others in nearly the same manner as the character just described, but with this difference; that what the latter does from motives of ignorance or delicacy, the former does chiefly by design. The vain man of genius may sometimes gain applause from the ignorant and illiterate, but frequently meets with ridicule and contempt from the wise; for the generality of mankind are more willing to listen to the dictates of good sense unaccompanied by genius, than to the precepts of genius without good sense. He will, therefore, after several ineffectual attempts to extort regard from the most reputable quarter, rather than forego the darling object of his pursuit, shrink back into more congenial society, where he can be made president of their assemblies, looked up to as a prodigy of excellence, chosen umpire of disputes, or guide in their 54 ATHENEUM, VOL. 9, 2d series.
counsels; where he can pass his jokes and his witticisms without fear of restraint or interruption except from the bursts of applause which they elicit. He, like Cæsar, would rather be first in the second, than second in the first, class of the community. His incessant study is rather the exaltation of himself than the benefit of others. He regards with invidious jealousy the pretensions of any one of his associates, who prompted by his success in the acquisition of honour and homage, or by the hope of transcendency, may set himself up as a competitor.
To be considered a man of genius is of such great importance and gratification to some, that the reality has naturally given rise to imitators, and has called forth pretenders in the art of pleasing, but little qualified, from want of the requisite talents in method or in substance: such persons try every plan that can be imagined to attract the attention of their company, excite merriment, or provoke laughter; but their ignorance of things, and their awkward address, generally conspire to obscure that sunshine of approbation which they had contemplated would burst forth after the sudden and copious emission of all the pretty things which they had treasured up to amuse. This disposition, however, is not always the most conspicuous trait in their character. To be held an adept in literature, in poetry, history, classical learning, in short, in the whole compass of science, is a consideration with them tantamount to that of the possession of genius. To effect their purpose, where deficiency is felt, recourse is had to stratagem.
THRASO possesses some parts, but very little learning. When young he was sent to a public school in the north, where he was instructed in little else than the common rudiments of a plain English education. By the general consent of his teachers, however, he was regarded as a prodigy of skill, because he could parse with case and correctness a supposed difficult sentence in an English au
thor, and could solve a question in Double Position by the rule of Algebra. Flattered and caressed by his schoolfellows, young Thraso soon began to assume the airs of conceit, and the arrogance of imagined superiority; believing no head so wise, and no talents so powerful as his own. With such endowments and such vanities, he continued to attract regard until the time arrived that he was to leave school; when it was not to be wondered if his masters, equally foolish, should have recommended him to a situation in which he might indulge, as they termed it, the bent of his genius and his taste for litera
When eighteen years old, he was admitted into an office where he was surprised to find others of superior capacity and attainments. Some were ready at quotations, though they seldom indulged in them, from Greek, Roman, and other classical writers. Others were adepts in music and painting, and could almost rival a Braham in the "mellow energies of song." Thraso, as he was equally a stranger to all these acquirements, as well as ignorant of their different degrees of excellence, conceived that he wanted no requisite for equal clearness, and equal fame, but a little initiatory instruction, and courage for the exhibition of his powers, whenever an opportunity should offer itself. He therefore commenced to learn with assiduity so much of the Greek and Latin authors as would qualify him, by the quantity and variety of his quotations, for the display of his proficiency in classical learning. Of music and singing, and other light accomplishments, he expected to be quite master in a short time, by devoting for a month one hour in the day to the former, and half that time to the latter. His music-master had often told him that he had no ear for music, and no voice for singing; nevertheless, he was determined to surmount, if possible, every impediment, when he reflected on the pleasure he should experience from the applause
of his auditors, as soon as he commenced operations before them.
No sooner had he conceived himself sufficiently accomplished, than he set out on his expedition of vanity, with all the flush of expectation, dignity of self-importance, and pretended sagacity of an amateur. In order that in whatever company he happened to fall, his quotations might be apt, aud his allusions witty, he resolved whenever the conversation did not suit his designs, to turn it, if possible, to a point that would suit his purpose. When there happened to be a warm discussion, and the opinions of the disputants to be very discordant, Thraso would relieve the obstinacy of opposition, by observ ing, with a very consequential air, "but you know, gentlemen, quot homines, tot sententiæ,” looking meanwhile at every countenance for that flattering approbation to which such a display of learning undoubtedly entitled him.
If the subject of physiognomy be introduced, and whether the visage be a true index of the mind, Thraso, in endeavouring to hit the right nail upon the head, remarks that it is not as one of the Latin poets, he thinks Sallust, decides the question by saying, Fronti nulla fides. The smiles of ridicule consequent to such blunders, his vanity will sometimes lead him to mistake for praise, of which every repetition tends to embolden future attempts to shine; so that we have him continually interrupting argumentative discussion, or convivial jollity, by ostentatious interlocutions, or an express desire to sing a song. He has been known to repeat the same anecdote fifteen different times in nearly the same words. If oue well qualified for narrative, begins a tale for general entertainment, with which Thraso should happen to have been already acquainted, he will wrest it from the mouth of the speak er, and give it himself; which he generally does with such hurry and force of gesture, and confusion of statements, by anticipating the event, that at the close the effect is deaden
But, daughter of Pharaoh! the boast of the land!
Chills the crocodile-god that pure bosom with fear?
And her maidens have sped with the fleetness of thought, And the trophy, triumphant, before her have brought; 'Tis of bulrushes built, and betokens an art
That is Nature's alone-that but springs of the heart.
So goodly the casket, oh! who may divine
The price of the jewel that's treasured within!
"Tis display'd-a sweet babe, while she looks, looks again, And the innocent wept, and he wept not in vain.