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chased for sixpence, and we have "laws to prevent bastardy." You have “ money lent” in every street, and loads of useful paper thrust into your hand at every corner. A more humane age never existed-In England we have a society devoted entirely to it, and in Scotland we have a professor of humanity. Our charity, may be seen in large letters every where, and not sneaking at home, as it did with our ancestors. Vice, on the contrary, dares not rear its crest; for we have a self-dubbed knight errant society expressly to suppress it. And lastly (for we must end) with regard to sympathy or feeling, the ancients were sadly ignorant. Men knew a little of it, and the doctrine of Pythagoras extended it to the brute creation, but there, poor heathens, they stopt. Not so with the Christian world of 1808--we have “sympathetic tables !"
HUME AND ARISTOTLE.
MR. EDITOR, DEyoting my attention, a few months ago, to the philosopher of Stagira, I met with a passage (Arist. Eth. Nicom. Lib.9.c. 10) which immediately recalled to me a remark of Hume's, in Ese say 11, p. 456, on the populousness of ancient nations, that appears to be without foundation. He quotes Aristotle's authority for an assertion, that no city, in former times, contained a hundred thousand inhabitants, and accordingly subjoins that “this, he must own passes his comprehension" But the following extract, divested as much as possible from the inutility of verbatim citation, will prove that his statement is fallacious. The Grecian writes,
« Is there a limit to the number of friends, as there is of citizens ? for as a. city cunnot consist of ten men, so is there none in existence that contains one hundred thousand” –ότε έκ δέκα μυριάδων ε. πόλις έξι. Now, ast
the major part of the inhabitants of any civilized place consists of women, and the children of either sex, although I am not statistic enough to decide the exact proportion, we may perhaps conclude that the number of one hundred thousand citizens must imply a far more considerable aggregate of other individuals, perhaps seven or eight hundred thousand : nor will this affirmation of Aristotle, in regard to so small a state as Greece, ex-. cite much astonishment to the well-inforned modern reader,
who considers that London, in days of yore, did not comprise above forty thousand residents. Hume therefore seems to have dexterously shifted to his own purpose the meaning of his text : and as the Mirror reflects the opinions of several who are competent to judge on this subject, I thus elicit a discussion by the medium of your miscellany, on which I have the pleasure to remain a Tower Hill, June 7, 1808.
(Concluded from p. 429, V. III. N. S.]
A GENTLEMAN did come
Into a nasty room,
“ But sir," says one Bloom,
“ You'll take pleasure in the room, “ When once you do but go out on't.”
THE THREE DEGREES.
A saying there was,
But I know not the cause,
Man, woman, and the devil,
(Which I think was evil)
A man sold his bed
To one Mr. Head,
For he swore to us all,
That were then in the hall,
A man being drown'd
After a long and fruitless suit made by Venus, Adonis is represented as about to speak, in the following passage, which I quote for two reasons.
“Once more the ruby colour'd portal open'd,
Gust and foul flaws to herdinen and to herds. L. 456. We see in these lines another instance of those bold illustrations, in which this poem abounds, and which form so peculiar a characteristic of their great anthor. The last line will also furnish us with an explanation of a passage in Hamlet, which, if I am not deceived, (for I hazard the assertion from memory merely) has never been properly understood. I allude to the word • flaws,' which, I believe, has never been taken in the meaning here used, that of a drizzly morning mist, agreeing exactly with the same sense of the following passage, otherwise unintelligible.
« Oh! that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall t'expel the winter's flaw." Humlet. Let us now return to our ill-met pair; the case of Venus was extremely hard,
“She's Love, she loves, and yet she is not lov'd.” For only hear how tauntingly she is treated. Adonis loquitur,
“ Iflove hath lent you twenty thousand tongues,
And every tongue more moving than your own,
And will not let a false sound enter there.” L. 760. The thought, contained in the last couplet is bold, but, in my opinion, very poetical. I give you the following line because it is like one of Virgil's on a similar occasion; it represents the Meetness of l'enus.
“ The grass stoops not she treads on it so light." Virgil says of Camilla.
“ Illa vel intactæ segetis per summa colaret
Gramina ; nec teneras cursu læsisset aristas.” Æn.7.809. I find I must bring my extracts to a conclusion, or I shall intrude upon more room than I may be entitled to. I have already said, that the amorous addresses of Venus take up a considerable part of the poem; they occupy more than two thirds: the remainder comprises the death of Adonis, who tears himself from the embraces of his fair lover, and is killed by a wild boar, with the very pathetic lamentation of Venus upon the occasion, and the metamorphosis of the unhappy youth into a flower.
Upon a review of this poem, we shall find that its chief beauties do not depend on its general features, which are undoubtedly prolixity, and circumlocution. As in all Shakespeare's works, it is the sudden flash, which we must admire in it, and not the uniform blaze. Venus, for instance, makes several long speeches, which, from a repetition of the same unavailing solicitations, would become intolerable, if they were not frequently enlivened by the fertility of the poet's imagination. But this fertility again often swells into exuberance, by producing a poetical estravaganza on the one hand, and periphrastic illustrations upon
the other. Nor must we leave the parum casta embellishments to pass by unnoticed; these occur oftener perhaps than modern res finement would justify. As to the versification, it is in general remarkably smooth, as most of the extracts will prove. Upon the whole, I think we may say of this poem, that, although the boldness of the imagery may sometimes 'offend, the sublimity of the colouring seldom fails to excite admiration. Its beauties are in the true spirit of its great author, and the faults such perhaps as no poet of a less fertile imagination would have committed. May 7th, 1808.
NOTES ON ATHENÆUS.
In the thirteenth book, page 568. I find a description of these joyless traders in pleasure, which will in some degree remind the reader of the discoveries made in lib. III. of Ovid's Art of Love, and Swift's poem on a beautiful young nymph going to bed.”
Alexis exposes their artifices.
Every thing is sacrificed to profit-they are all dissimulation. If she is short, she is raised by her slippers; if tall, the soles are thin, and she reclines her head on her shoulders. In the former case, Ovid says:
Si brevis es, sedeas; ne stans videare sedere.
Whether it be honourable to my fair countrywomen or not, I leave it to others to determine, but it appears
or padding and Apollos, or straightning under dresses* were amongst the arts numbered in the ornamental catalogue of the Grecian courtesan.
* Sce Note to p. 39, No. XVII.