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Toward the summit of his reputation, he was sorely nettled by the rebuffs of the French Academy, and the awkward quarrels he had got into with the philosophers in consequence of the indiscreet persiflage with which he had treated some of their party, and which is the sure ruin of the men of wit and taste about town,' both in Paris and in London. He was still more roughly attacked by the hebdomadal and diurnal critics, and more particularly La Harpe, whose jealousy could not endure the least participation of public favour, and who looked upon every smile bestowed on the verses of Dorat, as so much subtracted from his own share of popular applause. The same insolent vanity which induced him afterwards to attack his benefactor and master, Voltaire, impelled him to inflict in every succeeding Mercure, of which journal he was editor, a large monthly dose of castigation on the shoulders of poor Monsieur Dorat. The gentle poet was at last roused to vengeance ; and dreadful was the punishment endured by this Zoïlus of the Mercure, in the shape of a tweaked nose, a splashed stocking, and the jeers of the Parisians. We must, however, for the honour of the parties, relate the cause and mode of their reconciliation.
La Harpe, when his quarrel with our author was at its height, received one day a letter, signed by a capuchin, in which the latter appointed to meet him in the chapel of a convent at some distance from Paris. At the rendezvous, the monk informed him that he had once been an amanuensis of M. Dorat, from whom he had received certain injuries, and now proposed to take his turn of vengeance. Owing to his known hostility to Dorat, he thought no one so fit to co-operate in the business as La Harpe. Thereupon he drew from the sleeve of his friar's cloak, a large packet of manuscripts, which he had pilfered from his master, consisting of violent satires against the members of the Academy, and more particularly La Harpe himself; and an entire correspondence with a married lady, which, as he suggested, might be wrought up into a very stimulating, scandalous novel, and one which could not fail to ruin the reputation of M. Dorat--more especially if the proper means were taken to transmit a copy, with the requisite explanations, to the lady's husband. La Harpe, horror-struck at this act of perfidy, endeavoured to remonstrate with the friar; but, not succeeding in persuading him to abandon bis flagitious project, he left him in a passion of indignation. In going home, he reflected that, although a capuchin was inaccessible to motives of common honesty, he might not be equally impregnable against inducements of another nature.' In fact, he purchased the papers, which he immediately sent to Dorat, with an account of the manner in which they came to his hands. All their previous literary quarrels were immediately
forgotten by the rival authors; and Dorat ran to kiss the cheek, whose neighbour nose he once treated with so little ceremony.
Toward the close of his life, Dorat seems to have grown more susceptible on the score of his poetical reputation, than was compatible either with his ease, or, as it turned out, with his fortune. His plays were successively hissed at the French theatre. He endeavoured to defy public censure, and cram his pieces down the throats of the pit, not by better writing, but by bribing actors and actresses, and bribing spectators to applaud at so much the round; so, at least, it is averred by his biographers. These miserable intrigues not only soured his temper and his spirits, but injured his reputation amongst the true play-goers, and contributed in effect to procure worse and worse receptions for his dramas. What was still worse, the bribes impaired his fortune; and between mistresses and actors, it seems not unlikely that his premature death rescued him from an old age, not only embittered by disappointment, but rendered miserable by dependance and poverty.
In spite of the misfortunes which attended the decline of his life, he played out his character with resolution, and died at the age of forty-six, as became the poet of love, or, more properly, of the loves. His last moments were occupied in writing verses, laughing with his friends, and his mistress-unless, with regard to the latter, it would be more correct to speak in the plural number. The evening before his death he received the visit of his curé with decent politeness, but declined his professional assistance. Two hours before he expired, he dressed himself with the same care as usual, and gave up the ghost in his arm chair, with his hair well combed and powdered, and according to the approved forms of fashionable society. This was in keeping with his whole life. The reward of his labours, if they deserve the name, is perhaps not now so precarious as the author of his epitaph believed; still, although some portion of his poetry may escape from the clutches of time, his literary character was not unfairly depicted in the following elegant stanza, which we have in vain endeavoured to translate :
De nos papillons enchanteurs
Emule trop fidèle,
Art. III.—Dr. Martin Luther's Sowohl in Deutscher als Latein
ischer Sprache verfergtigte und aus der letztern in die erstere übersetzie Suemtliche Schriften. Herausgegeben von Johann Georg Walch. Halle im Magdeburgischen. 1740. 24 vols. 4to.
Martin Luther, the son of Hans Luther, and Margaret Lindeman, was born on the 10th of November, 1483, at Eisleben, in Saxony. His father, Hans Luther, was a miner by occupation.-" I am a peasant's son,” said Luther. “My father, grandfather, and great grandfather were all honest peasants.”
At the age of fourteen, Luther was sent to the College of Magdeburg, accompanied by his friend and school-fellow, Reinecken. Here he was obliged to earn his subsistence by praying and singing in the public streets. The following year he removed to Eisenach, where he continued the same course of life for some time; and at length a benevolent female, moved by his devotion, received him into her house and treated him with maternal kindness. He distinguished himself at the college by his superior diligence and capacity. His chief recreation at that time, and ever afterwards, was music. He played on the flute and the lute; his voice was an agreeable counter-tenor, and he even composed several songs. From Eisenach he went, when sixteen years of age, to the college at Erfurt, where, to the study of dialectics, he added those of history and the classics ; and, in his twenty-fourth year, was made Doctor of Philosophy. He next turned his attention to jurisprudence, but, owing to too intense application, he was attacked, in the year 1503, by a severe illness, which, together with an event which shortly afterwards happened, induced him to relinquish the study of the law. An old priest, who came to pay him a consolatory visit during his sickness, thus addressed him :“ Be comforted, my son, you will not die of this illness; God will yet make a great man of you, and you will prove the consolation of many.” After his recovery, he visited the university library, where he met, for the first time, with a Latin Bible: he had no sooner looked into it than he was seized with the most ardent desire to become its possessor. About a year afterwards he had the misfortune to lose one of his dearest friends, Alexius, who was killed one night in the streets of Erfurt. This event was followed by a tremendous thunder storm, during which the lightning struck very near him, and caused him great alarm. This circumstance produced a considerable change in his mind; he grew melancholy-and, absorbed in his own reflexions, resolved to forsake the world, and retire into a cloister: he selected for this purpose the convent
of the Augustins, much to the dissatisfaction of his father. The services required of him in this cloister were of the most general nature, and he had much to endure from the stupidity and ignorance of the monks. His diligent study of the scriptures was considered a crime. In their opinion, his time would have been better employed in soliciting bread, corn, fish, and money for the convent. He at length excited the attention of John von Staupitz, Vicar of the Convent, who discovered that he was calculated for something higher than for the routine of monastic duties; and, in the year 1508, placed him at the lately founded university of Wittemberg. The following year he gave lectures in theology. Some business, connected with the order to which he belonged, carried him, in 1510, to Rome, where he first beheld Pope Leo X. in all the pomp and magnificence of his court; a spectacle which, he told his friends, he would not have missed for a thousand guilders. He returned the same year, and was shortly after invested with the degree of Doctor of Divinity ; the expense of which was defrayed by Duke Frederic. This Elector admired the vigour of Luther's mind no less than the excellence of his doctrines. The scriptures were, at that time, quite neglected for the logic of Aristotle; an error which Luther opposed with a boldness greatly to his honour. “ I desire nothing so earnestly," he thus expresses himself, “ as to unmask those dissemblers who introduced these Grecian mummeries into the church.” In another passage, he adds, “ Did I not know that Aristotle was a man, I should certainly have imagined he was the devil.”* He now renounced the philosophy of the schools, that he might exclusively apply himself to the study of the Gospel. By his exposition of the Epistle to the Romans, and of the Psalms, he threw so much light upon these subjects, “ that,” says Melancthon,t “ it appeared to all pious persons, like the breaking of a bright day, after the darkness in which learning had been so long wrapped.” Even the learned were not displeased to behold the clouds dispersed, which had so long enveloped the doctrines of Christianity. The earliest of Luther's works, of which we are in possession, is an Introduction to German Theology, written in the year 1516; a book displaying great talent and piety. We may trace, even in this first attempt, the germ of his subsequent noble efforts. Notwithstanding the unpolished style, and frequently incorrect language, in which this little book is written, it is invaluable from the knowledge and divine wisdom it contains. The following year, at the desire of Staupitz, Luther went to Dresden; where he
* Luther's Werke, xvii. 5, 6.
and magistrates pealed loudly, as Germany, and
preached several times in the presence of Duke George, afterwards one of the bitterest enemies of the Reformation. The papal chair was at that time filled by Leo X., who, under the pretence of building the church of St. Peter, sent his envoys into Germany and Switzerland, to raise money by the sale of indulgences and relics. Amongst the vendors of indulgences sent by Leo X. into Germany, the most audacious, blasphemous, and dishonest Tetzel, was a monk of the order of St. Dominic. He had already been employed in a similar service under several preceding popes, and was a perfect master of the art of cozening the people. On entering a city, he caused the papal bull to be carried before him on a cloth of velvet, embroidered with gold ;-was solemnly received by the priests and magistrates, and greeted with songs and processions ; and the organ pealed loudly as he was conducted into the church. When Tetzel arrived in Germany, and began once more to pursue his avocation at Iuterbock, near Wittemberg, and the deluded people flocked around him, Luther failed not to proclaim, both publicly and in private, the inefficacy of ab. solution. This proceeding displeased Tetzel ; he poured forth reproaches and maledictions upon Luther : and, in the hope to intimidate him, even caused a fire to be lighted in the marketplace, as a warning to him of the manner in which heretics, who should oppose the doctrine of absolution, should be treated. “ I was at that time,” says Luther, speaking of himself, “ a young doctor in theology, and feeling an ardent delight in the study of the scriptures."* He therefore continued to preach that more important things might be done, than to purchase absolution. On this subject there is a sermon in his work, which he wrote on absolution and grace, wherein he points out the chief of the prevailing errors; and that, especially, which taught that penance consists of three parts,-repentance, confession, and the making compensation for the crime committed; that the place of this last might be supplied by prayer, alms, and fasting; a doctrine in direct contradiction to the holy scriptures, and to the sentiments of the fathers of the church. This sermon appeared in print shortly after, and was, in fact, the first work upon the Reformation, composed by this extraordinary man. It was of too moderate a nature to contend very effectually with the audacious arrogance of Tetzel, or with his little book, entitled, “ Summaria Instructio pro Sacerdotibus."* This induced Luther to resort to the usual mode of an academical disputation. On the eve of All Saints' day, in the year 1517, he attached, pursuant to an old-established custom, to
* Luther's Werke, xviii. 533.