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metiri, machinæ jam tandem dignæ, ubi Philosophorum animi expatientur, Deo digne opifice.
Nec solum in cœlis orbes novos, sed si in tellurem despiciatur, diversa animantium genera hodierna patefecit Philosophia, dum perspicilli ope oculorum acies intenditur, et obvios se produnt minutissimarum rerum partus, dum curioso intuiter animatas conspicimus materiæ particulas, et reptiles miramur atomorum viventium acervos: Usque adeo vel oculi acriores fiunt Neotericorum artibus, et opus, quod unum ex omnibus optimum voluit natura, emendatur et perficiatur. Non jam barbaras Peripateticorum voces et obscuriores scholarum terminos tanquam oraculi ambages inepte veneramur, sed ipsa sensuum dictamina consulimus, et machinis nuper inventis tormentum quoddam naturæ admovemus quibus cogitur arcana sua abditissimasque vires palam confiteri.
His adjuti instrumentis etiam ætherem, quem omnibus indulsit naturæ benignitas, nos potentiori arte quoties libet animalibus negamus, Pneumaticoque carceri inclusis, commune auræ ætheriæ consortium interdicimus: Ut juvat irritos
lands that pass the milky way, and more accurately measure this vast machine, a machine fit for mankind to philosophize on, and worthy of the deity who first framed it.
Here we have not only new heavens opened to us, but we look down on our earth; this philosophy affords us several kinds of animals; where, by the help of the microscope, our eyes are so far assisted, that we may discern the productions of the smallest creatures while we consider with a curious eye the animated particles of matter, and behold with astonishment the reptile mountains of living atoms. Thus are our eyes become more penetrating by modern helps, and even that work which nature boasts for her masterpiece is rendered more correct and finished. We no longer pay a blind veneration to that barbarous Peripatetic jingle, those obscure scholastic terms of art, once held as oracles; but consult the dictates of our own senses, and by late invented engines force nature herself to discover plainly her most hidden recesses.
By the help of instruments like these, that air, which a bountiful nature has indulged us, we, as often as we please, by the force of art abridge other animals of, and keep them in our pneumatic pumps from its common benefit. What a
pulmonum conatus intueri, vitam exhaurire, et spiritum ipsum ingenioso quodam furto surripere! Ubi nihil adeo tutum est, adeo animæ suæ tenax, quod non paulatim effrigescat, et nullo accepto vulnere concidat cadaver. Divinum hoc quidem artis opus, et autore suo non indignum, qui vitæ, moribus et argumentorum pondere gentem nostram et novam tam eximie cohonestavit Philosophiam, qui hinc certe meruit ut aeris sui beneficio nunquam destitueretur, et qui cætera animalia toties vita spoliavit, suam nunquam exhalaret.
Non hisce quidem auxiliis innixus, suam contexuit Philosophiam Aristoteles, qui omnes ex seipso eruit artium et scientiarum regulas, et nihil intactum, nihil illibatum reliquit præter ipsam veritatem; si ideo in Euripum, quoniam illius naturam non satis habuit exploratam, sese præcipitem immerserit, eadem quidem ratione adduci potuit, ut in ipso Philosophiæ suæ limine mortem sibi conscisceret, et optimo quidem jure dubitare liceat in quo elemento præter cætera potuis debuerit periisse. Quin ubi inter Euripi fluctus
pleasure is it to see the fruitless heavings of the lights, to exhaust their lives, and by a most artful sort of theft rob them of their breath! From this nothing is safe, nothing so long lived, which gradually does not languish, and fall dead without a wound. A divine piece of art this, and worthy its author, who, in the conduct of his life, and the force of his arguments, has so nobly honoured our nation, and the new philosophy,-o -one who for this reason too deserves never to want the benefit of his own air, or that he, who has so often deprived other animals of their life, should ever breathe out his own.
On no such grounds as these has Aristotle built his philosophy, who from his own brain furnished out all his rules of arts and sciences, and left nothing untouched on, nothing unregarded, but truth. If therefore he precipitated himself into the river Euripus, because he could not understand its ebb and flow, by the same logic he might at his first entrance on philosophy have destroyed himself; and we may fairly doubt in which of the elements he ought to have perished. After Aristotle's fate amidst the waves of Euripus, a new
actum est de Aristotele, nova tandem succrevit Peripateticorum progenies, vel parente pejor, quæ Philosophiam tanta verborum caligine involutam posteris reliquit, ut hoc solum obstet, quo minus omnium risu et dicteriis excipiatur, quoniam a paucissimis intelligitur. Inveniuntur autem qui inter has Commentariorum sarcinas, quibus hac blateronum soboles mundum oneravit operæ pretium ducunt ætatem terere, qui divinos hos literarum Thesauros volvunt denuo, revolvuntque nec unquam prodeunt, nec studiis se unquam abripiunt nisi ut ostendant quanto labore opus est ut erudiamur desipere: Num quod enim potest spectaculum pulchrius exhiberi, quam ut pugiles hujusmodi sagaces inter se digladiantes intueamur? Hic propositionibus et syllogismis armatus illum similiter armatum aggreditur: uterque vervex indignatur, pendet, avidus victoriæ, quæ non tantilli est, utri accenseatur, uterque (quod unum potest) in alterum Barbarissimos pro virili ejaculatur, irretiunt sese tandem ineptiis, et cum neuter videt quomodo se expediat, receptui conitur, et consumtis utrinque armis, utrinque visum est demum conticescere.
Huc usque, Academici, nec ultra progreditur antiquorum
race of Peripatetics started up, even worse than their founder, who handed their philosophy to after ages in so thick an obscurity that it has preserved it from the satire and ridicule of all mankind, being understood by very few. Some there are to be found who spend their time amidst the rubbish which these commentators have filled the world with, and pore more than once on these godlike treasures of learning, and stick to them to no other purpose unless to show the world the vast pains they take to be deceived. Can there be a more pleasant sight than to see these wise champions wrangling with each other? The one armed with propositions and syllogisms attacks his antagonist in the same armour: both bell-wethers grow angry and storm, fond of a victory which is worth but a trifle when obtained: each, with all his might, darts out his barbarisms at the other, they entangle themselves in their follies, and as neither knows how to extricate himself they sound a retreat, and when all the ammunition is spent on both sides they think fit to keep silence. Thus far, gentlemen, and no farther, launches out the
Philosophia, ineptam ideo hanc commentatorum turbam. Si bibliothecis et catenis in æternum damnemus alligandam, ubi vermium et tinearum fiant pabula, et ab omni lectorum inspectu liberi placide exolescant. JOSEPH ADDISON.
ancient philosophy: let us therefore sentence for ever this troop of commentators, to be tied up in chains and libraries, food only for moths and worms, and there let them quietly grow old, free from the sight of any reader.
ADDISON'S LATIN LETTER.
Chester, June 13th, 1791. Looking over some old papers, I found a copy of a poem which appears to have been published in the year 1724, entitled, God, by the Rev. John Lloyd, M. A." The recommendations which accompany it are extravagant, though I do not see anything in the poetry which can justify them. If the author possessed the literary distinction he pretends to, some of your correspondents may perhaps inform me who he was, and whether there be authenticity in the credentials he appeals to. The title-page runs thus: "God, a Poem, revised and recommended by the late JOSEPH ADDISON, Esq., and wrote by the Rev. John Lloyd, M. A., &c. Author, also, of several of the Spectators." Upon the second page is the recommendation alluded to.
The late Joseph Addison's Letter, faithfully translated (as far as we thought proper) from the Latin original.
I have perused your poem, and cannot but mention it with a kind of divinity of attributes, and all the eulogies of a ravished imagination. Nay, I fall down and worship the graven image you have set up. God never before appeared so glorious in any work but his own. You speak home of the Majesty of Heaven, and with a magnificent emphasis. Sure your pen was plucked from some Seraph's wing, and dipt in the streams of everlasting day. Two sheets contain all the learning of two thousand years; and the united eloquence of Rome and Athens are now to be purchased for a sixpenny piece.
O Juvenis, cujus in laudibus idiomata sunt infacunda. Ex summorum virorum dotibus, ex puellarum votis compositus es
æstuat hic calamus, ex læto liberoque motu ardet evagari. Sed ne confusim, et tanquam per satyram conturbet omnia abruptum et effræni gaudium, ab origine tua et incunabulis ipsis percurramus singula, ut inde quibus crevisti auxiliis, quibus adolevisti, et robur assumpsisti, (nimirum si Epistolam hanc nostram publici juris facturus es,) recolant posteri, prædicet eternitas, &c. Äpage igitur frivolas istas et otiosas nænias, tanquam nutricularum fabulas aut Democritea commenta, quas spargi aiunt de te, nigra scurrarum convitia. ariolari possum sine minatore Delio et Enigmatum conjectore quorsum hæc omnia; quicunque enim color obtenditur, intima pellucet causa; sed reprimam styli pertinaciam, ne in alienam videar inviolare messem ;
Qui sum tui studiosissimus, JOSEPH ADDISON. In the conclusion of his Poem the author thus characterizes himself.
From books and men a joyless wretch retired,
Gay were the hours, and winged with mirth they flew,
Heir to eight hundred pounds a year at least;
In company the brightest and the best.
And Steele, whose sword's not keener than his pen.
Who tuned my soul, and gave the world my name;
The remaining lines, which I have not room to transcribe, are very much in the penseroso style. I have inquired about the author here, where his later residence seems to have been. But as Poetry then obscured him, so Time has now erased his memory from the minds of his fellow-citizens.
As Addison edited the second volume of the Musa Anglicanæ, Oxon. 1699, it is presumed that the short Latin preface which accompanies it was written by him, but there is no actual evidence. It was reprinted with additions in 1714, and as both editions are very common, it is not thought worth introducing here.