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EPITAPHIUM IN INFANTIS TUMULO.
Ere sin could blight, or sorrow fade,
Death came with friendly care,
And bade it blossom there.
Idem Latine Redditum.
Ante malum parvus quam tabe notaverat artus,
Aut poterat forman diminuisse dolor,
Atria maturum jussit habere decus.
ANOTHER ON THE SAME.
Scarce to her lips the cup of life she pressed,
Found the taste bitter, and declined the rest ;
She gently breathed her virgin soul away.
Idem Latine Redditum.
Vix adeo gustans potuit cognoscere vitam;
Pocula quum teneris rejicit atra labris :
Leniter e fragili pectore vita fugit.
ETON BURE AU.
ON THE ANTIQUARIAN SPIRIT.
How profitless the relics that we call,
Antiquities to an Eton ear suggest in a moment Potter and Adams. These staid and severe books are not very popular amongst us, for they wear about them the dogs'ears of cramming, and they are bound in the sheep-skin of necessity. They contain a great deal of condensed task-work, such as must be dry and unattractive, though printed ever so nicely, or even hasped into lady-like duodecimos, like that translation from Dr. Hase, which rumour ascribes to “ Minerva Barbata.”
A new era, perhaps, has commenced with the dissemination of that comely volume about the Greeks and Romans, which has been written by all the world for the honour of London University. In such a form, one may hope, the customs of the great dead nations may take a pleasanter aspect. At the utmost, however, I imagine, no one is likely to become extravagantly fond of such dissertations-youthful zeal in that line will be easy to regulate, pedantry
at the worst, and that of a very venial kind, will result from addiction to such studies. But it were well if some one would devise a plan for teaching us in our enquiries about the ways of ancient life, to make it more a habit to compare them with our own, and so to make them real in our thoughts. There is, it will be granted, something absurd in our want of information about home customs, so great in proportion to our acquaintance with the old Pagans. We make a point of being able to compute Roman interest, and all the while we are in the dark about Consols and Exchequer Bills; we can describe the process of an Athenian cobbler's action for ejectment, without knowing wbo John Doe and Richard Roe are; we are eloquent about the construction of a trireme, and cannot for the life of us define a frigate. Again, it may be just hinted that we are in fault for neglecting ancient art. Now and then, perhaps, a fresh-looking volume about Etruscan tombs stirs some balf a dozen boyish readers into a little curiosity about such things; or that most popular book in our School Library, “ The Diary of an Invalid," wakens a passing interest about Laocoon or the like; or the worthy Dr. Lempriere sets us wondering about those old chromatic wizards Zeuxis and Apelles. But in the long run how few of us ever give a thought of our own accord, much less an hour, or a balf-crown, towards acquaintance with the two living graces of Greek art, or even a sigh for the two dead ones !
Well, then, is there any antiquarian spirit at all amongst us? Is there any independent and gratuitous attachment to what is old and obsolete, and alien both from our own habits and our own compulsory studies ? I have nothing to say about what is called History—that is political and philosophical History. I only care now to speak of wrecks and vestiges-old forms of thought-old ways of setting forth human wants-old relics of material craft--the staple of antiquarian researches.
Whatever there may be in our minds of inquisitiveness about all this, will be found, I imagine, to lie mainly within the scope of our own country. England has a great and varied store of gifts handed down from her past generations.
At every turn, in our reading and talking, in our strolls and reveries, we are met by some waif of time, which we cannot always slight, and are often sain to handle curiously. There is so much left us to link our thoughts with our own forefathers, that it is no wonder if we care little for what is foreign. It is only professed tourists who lack an excuse for knowing little about the remains of old life in other lands. The converse of this seems to hold good with regard to American travellers; they come fresh from a raw green world, and their researches into European antiquities are as keen as they are general. Their nation is one that throws as yet a short shadow; ours has its gray hills receding pile beyond pile, and it may be that we go darkling because we keep too close to what a declining sun projects from behind them. It may be that we make too much of the pomps and braveries and “ fair humanities” chronicled for us, and that our great mental and military victories have made us too proud to be wise in our generation.
I have made a sort of digression-let it serve me to break into a new head of my preachment. I have taken it for granted that England is the scope, the ample scope, for ordinary antiquaries of our standing. Now if the feeling be so far a bational one, it is well if it shall have begun, as patriotism ought to begin, by an affection radiating from home. I like to fancy a beginner in such lore catching the first impulse or half inpulse from the old ballads of his nurse, and the genealogies of his grandfather, exercising his early wonder on the uncouth mysteries of his paternal coat af arms, or on the quaint dresses ransacked out of the family wardrobe for a holiday
dressing up,” or on a grim unreadable folio put just out of arm's length in the time hallowed dust of his father's library. From these beginnings he will proceed to musing about the doleful fragments of saintly lips and noses, which catch his wandering eyes on a Sunday; perhaps a stately lady imbedded in the pavement looks up to him fixedly, when he stoops to see what metal it is that his heels have rung against in sauntering up the aisle, and then haply he wonders why modest matrons of those good days should be so brazen-faced after death-in truth it is hard if there is nothing in that familiar Church to make him ask a question. The village or its neighbours must certainly have an old gabled house, or a Roman encampment, or a way-side cross, to help the growth of the inquisitive habit, and it were strange indeed if there never came in bis way book, or tradition, or word-of-mouth interpreter to give something of clearness and substance to his speculations.
Bye and bye a county history opens at an attractive page-he reads of people making wars and founding abbeys with names otherwise familiar to him; such worthies of the shire take a place in his imagination; all manner of dim but quick notions go swarming up to cluster round these family trees, and there is the sunshine of young sensibility to encourage and gladden their working. If the boy has a soul, he sets about castlebuilding. “ Wonder becomes interest, and interest soon