Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

volumes ere he could get his heroes before the walls of Thebes, or toil through the two hundred and twenty-five tragedies of Astydamus, which never won the prize, than be compelled to lavish my vocabulary of compliments perpetually on the same face and figure, though beautiful as the Anadyomene of Apelles.

“True,” said Collitanius, "variety is the soul of enjoyment. Splendour, beauty, luxury, literature, and the arts, all end in wearisome disgust, if unrelieved by scenes of savage poverty, ugliness, hunger, and rude ignorance. To fully relish the first we must in some degree mingle with and partake of the latter."

“The arts !” exclaimed Propertius," there is no appearing at the splendid bagnios of Rome, to clear off the impurities of a night's carouse in the liquid embraces of the Naiades, without being pestered beyond all endurance with artists, exhibiting their wretched daubings, while with their eyes,

if not with their tongues, they tell you that Pausias never equalled them when he drew his lovely Glycere surrounded with flowers, nor Antiphilus, in his celebrated picture of the burning coal blown by a youth, the light of which seemed to illuminate the whole room. Then what a crowd is there of historians and poets, high and low, known and unknown, eternally drawling and mouthing forth their jejune and insufferable effusions, each one striving to win the public ear to himself, and fondly fancying that he alone shall be the envied heir of a glorious immortality, and administer to unborn time the sublimity of his deathless ravings."*

“Oh there is something extremely amusing,” answered Collitanius, " to hear these rival authors rail against and vilify each other's productions and characters. There is not one word of truth in any thing they utter, so far as literature is concerned ; merit and genius, whenever found, are considered by the greater number of them as deserving only contempt and odium; they solely regard political opinion, sect, and party; and whatever productions the sages of one school applaud to the very heavens, those of another condemn as the vilest trash, asserting it to be utterly unworthy the public notice. The few who presume to be imitators of

* “ But all without consideration write;

Some thinking that the omnipotence of wealth
('an turn them into poets when they please.”Horace.

“Through the thick shades th' eternal scribbler bawls,

And shakes the statues on their pedestals.”Juvenal. + Among the Romans were masters who professed to teach the art of

the matchless Virgil, although their very presumption claims some applause, are totally neglected and scorned in this age of wretched taste, while ephemeral and tinsel rubbish is sought after with the greatest avidity, and puffed off by its interested authors and venders as the brightest effusions of real talent, which, if we are to believe them, will be perused with the highest pleasure and advantage for ages to come.

“Well,” rejoined Propertius, “let these worthies vapour, rail, and puff® on: it moves not me a whit. Merit always finds numerous foes and few friends, till friendship can be of no use.”

“ Homer had his Zoilus," interrupted Collitanius, “ but Homer still lives, while the snarlings of the old Homeromastic are buried with him in oblivion. True-born genius, in spite of all opposition, will, like the eagle, soar above the tempest, which she scorns, to her own bright heaven of renown."

“Why, Collitanius, are you going to mount the winged steed of Apollo ?” cried Propertius. “All works puffed or reviled will find their true level, and age, the touchstone of merit, prove their value or their worthlessness. Confident am I of this, that there are some works considered of little reputation by literary pretenders and coxcombs, which will descend the ever-rolling stream of time, and win the applause of distant generations, while mountains of those volumes now so widely lauded by sycophants and venal critics, will he utterly forgotten ere the present era expires, and perish in the unfathomable gulfs of oblivion. But, thank the gods, we are bound for a clime where authors are unknown, and manners and customs continue, I hope, unromanized. How delightful will be the contrast of these wild Britons to the inhabitants of the Eternal City! I'll erect a principality among the island barbarians; then, my jovial companions, what novel amusements and diversions will be ours ! How I shall enjoy the true sports of the hunter in the boundless forests of Britain, vast regions of which, as I have learnt, are yet uncolonized by Roman legions and Roman adventurers, and filled with numerous kinds of

game,

puffing with skill. The proficients in this accomplishment let themselves out for hire to the poets and actors of the day.

+ Gibbon, speaking of the Saxons, says: “ The example of a revolution so rapid and so complete may not easily be found, but it will excite a probable suspicion that the arts of Rome were less deeply rooted in Britain ihan in Gaul or Spain, and that the native rudeness of the country and its inhabitants was covered by a thin varnish of Italian manners.”

almost every beast of chace. Oh, how delightful will these pastimes be?”

Ay," resumed Propertius, “these will be none of the childish shows of the Pancarpus in the amphitheatre, when in its mimic woods the base scum and rabble, the greasycapped artisans of Rome, hunt the poor beasts to death, pent up in those narrow confines, and vilely butcher them to devour their carcasses, which they bear off in triumph to their own hovels. I am told besides, that these Britons possess the curious art of falconry, by which they teach birds of prey to seize the feathered game in their highest flights. This must be a kingly sport! It shall soon be ours, Collitanius. The ancient games of the Britons also shall be encouraged by us. I will have a circus erected near my palace for the purpose of such exhibitions in all their native forms and glory. None of your Roman gladiators for me. I hate those insolent and vulgar wretches—and then, Collitanius, the wild and beautiful females of this island ! How transporting their sweet simplicity and unsophisticated manners! What a contrast to the boldness, the art, the affectation, and the flirting coquetry of the damsels, wives, and widows of Rome! And oh, what bliss to wander with these dove-eyed beauties in the groves and forests of this new world, and teach them lessons from Ovid's delicious tales of love! But come, my friends, the banquet awaits us below. The last crimson day-gleam fades in the west, and darkness begins to spread her brooding pinion o’er the mighty abyss. The lights of the slowly-moving fleet flash but along the sea-deep like wandering meteors in a sullen sky. But though we have left far behind us the Ausonian clime, we have still the tasteful pomps and voluptuous delights of Rome, that queen of splendours, which here, in the dark cradle of Atlantic tempests, will Aling a new enchantment o'er our pleasures. Come with me, and pour a brimming bowl to Neptune; then amid bowers of myrtle and roses, which, spite of nature, shall bloom on the foamy billows of the ocean, we'll troll the gay song of revelry and love, and dance with the fairest maids of Italia's sunny land, the beams of whose starbright eyes, if shed on the dark waters, would make the old sea-god leap from his coral bowers to worship their beauty."

(To be continued.) [We regret very much that we are obliged, for want of space, to postpone the remainder of this interesting tale.]

OLIONUIL=EGAN.

ANTIQUITY OF THE BRITISH CHURCH,_OF AN EARLIER

DATE THAN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC RELIGION IN
ENGLAND.

The Principality is highly indebted to the present venerable and learned bishop of Salisbury, when presiding over the see of St. David's, not only for founding and establishing a college at Lampeter for the education of young men for the church, and advancing the respectability of the clergy by the many excellent regulations which he introduced into that diocese, but every lover of Welsh literature must also feel himself under great obligations to his lordship for the revival of the long neglected and almost forgotten Eisteddfodau, which, in former days, had been patronized by princes, prelates, senators, and chieftains, and the principal nobility of Wales. But the main object of this short address, is to recommend the publication of some of those numerous Welsh and other mss. which might be useful in elucidating the history and antiquities of the Principality, and which now lie neglected, and fast tending to decay, in public and private libraries, both in England and Wales. The excellent prelate beforementioned has rescued one small piece of antiquity from unmerited oblivion, and probable destruction, which we have lately perused, viz. some Latin hexameter verses, written by John Sulien (alias Sulgenus,) to the memory of his father, John Sulien, (Johannes Sulgenus,) archbishop of St. David's. The Ms., as the bishop informs us, consisted of three loose leaves, burnt all round the edges, and which had nearly fallen a sacrifice to a fire which happened at the Cotton library in the year 1731. The publication of this small ms. is important, as it clearly establishes the independence of the Welsh or Cambro-British church, on the church of Rome, in the author's time; and, from this genuine fragment of antiquity, which has fortunately escaped the usual interpolations of the monks, the demand of the Roman Catholics—“ where was your church before the days of Luther?" may easily be answered; for from hence it clearly appears that our church existed in its native purity in these kingdoms prior to the introduction of the church of Rome,—that we had, in the author's time, an independent church, and a married clergy. We find here the son of a British metropolitan addressing himself immediately to Christ, without the intervention of departed saints, and protesting against prayers for the dead, as unprofitable for salvation. We learn from the verses of Sulgenus that the British church existed in the eleventh century; was a pure, distinct, and independent church, and consequently in this

united kingdom a much more ancient establishment than the church of Rome; and the church of England, as the bishop justly observes, may be seen in its original

, the British church, in its different epochs, from the first introduction of Christianity; for it clearly appears, by the authorities quoted by Archbishop Usher, in his “ Religion Professed by the Ancient Irish,” and his “ History of the British Church,” that the true church, now called Protestant, did not sink under the horrors of Saxon extermination, but retired to her mountains and fortresses in the west, and subsisted there for many centuries, not only independently of the church of Rome, but in a state of adverse resistance to her authority. Our ancestors, therefore, were Church of England men before they were Papists. The British, the Saxon, and the English churches, were, in the progress of national improvement, incorporated into one national church, before it fell under the dominion of catholicism. It was however, even after its fall, still the church of England; and, after the Reformation, it was no other than the church of England liberated from its popish trammels, from adscititious innovations, and the yoke of foreign jurisdiction.

Riamarch, brother to John, the author of the lines published by bishop Burgess, was a very learned man, and succeeded his father as archbishop of St. David's. The pope's spiritual dominion was not acknowledged in Wales until some time after the Norman conquest.

The archbishop of St. David's, and his suffragan bishops, rejected the authority of the pope in the person of St. Augustin (the monk) in the sixth century, and continued independent both of the Romish and of the English church (which latter was effected by the innovations of the emissaries of the church of Rome much sooner than the Welsh,) until the time of Bernard, the first Norman bishop of St. David's, who, at the instigation of Henry I. became suffragan to Canterbury. John, the author of these Latin verses, further informs us, that his father, the archbishop, spent five years in study in the different seminaries and colleges in Scotland, and thirteen in Ireland, both those countries being famous at that time for learned men, and, consequently, much resorted to by young students from Wales, England, and some parts of the Continent. Daniel, another brother of the author of the verses, was archdeacon of Powys; and probably it is in consequence of this circumstance, that Kerry, in Montgomeryshire, has ever since continued in the patronage of the bishop of St. David's. David, the Welsh patron saint, was not canonized until after the Norman conquest, and all our Welsh monasteries (subject to the pope) were also founded since that event. Llanrúg, 1833.

Peris.

« ПредишнаНапред »