« ПредишнаНапред »
THE ALLIANCE OF
EDUCATION AND GOVERNMENT.
-Πόταγ ̓, ὦ ̓γαθέ· τὰν γὰρ ἀοιδὰν
As sickly plants betray à niggard earth, Whose barren bosom starves her generous birth, Nor genial warmth, nor genial juice retains, Their roots to feed, and fill their verdant veins ; And as in climes, where winter holds his reign, The soil, though fertile, will not teem in vain, Forbids her gems to swell, her shades to rise, Nor trusts her blossoms to the churlish skies: So draw mankind in vain the vital airs, Unform'd, unfriended, by those kindly cares, That health and vigour to the soul impart,
Spread the young thought, and warm the opening heart: So fond instruction on the growing powers
Of nature idly lavishes her stores,
If equal justice with unclouded face
Smile not indulgent on the rising race,
And scatter with a free, though frugal hand,
Say, then, through ages by what fate confin'd
Fix, and improve the polish'd arts of peace;
As oft have issued, host impelling host,
Th' encroaching tide that drowns her lessening lands ;
Her native plains, and empires once her own?
O'er Libya's deserts and through Zembla's snows?
Their little wants, their low desires refine,
Not but the human fabric from the birth
To brave the savage rushing from the wood,
(As lawless force from confidence will grow)
ON THE LAST FRAGMENTARY POEM.
THE author's subject being (as we have seen) The necessary alliance between a good form of government and a good mode of education, in order to produce the happiness of mankind, the Poem opens with two similes,-an uncommon kind of exordium; but which I suppose the poet intentionally chose, to intimate the analogical method he meant to pursue in his subsequent reasonings. 1st, He asserts that men without education are like sickly plants in a cold or barren soil, (line 1 to 5, and 8 to 12;) and 2ndly, he compares them, when unblest with a just and well-regulated government, to plants that will not blossom or bear fruit in an unkindly and inclement air (7. 5 to 9, and l. 13 to 22.) Having thus laid down the two propositions he means to prove, he begins by examining into the characteristics which (taking a general view of mankind) all men have in common one with another (l. 22 to 39); they covet pleasure and avoid pain (7. 31); they feel gratitude for benefits (7. 34); they desire to avenge wrongs, which they effect either by force or cunning (7. 35); they are linked to each other by their common feelings, and participate in sorrow and in joy (l. 36, 37). If then all the human species agree in so many moral particulars, whence arises the diversity of national characters? This question the poet puts at line 38, and dilates upon to l. 64. Why, says he, have some nations shewn a propensity to commerce and industry; others to war and rapine; others to ease and pleasure? (l. 42 to 46). Why have the northern people overspread, in all ages, and prevailed over the southern? (7. 46 to 58). Why has Asia been, time out of mind, the seat of despotism, and Europe that of freedom? (7. 59 to 64). Are we from these instances to imagine men necessarily enslaved to the inconveniences of the climate where they were born? (l. 64 to 72). Or are we not rather to suppose there is a natural strength in the human mind, that is able to vanquish and break through them? (l. 72 to 84). It is confessed, however, that men receive an early tincture from the situation they are placed in, and the climate which produces them (7. 84 to 88). Thus the inhabitants of the mountains, inured to labour and patience, are naturally trained to war (7. 88 to 96); while those of the plain are more open to any attack, and softened by ease and plenty (7. 96 to 99). Again, the Egyptians, from the nature of their situation, might be the inventors of home navigation, from a necessity of keeping up an intercourse between their towns during the inundation of the Nile (7. 99 to ***). Those persons would naturally have the first turn to commerce, who inhabited a barren coast, like the Tyrians, and were persecuted by some neighbouring tyrant; or were drove to take refuge on some shoals, like the Venetian and Hollander; their discovery of some rich island, in the infancy of the world, described. The Tartar, hardened to war by his rigorous climate and pastoral life, and by his disputes for water and herbage in a country without land-marks, as also by skirmishes between his rival clans, was consequently fitted to conquer his rich southern neighbours, whom ease and luxury had enervated: yet this is no proof that liberty and valour may not exist in southern climes, since the Syrians and Carthaginians gave noble instances of both; and the Arabians carried their conquests as far as the Tartars. Rome also (for many centuries) repulsed those very nations, which, when she grew weak, at length demolished her extensive empire.