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ciful detail of the comparative prices of commodities at various remote periods, when LA FONTAINE observed, “ Our friend knows the value of everything,-except time.” We recommend this anecdote to the special consideration of the cidevant members of the Roxburgh Club, as well as to the resuscitators of the dead lumber of antiquity.
ANTIQUITY—The stalking horse on which knaves and bigots invariably mount, when they want to ride over the timid and the credulous. Never do we hear so much solemn palaver about the time-hallowed institutions, and approved wisdom of our ancestors, as when attempts are made to remove some staring monument of their folly. Thus is the youth, nonage, ignorance, and inexperience of the world invested by a strange blunder, which Bacon was the first to indicate, with the reverence due to the present times, which are its true old age.
Antiquity is the young miscreant, the type of commingled ignorance and tyranny, who massacred prisoners taken in war, sacrificed human beings to idols, burnt them in Smithfield as heretics or witches, believed in astrology, demonology, sorcery, the philosopher's stone, and every exploded folly and enormity; although his example is still gravely arged as a rule of conduct, and a standing argument against innovation,—that is to say, improvement!. If the seal of time were to be the signet of truth, there is no absurdity, oppression, or falsehood, that might not be received as gospel ; while the Gospel itself would want the more ancient warrant of Paganism. Never was the world so old, and consequently so wise, as it is to-day; but it will be older, and, therefore, still wiser, to-morrow.
In one generation, the most ancient individual has generally the most experience; but in a succession of generations, the youngest, or last of them, is the real Methuselah and Mentor. To this obvious distinction, nothing can blind us but gross stupidity, or the most miserable cant. To plead the authority of the ancients, is to appeal from civilized and enlightened Christians, to fierce, unlettered Pagans; for no one has decided where this boasted wisdom begins or ends, though all agree that it is of great age. Every elderly man is an ancestor to his former self. Let him compare his boyish notions and feelings with his matured judgment, and he will form a pretty correct notion of the wisdom of our ancestors; for what the child is to the man, are the past generations to the present.
Let us learn to distinguish the uses from the abuses of antiquity. Not to know what happened before we were born, is always to remain a child: to know, and blindly to adopt that knowledge, as an implicit rule of life, is never to be a man.
APOLOGY-As great a peacemaker as the word “if.” In all cases, it is an excuse rather than an exculpation, and if adroitly managed, may be made to confirm what it seems to recall, and to aggravate the offence which it pretends to extenuate. A man who had accused his neighbour of falsehood, was called on for an apology, which he gave in the following amphibological terms :—“I called you a liar,-it is true. You spoke truth: I have told a lie.”
APPEARANCES—keeping up. A moral, or, rather, immoral uttering of counterfeit coin. It is astonishing how much human bad money is current in society, bearing the fair impress of ladies and gentlemen. The former, if carefully weighed, will always be found light, or you may presently detect if you ring them, though this is a somewhat perilous experiment. Both may be known by their assuming a more gaudy, and showy appearance than their neighbours, as if their characters were brighter, their impressions more perfect, and their composition more pure, than all others.
APPETITE -a relish bestowed upon the poorer classes, that they may like what they eat, while it is seldom enjoyed by the rich, because they may eat what they like.
ARCHITECTURE-Nothing more completely establishes the absence of any standard of intrinsic or inherent beauty in architecture, than the fact that we may equally admire two styles so totally dissimilar, both in their outlines, proportions, and details, as the Grecian and the Gothic, –
-an apparent inconsistency which has been accounted for by the plastic power of association. Independently of our impressions of the convenience, stability, skill, magnificence, and antiquity connected with the classical structures, they appear more especially to our imagination, as the handiworks and records of those great nations, for which, even from our boyish days, we have ever felt the deepest reverence. And association can find the identical elements of beauty, dissimilar as they may seem, in the Gothic architecture, where a sense of religious veneration, and all the romantic recollections of chivalry, produce the same hallowing and ennobling effect as our classical impressions in the former instance. Alison has further observed, too, that a taste in architecture, when once established, is generally permanent, because the costliness of public edifices, as well as their great durability, prevent their renewal, until they have acquired, in the eyes of succeeding generations, all the sanction of antiquity, and have rooted themselves in the public mind. This accounts for the long-continued uniformity of style among the ancient Egyptians, and other people of the East, as well as for our own habitual imitation of ancient standards.
Why we should continue to enslave ourselves to the five orders of Vitruvius, I cannot well see. To the art of the statuary there is a conceivable limit, but that of the architect seems to admit a much wider range, and greater variety, than can be circumscribed within five orders. All structures should be adapted to the climate, and there is, therefore, primâ facie' evidence that the fitting style for Greece and Asia Minor can scarcely be the proper one for England. A Grecian temple, many of whose ornaments are heathen symbols, is not the best model for a Christian church, which is but a
solecism in stone when thus paganized; nor can I admit the wisdom of our imitating an Italian villa, with its open balconies, and shady colonnades, unless we could, at the same time, import the Italian climate. The five orders are, to architecture, what the thirty-nine articles are to the church,—they do not ensure uniformity ;—and if they did, it would not be desirable, because they are not adapted to the present state of knowledge, and the wants and feelings of the community. In either instance, this slavery of opinion must eventually yield to the glowing freedom of thought.
Is there any valid reason why the Doric capital should be peculiar to a pillar whose height is precisely eight diameters, the Ionic volute to one of nine, and the Corinthian foliage to one of ten ? Custom has assigned these ornaments and proportions, but one can imagine others which would be equally, or, perhaps, more agreeable to an unprejudiced eye. The first columns were undoubtedly trees, which diminished as they ascended. The stems of the branches, where they were cut off, suggested the capital; the iron or other bandages at top and bottom, to prevent the splitting of the wood, were the origin of the fillets; the square tile which protected the lower end from the wet, gave rise to the plinth. But why should a stone pillar be made to imitate a tree, by lessening as it rises ? Custom alone has reconciled us to an unmeaning deviation, which throws all the inter-columnar spaces out of the perpendicular, and presents us with a series of long inverted cones, the most ungraceful of all forms. As if sensible of this defect, the Egyptians made the outline of some of their temples conform to the diminution of the columns, rendering the whole structure slightly pyramidical, and thus preserving the consistency of its lines.
Observing some singular pilasters at Harrowgate, surmounted with the Cornua Ammonis, I ventured to ask the builder to what order they belonged. Why, Sir," he replied, putting his hand to his head, “ the horns are a little order of my own.” Knowing him to be a married man, I con
cluded that he had good reason for appropriating that peculiar ornament to himself, and made no further objections to his architecture.
The bow windows and balconies that scallop the narrow side streets at our watering places, in order that their occupants may have better opportunity of seeing nothing, are excrescences which ought to be cut away. I admit, however, the disinterestedness of the architect; he can have no view in them.
ARGUMENT_With fools, passion, vociferation, or violence; with ministers, a majority; with kings, the sword; with fanatics, denunciation; with men of sense, a sound
ARISTOCRACY.-In ancient Greece this word signified the government of the best; but in modern England, if we are to judge by the present majority of the House of Lords, the term seems to have fairly “turned its back upon itself,” and to have become the antithesis to its original import; even as beldam (or belle dame,) formerly expressive of female beauty, is now defined by Dr. Johnson as, “a term of contempt, marking the last degree of old age with all its faults and miseries."
If we have noblemen whose titles are their honour, we have others who are an honour to their titles. Happy he, who deriving his patent from nature, as well as from his sovereign, may be dubbed, “inter doctos nobilissimus,-inter nobiles doctissimus,-inter utrosque optimus."
ARITHMETIC.-The science of figures cuts but a poor figure in its origin, the term calculation being derived from the calculus or pebble used as a counter by the Romans, whose numerals, stolen from the ancient Etruscans, and still to be traced on the monuments of that people, seem to have been suggested in the first instance by the five fingers. In