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laid on musical entertainments alone, in Plato's republic. Nor did the statesman Cicero, in his laws, think Plato's an idle notion. Quamobrem ille quidem fapientiffimus Graeciae vir, longeque do&tifimus, valde hanc labem veretur : negat enim mutari posle muficas leges fine immutatione legum publicarum. Ego autem nec tam valde id timendum, nec plane contemnendum puto. Matters of these concernments are now left to the management of our women of fashion: and even our poets, whose end is profit and delight, are exceeding cautious how they incur the censure of these fair umpires and critics. Hence what we call honour, love, and gallantry, make up the chief
of modern tragedies; and our Wicherlys and Congreves, well knowing their audience, took the sureft way to please them.
2 Cicero de Leg. JI, 15. Plato's words are, Etsya KAINON [lego, KOINON] μεσικής μεταβαλλεν ευλαβητέον, ως η όλη κινδυνέυονία. Οι δαμά γαρ κινείlαι μθσικής τρόποι άνευ σολιθικών νόμων των μεγίτων, ως φησί τι Δάμων, και εγώ Gábopan. De Repub. L. IV. p. 424. Edit. Steph. To the fime purpose the philologist Dio, Orat. 33. p. 411. Παρα δε τούς "Ελλησι πρότερον δεινών έδόκει το μακινεϊ την μεσικήν, και καλεβόων στάνιες των ρυθμόν εισαγόνων έτερον, και τα μέλη ποικιλύτερα παντων, ως διαφθειρομένης της Ελλάδαεν τούς θιάτρους. Ούτω σφόδρα τα ώτα έφύλατιον, και τηλικαύτην ηγενιο δύναμιν την ακοήν έχειν, άσε θηλύνει την διάνοιαν, και αδικείσθαι τα της σωφροσύνης, εν παρα μικρών ενώ το της αρμονίας. .
A corruption of taft eafily makes way for a corruption of morals and manners ; and these once depraved foon fit us for the groffeft fervitude both of body and mind. They who can read history fomewhat beyond the common chronologer's and antiquarian's observation, and can trace the progress of national manners, are very fenfible of the reciprocal dependence and murtual connexion between civil liberty and polite literature. However half-seeing critics may extol the golden age of Augustus, yet all that blaze of wit was kindled during the ftruggle for liberty : 'twas then indeed they had leifure to exert their faculties, when their country ħad a little respite from civil commotions. But this was the laft effort of expiring politenefs and literature. Barbarism, with gigantic strides, began to advance; and to check its progress there was but one effectual way; and that was, to alter the whole constitution of affairs. Thus they went on from bad to worse, 'till the finishing ftroke was given by St. Gregory the Great, who in a pious fury set fire to the 3 Palatine library. In the eastern empire, by the influence
3 Sapientiffimus ille Gregorius non modo mathefin jufit ab aula recedere, fed ut traditur à majoribus incendio dedit probata leétionis
of the + Greek fathers of the church, all reading of the Attic writers was not only discouraged, but the originals were burnt and destroyed. If any furvived this religious massacre, 'twas partly owing to some particular attachment to a favourite author, and partly to meer accidental causes. About the same time the northern nations dismantled the empire, and at length left it an easy prey to the Turk.
If we turn our eyes to our own country, we cannot go farther than the invasion of Julius
Scripta, Palatinus quuecunque tenebat Apollo. Joannes Saresberiensis de nugis curial. 1. 2. c. 26. Fertur tamen beatus Gregorius bibliothecam combufile gentilem, quo divinæ pagine gratior efet locus, et major autoritas, et diligentia ftudiofior. Idem l. 8. c. 19.
4 Audiebam etiam puer ex Demetrio Chalcondyla Graecarum rerum peritiffimo, sacerdotes Graecos tanta floruise auctoritate apud Caefares Byzantinos, ut integra (illorum gratia) complura de veteribus Graecis poemata combuferint, inprimisque ea ubi amores, turpes lufus et nequitiae amantium continebantur, atque ita Menandri, Diphili, Apollodori, Philemonis, Alexis fabellas, et Sapphus, Erinnae, Anacreontis, Minermimi, [Mimnermi] Bionis, Alcmanis, Alcaci carmina intercidiffe, tum pro his fubftituta Nazianzeni noftri poemata ; quae, etfi excitant animos noftrorum hominum ad flagrantiorem religionis cultum, non tamen verborum Atticorum proprietatem et Grascar linguae elegantiam edocent. Turpiter quidem facerdotes ifti in veteres Graecos malevoli fuerunt, fed integritatis, probitatis et religionis maximum dedere teftimonium. Petrus Alcyonius de Exil. p. 29. edit. Bafil.
Caesar, without being immerged in legends and romances. But even in that late period of arts and sciences, our British barbarity was so very notorious, that our inhospitality to strangers, our poverty and meanness, and our ignorance of every polite art, made us as contemptible to the Romans, as the lowest of the Indian clans can possibly at this day appear to us. And even when we were beaten into a better behaviour, and taught by our conquerors a little more civility, yet we always relish'd the Gothic, more than the Roman manners. Our reading, if we could read at all, was such as the Monks were pleased
5 Horace, Lib. III. Ode 4. Visam Britannos hofpitibus feros. See Caesar's description of Britain (if 'tis Caesar's, and not inserted by a later hand) de bello Gallic. V, &c. Cicero ad Attic. Epift. IV, 16. Illud jam cognitum eft, neque argenti fcrupulum effe ullum in illa infula, neque ullam fpem praedae, nisi ex mancipiis. If Cæsar did not thoroughly conquer us, the reason was, because we were not worth conquering. He had other designs than spending his time in such a miserable country ; which Rome soon began to be sensible of.
6 “ In our forefathers time, when papistry, as a standing “ pool, covered and overflowed all England, few books
read in our tongue, faving certain books of chival“ ry, as they said for pastime and pleasure ; which, as « fome say, were made in monafteries by idle Monks or 6c wanton Canons.” Ascham's Scholemaster, p. 86.
to allow us, either pious tales of their own forging, or lying histories of adventurous knighterrants. Our heroes were of a piece with our learning, formed from the Gothic and Moorish models.
A pleasant picture of our ancient chivalry may be seen in Shakespeare's K. Richard II. where Bolingbroke, son to John of Gaunt, appeals the duke of Norfolk, on an accusation of high treason. He would have been thought a most irreligious person, who should have dared to question the immediate interposition of heaven in defending the right cause. The judge therefore allowing the appeal, the accused
per. son threw down his gage, whether glove or gauntlet, which was taken up formally by the accuser ; and both were taken into safe custody till battle was to decide the truth. The cham-. pions arms being ceremoniously blessed, each took an oath, that he used no charmed weapons, 7 Macbeth, according to the law of arms, tells Macduff,
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield.
To one of womon born. To this Posthumus alludes in Cymbeline, Act. V.
1, in my own woe charm'd Could not find death. 7 Macbeth, A& V. C 3