« PreviousContinue »
Finally, there was one John Geza, vicar of the parish of St. Faith, who published “ The Divine Potion to preserve Spiritual Health, by the Cure of the inveterate Malady of Drinking Healths; with clear and solid Arguments against this Criminal Custom; all for the Satisfaction of the Public, at the Request of a worthy Member of Parliament, in the Year of our Salvation 1648."
Our reverend father Garasse, our reverend father Patouillet, and our reverend father Nonotte, are nothing superior to these profound Englishmen. We have a long time wrestled with our neighbours for the superiority—To which is it due?
The Scene is in Tartarus.- The Furies entwined with
Serpents, and Whips in their Hands. Come along, Barbaraquincorix, Celtic Druid, and thou, detestable Grecian hierophant, Calchas; the moment of your just punishment has returned again ; the hour of vengeance has arrived—the bell has sounded!
THE DRUID AND CALCHAS. Oh, heavens! my head, my sides, my eyes, my ears! pardon, ladies, pardon!
CALCHAS. Mercy! two vipers are penetrating my eye-balls ! A serpent is devouring my entrails !
CALCHAS. Alas, how I am mangled! And must my eyes be every day restored, to be torn again from my head?
Must my skin be renewed only to dangle in ribbons from my lacerated body?
TISIPHONE. It will teach thee how to palm off a miserable parasitical plant for an universal remedy another time.Wilt thou still sacrifice boys and girls to thy god Theutates, priest?—still burn them in osier baskets to the sound of a drum?
DRUID. Never, never; dear lady, a little mercy, I beseech you.
TISIPHONE. Thou never hadst any thyself. Seize him, serpents, and now another lash!
ALECTO. Let them curry well this Calchas, who advances towards us
“ With cruel eye, dark mien, and bristled hair."*
My hair is torn away; I am scorched, flayed, impaled!
Wretch ! Wilt thou again cut the throat of a beautiful young girl, in order to obtain a favourable gale, instead of uniting her to a good husband ?
CALCHAS AND THE DRUID. Oh, what torments! and yet we die not.
TISIPHONE. Hey-day! God forgive me, but I hear music! It is Orpheus; why our serpents, sister, have become as gentle as lambs!
My sufferings cease; how very strange!
I am altogether recovered. Oh, the power of good music! And who art thou, divine man, who thus curest wounds, and rejoicest hell itself?
ORPHEUS. My friends, I am a priest like yourselves, but I never deceived
any one; nor cut the throat of either boy or girl in my life. When on earth, instead of making the gods hated, I rendered them beloved, and softened the manners of the men .whom you made ferocious. I shall exert myself in the like manner in hell. I met, just now, two barbarous priests whom they were scourging beyond measure; one of them formerly * Verse in the Iphegenia of Racine, descriptive of Calchas :
“ L'æil farouche, l'air sombre et le poil herissé.”
hewed a king in pieces before the Lord, and the other cut the throat of his queen and sovereign at the horse gate. I have terminated their punishment; and, having played to them a tune on the violin, they have promised me, that when they return into the world, they will live like honest men,
DRUID AND CALCHAS.
We promise the same thing, on the word of a priest.
Yes, but“ Passato il pericolo, gabbato il santo."*
[The Scene closes with a figure Dance, performed
by Orpheus, the Condemned, and the Furies, to light and agreeable music.]
Easy applies not only to a thing easily done, but also to a thing which appears to be so. The pencil of Correggio is easy, the style of Quinault is much more easy than that of Despreaux, and the style of Ovid surpasses in facility that of Persius.
This facility in painting, music, eloquence, and poetry, consists in a natural and spontaneous felicity, which admits of nothing that implies research, strength, or profundity. Thus the pictures of Paul Veronese have a much more easy and less finished air than those of Michael Angelo. The symphonies of Rameau are superior to those of Lulli, but appear
easy. Bossuet is more truly eloquent and more easy than Fletcher. Rousseau, in his epistles, has not near the facility and truth of Despreaux.
The commentator of Despreaux says " that this exact and laborious poet taught the illustrious Racine to make verses with difficulty, and that those which appear easy are those which have been made with the most difficulty."
It is true, that it often costs much pains to express ourselves with clearness, as also that the natural may
* “ The danger over, the saint is defrauded.” An Italian saying, in allusion to vows of offerings to saints in the hour of peril,
which are frequently forgotten when the danger is past.
be arrived at by effort; but it is also true that a happy genius often produces easy beauties without any labour, and that enthusiasm goes much further than art.
Most of the impassioned expressions of our good poets have come finished from their pen, and appear as easy as if they had in reality been composed without labour; the imagination therefore often conceives and brings forth easily. It is not thus with didactic works; which require art to make them appear easy. For example, there is much less ease than profundity in Pope's Essay on Man.
Bad works may be rapidly constructed, which having no genius will appear easy, and it is often the lot of those who, without genius, have the unfortunate habit of composing. * It is in this sense that a personage of the old comedy, called the Italian, says to another,
“ Thou makest bad verses admirably well.” The term easy is an insult to a woman, but is sometimes in society praise for a man; it is, however, a fault in a statesman.
The manners of Atticus were easy; he was the most amiable of the Romans; the easy Cleopatra gave herself as easily to Anthony as to Cæsar; the easy Claudius allowed himself to be governed by Agrippina: easy applied to Claudius is only a lenitive; the proper expression is weak.
An easy man is in general one possessed of a mind which easily gives itself up to reason and remonstrancea heart which melts at the prayers that are made to it; while a weak man is one who allows too much authority over him.
ECLIPSE. In the greatest part of the known world every extraordinary phenomenon was, for a long time, believed to be the presage of some happy or miserable event. Thus the Roman historians have not led to observe, that an eclipse of the sun accompanied the birth of Romulus, that another announced his death, and that a third attended the foundation of the city of Rome.
*“ The mob of gentlemen who write with ease.”—T.
We have already spoken of the article entitled the Vision OF CONSTANTINE, of the apparition of the cross which preceded the triumph of christianity; and under the article PROPHECY, we shall treat of the new star which enlightened the birth of Jesus. We will therefore here confine ourselves to what has been said of the darkness with which all the earth was covered when he gave up the ghost.
The writers of the Greek and Romish churches have quoted as authentic two letters attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite,* in which he relates, that being at Heliopolis in Egypt, with his friend Apollophanes, he suddenly saw, about the sixth hour, the moon pass underneath the sun, which caused a great eclipse. Afterwards, in the ninth hour, they perceived the moon quitting the place which she occupied and return to the opposite side of the diameter. They then took the rules of Philip Aridæus, and, having examined the course of the stars, they found that the sun could not have been naturally eclipsed at that time. Further, they observed that the moon, contrary to her natural motion, instead of going to the west to range herself under the sun, approached on the eastern side, and that she returned behind on the same side; which caused Apollophanes to say, “ These, my dear Dionysius, are changes of divine things:” to which Dionysius replied, “ Either the author of nature suffers, or the machine of the universe will be soon destroyed.”
Dionysius adds, that having remarked the exact time and year of this prodigy, and compared them with what Paul afterwards told him, he yielded up to the truth as well as his friend. This is what led to the belief that the darkness happening at the death of Jesus Christ was caused by a supernatural eclipse; and what has extended this opinion is, that Maldonat says it is that of almost all the catholics. How is it possible to resist the authority of an ocular, enlightened, and disinter
* This article repeats and amplifies the information contained in that headed DIONYSIUS TAE AREOPAGITE, and it has been thought advisable to put up with a slight repetition, in order to obtain the additional matter which could not be well separated from it.-T.