Lapas attēli

struction of the English language, and into our local customs, and national antiquities, as well as our history and laws, a knowledge of the Saxon language must bring with it undoubted advantages: and, perhaps, never from the English press issued a book, better entitled on many accounts, to the attention of Englishmen, than Bishop Wilkins's edition of the Anglo Saxon Laws.

The language itself, too, is copious and expressive *. Should any one affect to treat it as monotonous and poor, he should be dismissed for more correct information, and wholesome chastisement, to an English lady, who wrote a very useful Saxon Grammarb.

I cannot help adding what follows on this subject. In Baker's MSS. in the British Museum, are some papers relative to a Saxon professorship. From several letters of Sir Henry Spelman, the antiquary, copied from MSS. in the public library at Cambridge, it appears, that a few years before his death, he meditated to found a Saxon lectureship; and that eighteen years after the establishmsnt of the Arabic lectureship, by Sir Thomas Adams, Lord Mayor of London, funds were appropriated by Spelman for a Saxon one. The order of the senate may be seen among Baker's Papers, signed by the Vice Chancellor; and part of an introductory discourse to the University. The following is the title : “Oratio et Specimen in Britanno-Saxonicam Prælec

See a Treatise on Languages, and one professedly on the English Language, in Camden's REMAINS.

Preface to Dr. Hickes of the Rudiments of Grammar for the English-Saxon Tongue; by Eliz. Elstob. This work is grounded on Dr. Hickes's Grammatica Anglosax. in his Thesaurus Linguarum Septentrionalium :--Mrs. Elstob handles those who affect to treat the Saxon language and antiquities contemptuously with great smartness.

tionem, auspiciis honorabilis viri Domini Henrici Spelman inchoatam, datum et habitum in Conventu academicorum omnium ordinum in Scholis juris consultorum ab Abrahamo Wheloco."

Englished: An Oration and Specimen towards a British Saxon Prelection, begun under the auspices of that honourable gentleman, Henry Spelman ; given and delivered at a meeting of the academics of all ranks in the law schools, by Abraham Whelock.

The Oration and Specimen are very short, abrupt, and unfinished, ending with cætera desiderantur.

And here some readers may call to mind, the professorship (founded by Geo. I. in 1724,) of Modern History, which in the hands of Mr. Gray, was ineffective : this is mentioned not to censure Mr. Gray, but to applaud the present professor, Mr. Smyth. Mr. Mason has undertaken Mr. Gray's defence. It appears, there were some difficulties in the way, which Mr. Gray could not easily surmount; and that after all, had he lived, (for he had great scruples on the subject,) he would, most probably, either have given lectures, or resigned a the professorship

The circumstance has been more particularly mentioned, to shew, how establishments, that may have been suffered to sleep awhile, may be brought again into effect. For under the management of the present professor, the department of modern history is become, not merely effective, but of high consideration.

It is obvious to remark, that Alma Mater has no professorship for the fine arts. Anciently, in the monasteries, Art took her seat near Science. What there was of painting was executed principally in monasteries. The Norman divines were generally architects, who studied to rival each other, and sometimes strove to outvie themselves, in their churches of massy, curious, elaborate workmanship. Nuns were limners: and the finest Gothic buildings were designed and superintended by monks and abbots.

a See Mr. Gray's last Letter to Mr. Mason, with the observations of the latter on it, at the end of Mason's Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. Gray,

But as Science extended her views, she increased her stores, and would not admit of partnership. Art has, therefore, provided for herself elsewhere. She seeks royal academies, and the great city, where numerous paintings of the best masters, and models of the antique, abound; where rivalry stimulates to excellence, and excellence may look for the public patronage.

But though Alma Mater has no professorships of the arts, she is not without exquisite models : she can shew but few fine paintings; but she exhibits one of the grandest display of public buildings in England : she has a few very exquisite busts and magnificent statues of her sons; and some of her best moderu buildings were designed by her own members.

Cambridge possesses, in the town and university, a few specimens of Norman or Saxon architecture, the most perfect of the Gothic, (as King's College Chapel,) and some of all the Grecian and Roman orders: these may be called her silent lecturers. Let a person, inquisitive into these matters, furnish himself with a few books, that are within reach of almost every one, and study these buildings, and he will enjoy the advantage of a professorship without its formality. Thus it was Gray, who, for the twenty-five last years of his life, resided almost constantly at CamBridge, studied architecture; and few men were better

acquainted with the principles of our old English architecture than Mr. Gray.

And here, perhaps, some may ask: But has Cambridge done nothing for poetry? Has she no professorship for this divine art? No—but Oxford has. True-Which has acted most judiciously? Gray refused the offer of poet laureat's place; and I doubt whether he would have had humility enough for a professorship of poetry.

The fact is, the province of poetry is more to please than instruct, or rather, prodesse delectando, to profit in pleasing, and her essential qualities are not so much the effect of a too regular discipline, as of force of imagination. You may give laws for framing measures, and advice to poetry in the form of poetical prælections a, with great exactness, and much at ease; but, Can you kindle up

the fires of genius? Can you call forth the sublime energies of poetry?

Whether Alma Mater’s conduct is a silent reply to such objections; whether she has proceeded from accidental oversight, or systematic design, matters not. But let an Oxford critic bear testimony, that, in true poetry, Cambridge has not been defective; that without a professor to cultivate the soil, and amidst all her mathematical training, which is said to stint the growth of poetry, our Alma Mater of Cambridge, in times past, has produced a rich

a I do not mean to degrade such books as Trapp's Prælect. Poeticæ, (Oxford, 1722,) but allude to a too large expectation from them, and too minute, artificial an application of them ; being entirely of Longinus's opinion on the subject :

:-οτι αυτη (Natura) μεν πρωτον τι και αρχετυσον γενεσεως τοιχον επι σαντων υφες ηκεν» τας δε σοσοτητος και τον εφ' εκας8 καιρον, ετι δε την απλανες ατην ασκησιν τε και χρησιν ικανη παρορισαι, και συνενεγκειν η μεθοδος. And again,-Ως η μεν φυσις την της ευτυχιας ταξιν T EXH1 TEX YN DE TEV TES EU Counsas. De Sublimitate, ed. Pearce, p. 10. 12. I also allude to what was, probably, Gray's opinion on the subject.

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harvest &: and, Who will say, that many, in modern times, , amongst her writers of prize poems, and tripos poems, and amongst those known to the world as poets, could not have fixed upon one fitted to fill a poetical chair, or to be complimented as a nominal professor ?

Has not Alma Mater entered into the sentiments of one, who, though no professor, knew and felt the dignity, to which true poetry aspires ?

Poesy,” says he,“ is a part of learning, in measure of words, in part restrained, but in all other parts extremely licensed, and doth truly refer to the imagination; which, not beiug tied to the laws of matter, may, at pleasure join that which nature has severed, and sever that which nature has joined ; and so make unlawful matches and divorces of things; pictoribus, atq. poetis, &c. It is taken in two senses, in respect of words or matter : in the first sense, it is but a character of style, and belongeth to arts of speech, and is not pertinent to the present : in the latter it is, as hath been said, one of the principal portions of learning, and is nothing less than that feigned history which may be styled as well in prose as poetry.

“The use of this feigned History hath been to give some shadow of satisfaction to the mind of man, in those points wherein the nature of things doth deny it, the world being inferior to the soul; by reason whereof there is, agreeable to the spirit of man, a more ample greatness, a more exact goodness, and a more absolute variety, than can be found in the nature of things. Therefore, because the acts, or events of true history, have not that magnitude which satisfieth the mind of man, poesy feigneth acts and

a See Bishop Newton's Life of Milton. The biographer admits that Cambridge has produced a richer harvest of poetry than Oxford.

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