Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

TO

ets of its devotees. Everybody sings about the same song, when they leave the Table, and if unlucky as to the number of games, make strong resolutions to spend their future in diligent and improving study.

We cannot close this subject more appropriately, than by inserting an impromptu poem, which a waggish friend rattled off in our ear, as we were leaving Eli's, the other day-we vouch for its originality.

“A fool is known by his folly-
So said the wise of old, and said most true,
And by this very thing, to-day, I'm known to you-
A fooll
And as a fool would do
I still persist in doing,
What every one, at least

what you
Would think 'twere well eschewing.
Nature's not all at fault-
She doesn't lack the tools
For making men, that makes so many fools.
Nol lay it not to that,—the point is not obtuse, -
The man who says I'm not a fool, is certainly a goose.
Then let it be decided thus:
That folly cannot die
So long as such a silly
Is living on as I.

The “World” is unusually quiet, just now, and all the Classes are, we think, becoming seriously studious. We will not encroach longer upon your precious time, and will extricate ourselves immediately, with many thanks for your kind attention.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Etenim omnes artes, quæ ad humanitatem pertinent, habent quoddam commune vinculum et quasi cognatione quadam inter se continentur.-CICERO.

а

CICERO, in the exordium of his famous oration for the poet Archias, has given utterance to a beautiful, though speculative thought. He says in the sentence I have here quoted—that all branches of knowledge which pertain to liberal culture, are connected with each other by a sort of relationship, a certain common bond of union. Cicero had in mind the application of this thought to Horatory. He tells us that he himself has never been entirely devoted to a single study, and that he owes to the precepts and encouragement of his poet-friend, whose defence he has most cheerfully undertaken, his own talent and skill as an orator. We can scarcely doubt the sincerity of this grateful tribute which Cicero pays to Archias, for we can clearly discover in line of his matchless oration, evidences of that generous culture which he had gained from a life-long devotion to the liberal arts -particularly to the art of poetry. No better proof of the close alliance that exists between poetry and true eloquence, can be desired than is found in this oration, so full is it of finely poetic thought. Well may the orator avow with gratitude his indebtedness to the poet,

common bond” uniting these two noble arts. What great orator of ancient or modern time but will acknowledge

26

every

and speak of

a

VOL. XXVIII.

the quickening power of poetry upon the sensibilities, the imagination, the intellect itself ? Poetry is, indeed, the “consummate flower” of literature, the repository of the choicest thoughts, the mirror of the beautiful and sublime in nature. The orator, therefore, whose end is the acquisition of the faculty of exciting, persuading, or convincing men, must look to poetry for much of his knowledge of the human heart, and for much of his best inspiration.

But while it is thus true that there is this evident connection between poetry and oratory in every age, in our own as well as in ancient time, the truth is perhaps more strikingly applicable to the age of Cicero. In his time, on account of the rarity and costliness of books, those who would instruct and direct the popular mind must accomplish their work orally. Hence the orator, the dramatic, and even the epic poet-for epic poetry was publicly recited-had not only essentially the same end, but must reach that end in one and the same way-by influencing in public large bodies of men. Poetry and eloquence, therefore, must have derived their power from the same sources. They must equally have illustrated the philosophy, the individual tastes and characteristics, and the social customs of the times.

It was not, however, the poetic and oratoric arts simply, that Cicero would join by a common bond. Side by side with poetry, though perhaps not equally powerful as a means of æsthetical culture, must be placed the fine arts; and, besides, there were cultivated among the Ancients, with great assiduity and success, logic, bistory, and mental and moral philosophy, all the joint products of the human intellect, all exerting a concurrent influence in moulding society, and all closely dependent one upon another. This inter-dependence and union, we shall readily admit still continues. The principle announced by the Roman orator, that all those studies which favor man's intellectual, social and moral growth, are intimately related to each other, has as yet lost none of its pertinency and force.

A distinguished modern historian testifies to the “ inevitable alliance” of philosophy and history, and shows by the course he himself takes, that the province of history includes something more than the mere recounting of isolated facts. Indeed, history, if it follow the example of the ancient historian, Thucydides, has to treat not wholly of the exploits of renowned generals, the projects of kings and princes, or the lives of remarkable personages : it must trace the development of institutions, elucidate national manners and laws, and reflect national thought and national life, as manifested in literature and the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« IndietroContinua »