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ART. V.-The Works of Richard Bentley, D.D. Collected and edited by the Rev. ALEXANDer Dyce. Vol. 1. Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris.


Themistocles, Socrates, Euripides, and the Fables of Esop; also Epistola ad Joannem Millium.

3. Sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. Remarks upon a Discourse of Free-Thinking. Proposals for an edition of the Greek Testament, &c. &c. London: Macpherson. 1838.

IN our last Number we took occasion to express our hearty thanks to the Rev. Alexander Dyce for the valuable boon he has conferred upon the clerical and classical world by the republication of the works of Bentley; and we now sit down to give some account of that prince of critics, who, next to Josephus Justus Scaliger, has shown that no common powers of intellect are requisite for the successful cultivation of a science that was once held in high honour; but which it is the fashion of the march-ofintellect era to decry, "as the specious disguise of self-complacent ignorance, and the fruitless blossoms of strenuous idleness; at best a frivolous accomplishment, and not seldom an insidious abettor of privileged prejudices and of creeds outrun."

Of the volumes in question it were strange indeed had the least notice been taken by those whom Lord Brougham considers the best of instructors; for they contain matter of which the ordinary writers in periodicals have learnt nothing but how to abuse it, and with which they could not venture to meddle even if their readers were likely to feel the least interest in controversies, where learning was arrayed successfully against wit in the case of the all-believing Boyle, and both against presumption and ignorance in that of the all-doubting Collins.*

We find, however, an elaborate article on the subject in the Gentleman's Magazine; which, under the superintendence of its present editor, a scholar of the right stamp, puts to shame many of the younger aspirants to public favour; to hundreds of whom, during its continued career, it has sung―

"Too soon, alas! your little life is gone;
To-day ye sparkle, and to-morrow die.


Had, indeed, Peter Elmsley been still living, it is probable that he would have enriched the pages of the Quarterly with an article on Bentley's Phalaris, such as he once gave upon Markland's three plays of Euripides, full of taste and learning; or had

* In the Life of Collins, inserted in the Penny Cyclopædia, this answer of Bentley is described as a display of learned sagacity, coarse wit, and most intemperate abuse-a character quite applicable to different articles in the Edinburgh, the learning and sagacity excepted.

D. K. Sandford not paid so soon the debt of nature, the Edinburgh might have given place to a popular paper of his upon the Beauties of Bentley, taking care to put the little Greek it contained at the close of the article, as was done in the case of Sandford's pretty notice of Mitchell's Aristophanes; or were Mr. George Cornwall Lewis not an assistant commissioner of some kind, he would probably, in the Foreign Quarterly, have sheltered the sciolist Le-Clerc against the attack of Bentley, as he did the plagiarist Meineke, when Kidd, like a Hercules, had dragged the literary Cacus from his den of plunder; or, lastly, were the British Review still the delight, as Byron said, of grandmothers, the present possessor of the chair of Joshua Barnes would have felt a chivalrous itching to uphold the dignity of a quondam professor against the sneers of Bentley, and have entered the ring, as he once did with the present Bishop of Gloucester; when, though but a stripling knight, he challenged the Soldan-visored Monk to a just in criticism, and with the view of proving by his tilt against the Professor's Hippolytus, that, as soon as he gained his golden spurs, he would unhorse* another editor from his Eschylean Pegasus, and thus neutralize the flattery of a cotemporary scholar, who once said of the present Bishop of London, that "Blomfieldo in hisce literis regnaturo totus eruditorum coetus fasces submittet, et, sospite quo, se consolabitur, quod Græcæ linguæ cognitio una cum interitu Porsoni non omnis interierit."

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In the case, however, of the Gentleman's Magazine, it would have been a virtual confession on the part of the Nestor of periodicals of its being not so much blessed with a green old age as having caught the infection of superficiality, had it neglected to pay due honour to writings better understood, and therefore more highly appreciated a century ago than they can be at present. For then men of education were not, as they now are, required to be walking Encyclopædias; nor were they enabled, by the aid of Pinnock's Catechisms and other ladders of learning, to dispute, like Picus Mirandola, upon any one of 400 subjects to be selected at a moment's notice-a feat which only Lord Brougham, the Admirable Crichton of our times, would venture upon. It was sufficient for them to know a few things well; to follow the stream of reading unbroken, until it emptied itself into the ocean of thought; for dwarfs as they were in the

*It was said by Elmsley of Porson's Supplement of the Preface to his Hecuba that no person could thoroughly understand it, unless he devoted his days and nights to the perusal of Hermans's first edition of his book on Metre; and a similar remark may be made of Professor Scholefield's notes on the 'Erтà Eπì Onßais of Eschylus: where in almost every passage there is a sly hit at the Bishop of London, although, as in the case of Porson, the name of the party sneered at is seldom mentioned,

opinion of the conceited superficialists, as compared with the modern giants in pinafores, for whose benefit it is his Lordship's ambition to be the Dionysius of the day, still they had the wit to know, what the modern Bacons have only lately discovered, that the vine, which is suffered to spread itself unpruned, will never produce any thing but wood.

For thus making his Lordship, if not our great example, at least our theme, we have to offer the same apology that his friend and fellow-reviewer in the Edinburgh did to the late Mr. Canning. "I do not," says Peter Plymley, alias the Rev. Sydney Smith,"attack him for the love of glory, but of utility, just as the Dutch burgomaster hunts a rat in a dyke, for fear it should inundate a province." The short-lived Chancellor, like the short-lived Premier, is, we believe, a very respectable man in private life; but one could as well be content to feed for ever upon the haggis and oat-cake of a Scotch drover, as console oneself for the mischief done to sound learning by feeding upon the hope of his Lordship growing wiser. If the noble schoolmaster would only confine himself to seven-hour speeches on law reforms in the Court of Chancery, not one of which, when he was in power, he put into practice; or if he would only write pamphlets against the ballot one day to be repudiated the next; he would be performing admirably his duty in that state of life to which he has been called. But when he enters upon subjects connected with education, and especially as it bears upon the moral conduct of mankind, his Lordship treads upon ground where no Utilitarian, who bases all human actions upon the penny principle, should set his foot.*

Judging, however, from his Lordship's article in the last Edinburgh Review, where he has shown how naturally the would-beeagle can become the carrion-crow, and instead of pouncing upon the living gorge itself on the dead, we suspect that his Lordship begins to feel the full force of the sentiment


non lex est justior ulla,

Quam necis artifices arte perire sua.'

For we find that he there complains of the present licentiousness of the press; as if any other result could have been expected from the example set by the Edinburgh itself, which having peppered its dishes till the palate of the public became diseased, is now astonished that nothing less than cayenne will go down

*For in the beautifully simple language of Plato, a money-making state οὐκ ἄν ποτε δύναιτο τῶν ἄλλων ἐπιμέλειαν ἔχειν πλὴν τοῦ καθ ̓ ἡμέραν κέρδους· καὶ γὰρ ὅ, τι μὲν πρὸς τοῦτο φέρει μάθημα ἢ ἐπιτήδευμα ἰδίᾳ πᾶς μανθάνειν τε καὶ ἀσκεῖν ἑτοιμότατός ἐστι, τῶν δὲ ἄλλων καταγελᾷν. (Legg. viii. p. 403, Bip.) "A money-making state will never be able to pay a regard to other matters than daily gain: for whatever learning or pursuit leads to this, that every man is most ready to acquire and practise, but laugh down all else."

with a relish. The fact is, that his Lordship, like Erasmus in the case of the Reformation, has discovered that the fruits of reform have not shewn themselves, as he fondly dreamed and foolishly predicted, in the more noble conduct of its partizans; that some heated enthusiasts-we use the language of a timecooled historian-are not only deprecating all profane studies, as the worse than useless productions of a steamless age; but even men of education are sneering at verbal criticism, which is supported by, and in turn supports all that is connected with a thorough insight into classical literature.

Thus Mr. Hallam, who is like Lord Brougham, not only one of the capitals that grace the columns of the Edinburgh, but what carries with it a ticket for the temple of Fame, is a member of the French Institute, has taken occasion to speak disrespectfully of those little minds, who are wont to seek and are able to discover in ancient literature nothing more elevated than the narrow though necessary researches of verbal criticism; and who, as stated in another place, have neither escaped nor deserved to escape the imputation of being the leaden statues of the dullest school of pedantry from their annexing an exaggerated value to the correction of an unimportant passage, or the interpretation of some worthless inscription, All this would be very fine if it were only true. But Mr. Hallam, we hope, has not yet to learn that no man whose talents fit him to be a critic, ever attached an exaggerated value to the correction of an unimportant passage; for in the eyes of a genuine scholar every passage is equally important, until all doubts about it are removed; nor is any inscription considered worthless, until the very investigation, which Mr. Hallam deprecates, proves it to be so. To a careless observer indeed a passage may seem to be unimportant, and an inscription of no value; but one who reads with all his wits about him, knows well, that nothing, as Porson said, is vel in bello vel in re critica contemnendum; that the decision of questions, which Mr. Hallam himself would confess to be important-connected as they are with historical facts-sometimes turn upon apparently minor points. Till the time of Bentley, for instance, the Epistles of Phalaris were never proved to be forgeries, although suspected to be so by a few word-catchers. When, however, Bentley in his immortal dissertation, as Porson called it, had discovered that it contained allusions to and fragments from the Stage of Athens, which did not exist till after the period of the supposed author, not a shadow of doubt remained that Temple and others had been mystified by some Ireland of former days, who chose rather to put on the mask of a king than to appear in his own character of a sophist. With the discovery of this fact, whatever had been previously considered as the history of the tyrant, and founded upon his correspondence, was of course rejected as fictions. So too in our own days, Mr. Julius Charles Hare has, in the Philological Museum, No. I., p. 192, attempted to support the


legend of Pausanias ii. 5, and of Apollodorus ii. 1, that makes the Egyptian Apis a native of Achæa; and he has appealed to Æsch. Suppl. 261. ̓́Απις γὰρ ἐλθὼν ἐκ πέρας Ναυπακτίας. But the passage, which many suspected to be corrupt, has been recently corrected by Mr. Burges in the Appendix to "Poppo's Prolegomena," p. 234, into "Aπiç yap λкwv eiç néтρaç vaïv akriag: and thus by the easiest of all emendations he has not only restored sense to the Poet, but exhibited the nonsense of the Philologist; who, like Mr. Hallam, looks down with sovereign contempt on verbal critics. But of Mr. Hare's estimate of Bentley's powers we shall say a word or two anon; at present we will confine ourselves to the sayings of the wise men of Edinburgh, the modern Gotham of classical learning.

Of course, since the appearance of Byron's "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," nobody who knows Pi from Beta at Lord Holland's table, or in the page of Pindar, would value at a rotten nut an opinion of

"The classic Hallam, much renowned for Greek."

But as the charge lately made by that writer is merely the hash-up of what has appeared oftener than once in the Edinburgh, we will meet it once for all, and then return to Bentley. Some thirty years ago we heard, till we were deaf, of "the disproportionate degree of attention paid to studies, that are valuable only as the keys or instruments of the understanding; but which are eventually regarded as the ultimate object of pursuit; and how the means of education are thus taken for the end." We were told also to bear in mind "how many powerful understandings have been lost in the dialectics of Aristotle, and of how much good philosophy we are daily defrauded by the preposterous error of taking the knowledge of prosody for useful learning. The mind of a man, says the northern sage, who has escaped this training will at least have fair play. If he thinks proper to study Greek, it will be for some better purpose than to become acquainted with its dialects.”


Now though we might contest, point by point, the solidity of the premises, and the correctness of the inferences, we will merely beg leave to assert that no man, who is properly taught, ever mistakes the means for the end, or, what is the whole gist of the charge, thinks more of the words than of the matter. In fact,

* The note attached to this verse is too good to be omitted—" Mr. Hallam reviewed Payne Knight's volume on Taste, and was exceedingly severe on some Greek verses therein. It was not discovered that the lines were Pindar's, till the press rendered it impossible to cancel the critique; which still stands an everlasting monument of Hallam's ingenuity. The said Hallam is incensed, because he is falsely accused, seeing that he never dineth at Holland House. If this be true, I am sorry; not for having said so, but on his account, as I understand that his Lordship's pies are preferable to his poetry."

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