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unknown to ours, that they frequently objects which please us most. But shaembroiled their country in maintaining dy vallies, paths winding about through the interelts of a particular house, and the forests, flowers scarcely half-opensometimes in asserting the honour of pre- ed, and timid shepherdesses, excite in cedency, or of fitting on a joint stool; us the sweetest and the most lasting ethere is a marvellous in the religion of motions. The loveliness and the respecthe ancients, which consoles and ele- tability of objects are increased by their vares human nature ; whereas that of mysterioufness. Sometimes it is that the Gauls terrifies and debases it. The of antiquity, which renders so many gods of the Greeks and the Romans monuments venerable in our eyes ;

some. were patriots, like their great men. Mi- times it is that of distance, which dif. Derya had given them the olive; Nep- fuses so many charms over the objects tune the horse. These gods protected in the horizon; sometimes it is that of the cities and the people : But those of names. Hence the sciences which re. the ancient Gauls were tyrants, like tain the Greek names, though they free their barons ; they afforded protection quently denote only the most ordinary only to the Druids : They must be glut- things, have a more imposing air of reted with human sacrifices. In a word, spect than those which have only mothis religion was so inhuman, that two dern names, though these may,

in

many succeffive Roman emperors, according cases, be more ingenious and more useto the testimony of Suetonias and Pliny, ful. Hence, for example, the construccommanded it to be abolished. 1 fay tion of ships, and the art of navigation, nothing of the modern interests of our are more highly prized by our modern history; but sure I am, that the rela. literati, than several other physical scitions of our politics will never replace ences of the most frivolous nature, but in it, to the heart of man, those of the which are dignified by Greek names. divinity.

Admiration, accordingly, is not a relaI molt observe that, as admiration is tion of the understanding, or a percepan involuntary movement of the foul tion of our reason, but a sentiment of toward Deity, and is, of consequence, the soul, which arises in us, from a cersublime, several modern authors have tain undescribable instinct of Deity, at strained to multiply this kind of beauty fight of extraordinary objects, and from in their productions, by an accumula- the very mysteriousness in which they tion of surprising incidents ; but nature are involved. This is so indubitably employs them fparingly in hers, because certain, that admiration is destroyed by man is incapable of frequently undergo- the science which enlightens us. HI I ing concussions so violent. She dif- exhibit to a savage an eolipile, darting. closes to us, by little and little, the out a stream of inflamed spirit of wine, light of the sun, the expansion of flowers, I throw him into an extafy of admirathe formation of fruits. She gradually tion; he feels himself dispofed to fall introduces our enjoyments by a long se: down and worship the machine ;. he veries of harmonies ; she treats us as hu- nerates me as the god of Fire, as long man beings ; that is, as niachines feeble as he comprehends it not: but no foodand easily deranged; the veils Deity er do I explain to him the nature of from our view, that we may be able to the process, than his admiration ceases, fupport his approach.

and he looks upon me as a cheat *. The Pleasure of Mystery.

* For this reason it is that we adınire onThis is the reason that mystery pos- ly that which is uncommon. feffes so many charms. Pietures placed appear, over the horizon of Paris, one of in the full glare of light, avenues in those pashelia which are so common at Spitzftraight lines, roses fully blown, women bergen, the whole inhabitants of the city in gaudy apparel; are fár from being the would be in the streets to gaze at it and won

der. It is nothing more, however, than a repd 2

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The Pleasures of Ignorance. the most favourable state of vision': this From an effect of those ineffable fen- is the harmonic point, which excites timents, and of those universal instincts our admiration, when we are beginof deity, it is, that ignorance is become ping to see clearly, but it lasts only a the inexhaustible source of delight to fingle instant. It vanishes together We must take care not to con- with ignorance. The elements of

geofound; as all our moralists do, igno- metry may have impaffioned young rance and error. Ignorance is the work minds, but never the aged, unless in of nature, and, in many cases; a bles. the case of certain illustrious mathema. sing to man; whereas error is frequent- ticians, who were proceeding from difly the fruit of our pretended human covery to discovery. Those sciences sciences, and is always an evil. Let only, and those paffions, which are fubour political writers say what they will, jected to doubt and chance, form 'enwhile they boast of our wonderful pro- thusiasts at every age of life, such as gress in knowledge, and oppose to it chymistry, avarice, play, and love. the barbarism of past ages, it was not For one pleasure which science beignorance which then set all Europe on stows, and causes to perish in the 'befire, and inundated it with blood, in stowing, ignorance presents us with a settling religious difputations. A race thousand, which flatter us infinitely of ignorants would have kept themselves more. You demonstrate to me that the quiet. The mischief was done by per- sun is a fixed globe, the attraction of sons who were under the power of er- which gives to the planets one half of ror, who, at that time, vaunted as their movements. Had they, who bemuch, perhaps, of their superior illumi- lieved it to be conducted round the nation, as we now-a-days do of ours, world by Apollo, an idea less fublime ? and into each of whom the European They imagined, at least, that the attenspirit of education had instilled this er- tion of a god pervaded the earth, togeror of early infancy, “ Be the first.” ther with the rays of the orb of day..

How many evils does ignorance con. It is science which has dragged down ceal from us, which we are doomed the chaste Diana from her nocturnal one day to encounter, in the course of car: she has banished the Hamadryads human life, beyond the possibility of from the antique forests, and the gentle escaping ! the inconstancy of friends, Naiads from the fountains. Ignorance the revolutions of fortune, calumnies, had invited the Gods to partake of its and the hour of death itself, so tremen- joys and its woes ; to man's wedding, dous to most men. The knowledge of and to his grave : science discerns no

ills like these would marr all the com- thing in either, except the elements fort of living. How many blessings merely.

She

has abandoned man to does ignorance render sublime! the il- his fellow, and thrown him upon the lusions of friendship, and those of love, earth as into a desert. Ah! whatever the perspectives of hope, and the very may be the names which she gives to treasures which science unfolds. The the different kingdoms of nature, celessciences inspire delight only when we tial fpirits, undoubtedly, regulate their enter upon the study of them, at the combinations so ingenious, so varied, period when the mind, in a state of ig. and so uniform ; and man, who could norance, plunges into the great career. bestow nothing upon himself, is not the It is the point of contact between light only being in the universe who partakes and darkness, wbich presents to the eye of intelligence.

It is not to the illumination of science flection of the fun's disk in the clouds ; and that the Deity communicates the most no one stands still to contemplate the sun himself, because the sun is an object too well

, profound sentiment of his attributes, but known to be admired.

to our ignorance. Night conveys to

the

the mind a much grander idea of infinity information respecting the name and than all the glare of day. In the day- quality of the person who owns the time, I see but one sun ; during the castle which I perceive at a distance. night I discern thousands. Are those The history of the master frequently dissivery stars, so variously coloured, really gures that of the landscape. It is not sups? Are those planets, which revolve fo with the History of Nature ; the more around ours, actually inhabited, as ours her works are studied, the more is our is? From whence came the planet Cy- admiration excited. There is one cafe bele *, discovered but yesterday, by a only in which the knowledge of the German of the name of Herschel ? It works of men is agreeable to us : it is has been running its race from the be. when the monument which we contenginning of the creation, and was, till plate has been the abode of goodness. of late, unknown to us. Whither

go

What little spire is that which I perceive those uncertainly revolving comets, tra- at Montmorency? It is that of Saint versing the regions of unbounded space? Gratian, where Catinat lived the life Of what conlits 'that milky way which of a fage, and under whịch his alhes divides the firmament of heaven? What are laid to rest. My soul, circumscribare those two dark clouds, placed to- ed within the precincts of a small vilwards the antarctic pole, near the cross lage, takes its fight, and ranges over of the south? Can there be stars which the capacious sphere of the age of Louis diffufe darkness, conformably to the be. XIV, and hastens thence to expatiate lief of the ancients ? Are there places through a sphere more sublime than that in the firmament which the light never of the world, the sphere of virtue. reaches? The fun discovers to me only when I am incapable of procuring for a terrestrial infinity, and the night dif- myself such perspectives as these, ignocloses an infinity altogether celestial. rance of places answers my purpose O! mysterious ignorance, draw thy much better than the knowledge of hallowed curtains over those enchanting them could do. I have no occasion to spectacles ! Permit not human science be informed, that such a forest belongs to apply to them its cheerless compasses. to an abbey or to a dutchy, in order Let not virtue be reduced, henceforth, to feel how majestic it is. les ancient to look for her reward from the justice trees, its profound glades, its solemn, and the sensibility of a globe! Permit filent solitudes, are fufficient for me. ber to think that there

are in the uni. The moment I cease to behold man verse, destinies far different from those there, that moment I feel a present deiwhich fill up the measure of woe upon ty. Let me give ever so little scope to this earth.

my sentiment, there is no landscape but Science is continually shewing us what I am able to ennoble. These valt the boundary of our reason, and igno- meadows are metamorphosed into oceans; rance is for ever removing it. I take these niil-clad hills are islands emergcare, in my solitary rambles, not to ask ing above the horizon ; that city below

is a city of Greece, dignified by the The English, in compliment to their residence of Socrates and of Xenophon. sovereign, George III. give it the name of Thanks to my ignorance, I can give Georgium Sidus; by which name, however, the reins to the instinct of

my

soul. I this planet is not likely to be universally or permanently known ; for all the astronomers cance of places by that of ages ; and,

plunge into infinity. I prolong the dison the continent, in compliment to the merits of the scientific discoverer, pertist in cal- to complete the illusion, I make that enling it by his name, “ Thc Herschel.” chanted spot the habitation of virtue.

ON DIDACTIC POETRY. DIDACTIC or PRECEPTIE Poetry seems to include a folecism, for the end

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of poetry is to please, and of didactic conversant with are fitted to inspire. precept the object is instruction. It is . In that beautiful poem, the Essay on however a species of poetry which has Man, the system of the author, if in been cultivated from the earliest stages reality he had any system, is little atof society; at first, probably, for the tended to; but those passages which simple purpose of retaining, by means breathe the love of virtue, are read with of the regularity of measure, and the delight, and fix themselves on the mecharms of harmony, the precepts of mory. Where the reader has this preagricultural wisdom, and the aphorisms vious knowledge of the subject, which we of economical experience. When po- have mentioned as neceffary, the art of etry came to be cultivated for its own the poet becomes itself a source of pleafake, it was r:atural to esteem the di- sure ; and sometimes, in proportion to da&tic, as in that view it certainly is, the remoteness of the subject from the as a species of inferior merit, compared more obvious province of poetry, we with those whith are more peculiarly the are delighted to find with how much work of imagination ; and accordingly dexterity the artist of verse can avoid in the more fplended era of our poetry a technical term, how neatly he can it has been much less cultivated than turn an uncouth word, and with how many others. Afterwards, when poetry much grace embellish a scientific idea. was become an art, and the more ob-. Who does not admire the infinite art rious sources of description and adven- with which Dr Darwin has described ture were in some measure exhausted, the, the machine of Sir Richard Arkwright: didactic was resorted to, affording that His verse is a piece of mechanism, as novelty and variety which began to be the complete in its kind as that which he great desideratum in works of fancy. describes. Allured, perhaps, too much

This fpecies of writing is likewise by this artificial species of excellence, favoured by the diffusion of knowledge, and by the hopes of novelty, hardly any by which many subjects become proper branch of knowledge has been fo abfor general reading which, in a less struse, or so barren of delight, as not to informed Itate of society would have have afforded a subject to the didactic savoured of pedantry and abstruse poet. Even the loathsomeness of diffpeculation : for poetry cannot descend ease, and the dry maxims of medical to teach the elements of any art or knowledge, have been decorated with science, or confine itself to that regular the charnis of poetry. Many of these arrangement and clear brevity which pieces, however, owe all their entersuit the communication of unknown tainment to frequent digressions. Where truths. In fact, the muse would make these arise naturally out of the subject; a very indifferent school-mistress. as the description of a sheep-fhearing Whosoever

, therefore, reads a di- feast in Dyer, or the praises of Italy in dactic poem ought to come to it with a the Georgics, they are not only allowprevious knowledge of his subject ; and able but graceful; but if forced, as is whoever writes one, ought to suppose the story of Orpheus and Euridice in such a knowledge in his readers. If the fame poem, they can be confidered he is obliged to explain technical terms, in no other light than that of beautiful to refer continually to critical notes, and monfters, and injure the piece they are to follow a fyftem step by Itep, with meant to adorn. The subject of a dithe patient exa&tness of a teacher, his dactic poem, therefore, ought to be such poem, however laboured, will be a bad as is in itself attractive to the man of poem. His office is rather to throw taste, for otherwise all attempts to make a lustre on such prominent parts of his it so by adventitious ornaments, will system as are most susceptible of poetical be but like loading with jewels and draornament, and to kindle the enthusiasm pery, a figure originally defective and of those feelings which the truths he is ill-made.

Mrs Barbauld.

A NEW DESCRIPTION OF ST PETERSBURG, THE

METROPOLIS OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE.
FROM LETTERS FROM SCANDINAVIA, JUST PUBLISHED.

St Petersburg, 08. 1789. island, bearing its name, now streiches PETERSBURG, with all its statea over several leffer ones. It is very irir palaces and gilded domes, is situate regularly built, and confifts chiefly of ja the midst of al wood, as wild and wooden houses : here, however, are the barren as any in the north. It presents first obje&ts that draw the first attention a wonderful picture of what power and the citadel, in which is the cathegenius can accomplish. Independently dral, a fine building, with its gilded of art, the Neva is its only ornament: {pire and turrets ; whose sparkling gran. · dead, fandy, flat country, covered deur strikes the eye at a great distance, child brush-wood, furrounds it upon and marks the sacred spot where lie inevery fide; a few miserable huts, scat- terred the remains of Peter I, and his sted about, complete the foene. The Empress, the Livonian villager, Cacreat Peter did not look to the most tharine l. This is the Russian Mecca, beautiful, but to the most uscful spot, and none but infidels will neglect to for the fcite of his capital : his object make a pilgrimage to it. Mahomet's was commerce solely. Petersburg is the splendid impofture collects together a emporium for naval, Moscow for rural crowd of vagrant Turks and Arabs; affairs. The Russian empire, extend- but the mausoleum of Peter attracts the ing over a considerable part of Europe philosopher as well as the warrior, fronı and Asia, must have a capital city to every corner of enlightened Europe : every kingdom of which it conlists. the first adruires the legislator ; the Tobolsky is the chief city of the lif-: second comes to touch the bones of fian dominions under the pole, and bor. Scanderbeg ! dering upon China ; Petro Paulousky, The boat which gave Peter the idea of the ealtern countries adjoining to A. of building a navy, is carefully preservmerica and Japan ; Orenburg, of the ed in a small house near the fepulchre : prosioces bordering upon Tartary and it is emphatically called the Grand Sire. India ; Casan and Altrakan, of king. Before this relic was deposited here, a dums of the same name, near the fron- naval review took place at Crontladt : tiers of Persia ; Cherson, of the Cri- the Grand Sire had the honour of carmea and provinces adjoining: and Kioff rying the adıniral's flag, and received a and Mohilow, of the Ukraine, and Lit- general falute from the Ruffian fleet. ile and White Ruflia, bordering upon Some will say, that the Russian naTurkey and Poland.

tion is not yet civilized ; and that PeThe city of Petersburg is not hud- ter only began the work of civilization led together, it spreads out like the -of arts and sciences. What a narwings of the imperial eagle. The prin-" row thought! When the work is finishcipal quarter stands upon the continent, ed it is his. Will succeeding nonarch's and opon the south banks of the river think themselves disgraced, in being Neva ; the second divifion is what is named the disciples of this inmortal called Old Petersburg, and is situated prince? He gave the plan of the buildupon several islands toward the north ing-he laid the foundations, and rearbanks ; the third quarter upon Wil- ed a part of the walls ! Succeeding moliams island, in the middle channel of narchs are his work men, his bricklaythe Neva, between the other two. This ers, Naters, carpenters, painters, and noble river, after embracing the whole' upholsterers. in its course, empties itself in the gulph Catherine II. is the most distinguishof Finland, immediately below the city. ed of Peter's work people, and has The old city, originally built upon one

made

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