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supposition is too feebly supported to entitle it to change the prevailing belief. The necessity which it appears existed for a Syriac and a Coptic version of the writings of the New Testament, is alone quite sufficient to determine this point; for if in Syria and in Egypt, when under the dominion of Greek sovereigns, the Seleucida and the Ptolemies, the Greek language was not spoken by the mass of the people, we cannot with any appearance of reason imagine that this should have been the case in Judæa.
It may indeed be asked, if the Syro-Chaldaic was then the common dialect of Palestine, how has it happened, that while St. Matthew alone confined himself to his native tongue, the other sacred writers, who were likewise Jews, should have chosen to compose in a foreign language? This singularity will be easily explained,. if we call to mind either the birth-places of the apostles, wliere they are known, or the countries in which they principally resided. Thus St. John, we are inforined, passed all the latter part of his life at Ephesus, or some other Greek city in Asia Minor; St. Luke, if he was not, as some suppose, born in a Greek town, chiefly resided where Greek was spoken; St. Mark and St. Peter, we well know, in the laborious execution of their missions, directed the greater part of their travels through Grecian countries; and as St. Paul was a native of Tarsus, he naturally adopted the Greek language, which had then become prevalent in that city. St. Matthew, on the contrary, never travelled where Greek was the common language of the country; and as his narrative was more particularly designed for the use of his own countrymen, the cause of his writing in Hebrew is abundantly obvious.'
It is a fact not a little remarkable, that the Protestants have been the most strenuous advocates for the Greek original of St. Matthew's gospel. We have seen that the contrary opinion prevailed without any opposition for more than 1400 years; and the
As to the objection, that if this gospel was written in Hebrew, it is unaccountable that no one should have seen the original, it has been observed, that it is surely not very extraordinary, that after the second demolition of Jerusalem by Adrian, it should sink into obscurity. Nor is the statement correct, that it was never seen by any of the ancient fathers; as Jerome expressly declares, not only that he had seen the Hebrew gospel, believed to be St. Matthew's original, but that he had translated it. Pantænus also, according to the account of Eusebius and Jerome, is described as having seen it in the hands of Christians when he travelled into India; which, in the opinion of Justin Martyr, Mosheim, and other writers, is here supposed to denote Arabia Felix.
first person of eminence who expressed a difference of sentiment on the subject appears to have been Erasmus. Cardinal Cajetan, the great opponent of Luther, and Ecolampadius, the friend of Zuinglius, next followed on the same side; but it is deserving of observation, that not one of these three divines possessed any acquaintance with Hebrew literature. The Catholics, however, who can seldom boast of solidity of reasoning in controversial discussions, soon relinquished the hypothesis of Erasmus, and it remained for the Protestants to defend it with a degree of zeal which might have been better applied to a better cause. Their conduct, indeed, on this occasion will admit of an easy explavation, when we advert to the singular notions which they entertained on the nature of a translation. The Council of Trent having decreed that the Latin version of the Bible, corrected by St. Jerome, and since known by the name of the Vulgate, should be the standard of reference in every case of doubt which might arise among orthodox Christians, Protestant divines considered it as a point essentially connected with their just principles of opposition to the Papal Church, to maintain, that in theological controversies, no appeal to a translation could be conclusive. Aware, however, that they might be charged by their opponents with thus appealing to a translation, if the original text of St. Matthew was written in the Hebrew language, they asserted and attempted to prove that this evangelist made use of the same language with the other sacred writers. This question has since undergone a more diligent and a more complete investigation; and notwithstanding the example of a few learned men, who still adhere to the opinion first promulgated by Erasmus,' it seems difficult to conceive how any candid and competent inquirer can feel any hesitation in admitting that the historical evidence inost decidedly preponderates in favor of the Hebrew original of our first gospel.
"The opinion of Sixtus Senensis, of there having been two originals to this gospel; that is, that St. Matthew composed it both in Hebrew and in Greek, has been proposed by Whitby and Lardner (though advocates themselves for a Greek original), as one mode of obviating the difficulties by which the latter supposition is encumbered: but as it is totally unsupported by proof, it can have no claim to serious attention.
Baptista Mantuani Carmelita Adolescentia, seu Bucolica.
Francisci Petrarchæ Ægloga.—Metrical Conceit.- Pugna
Porcorum. AMONG the vast multitude of forgotten books, there are many which, although their perusal as a whole would not repay the trouble of the general reader, contain nevertheless single passages which deserve to be detached from the rubbish in which they are imbedded. In this way, as in some others, our friends of the Retrospective Review have done excellent service to the republic of letters. Our researches, however, are confined chiefly to a single, and not the most important province of modero literature-one which has not entered into their plan, that of modern Latin poetry. We have been in the habit of giving critiques on some of these neglected volumes, with specimens of their contents, from time to time, with the benevolent view of relieving the inevitable dryness of our Journal, by the intermixture of lighter matter, as well as of sparing our readers a great deal of useless trouble. Whether we have succeeded in our object, others must judge. We have been induced to select for the subject of our present notice the religious eclogues of Mantuan, from the extraordinary popularity of the work in its own day; and we have added to them those of Petrarch, on account of the name of the writer, and the similarity of the subject.
We are not aware who first introduced the practice of administering religious instruction under the veil of pastoral poetry. In the ancient Christian poets, as far as we are acquainted with them, nothing of the kind occurs. The idea, however, was very natural ; it was nothing more than converting the metaphor, which the frequent use of it in Scripture had rendered popular among the Christian writers, into a detailed allegory. Perhaps the Shepherd of Hermas may have supplied the first hint of this
· A critique on the Latin poems of Daniel Heinsius, in the first number, might have formed the beginning of a series of articles on modern Latin poetry; but the subject was dropped, apparently on account of its total want of interest as far as regarded the generality of readers. A better selection of extracts might have been made; the lines, however, beginning “ Hoc opus,” and “Nonne vides,” are very fine. Heinsius was certainly more than a mere commentator. In Mr. Bowring's Batavian Anthology, lately published, we meet with him likewise as a vernacular poet.
species of composition. In whatever quarter ít originated, however, the practice became a favorite one with the Latin poets of the middle ages. It was a result of the same spirit, which led certain of the fathers and councils to condemn the reading of the heathen classics as pernicious ; which deluged the world with Christian Virgils, Christian Ovids," Christian Terences, Christian Anacreons, &c.; wbich, deviating into wilder whimsies, reformed Virgil by hewing him limb from limb, and casting the dissevered members into the Medea's cauldron of Alexander Ross, from whence they emerged in the shape of a Christiad, in thirteen mortal books (an operation more severe than that to which he is said to have subjected himself in the romance”), and which in our own days evangelised Shakspeare after the same fashion, by conglutinating together some hundreds of passages from his plays, with a certain portion of alloy from Young's Night Thoughts, and elsewhere, into a spiritual tragedy on the fall of man. All kinds of subjects were considered as adapted to the pastoral muse; the Scripture histories, the praises of a religious life, the prevailing heresies or immoralities of the time, the corruptions of the church, the disputes between rival orders, or the weightier points of discussion between the Romish and Reformed Churches; these, and a thousand other subjects, more or less connected with religion, were discussed after the Arcadian fashion, to the detriment both of poetry and argument, and the waste of much good Latin and flowing verse. The custom appears to have lasted a long time, for there are traces of it even in Milton's Lycidas. Afterwards religious poetry began to assume other (though not in all cases more judicious) forms, and pastoral allegories became obsolete ; in which they shared the fate of all pastorals since the Spectator, and all allegories since the Hind and Panther. Another variety of the species was the political eclogue, which has been burlesqued with such success of late years.
The writer before us, Baptista Spagnuoli Mantovano (better known as Baptista or Mantuan) was the legitimate or illegitimate branch of a noble family at Mantua, where he was born about the middle of the fifteenth century. A great part of his life was spent in the hardships and adventures of a travelling life; on bis return, having in vain attempted to reform his order,
· Friderici Dedekindi Metamorphoseon Sacrarum Libri v. Smalcaldiæ, 1565.
2 “Lyfe of Virgilius," as quoted by Sir Walter Scott in the Notes to the Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto ir, Note 15.
of which he had risen to the head, he retired from his office, and died at Mantua in 1516. He was the author of
other works in prose and verse.' His popularity as a Latin poet, and especially as the author of the eclogues, was extraordinary in his own day; owing partly to bis real merits, partly, it may be supposed, to his high situation in the church, and partly to the imperfect state of classical taste at the time, the Latin poets being as yet indistinctly known, and their celebrated followers of the sixteenth century still below the horizon. tainly possesses a considerable command both of Latinity and versification; he is vigorous beyond most of his compatriots, exceedingly fluent, and we may perhaps add poetical ; but his subject is a perpetual dead weight on his powers, and diffuseness, the besetting sin of Italian writers, overlays all his good qualities. His Latinity is very respectable, compared with that of his age. His bold attacks on the manners of the times, of which his writings contain some curious pictures, are said to have drawn on him much unmerited odium. He seems, indeed, to have been worthy of a better fate than to write religious eclogues. The “ Bucolica” of Mantuan superseded those of his illustrious countryman in the public schools for a considerable time; they were translated and imitated in modern languages, and in the dedication to the Shepherd's Calendar of Spenser, he is mentioned together with Theocritus, Virgil, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Marot, and Sannazarius, as among the most excellent poets of modern times. Fame is fickle-and the Carmelite poet now sleeps with the Chapelains and Dubartas's, the Dukes and Sprats, and Pomfrets, and Stepneys, and Ducks, and Hayleys, and Pratts, and Sewards of other days, undisturbed save when the restless foot of a Retrospective Reviewer rouses up the dust of the huge oblivious cemetery in which they lie. We have found few passages of convenient length which are capable of being detached from their context; such however as they are, they will be a sufficient illustration of the author's manner.
In the first eclogue, a story of successful love, there is a very pretty passage :
Tempus erat curva segetes incidere falce,
“ Parthenice," an epic, on the Virgin Mary;.“ Alphonsus,” “Triumphus Gorzagæ," “ Sylvarum Libri vii.” &c. which, from the glance we have taken at them, appear to be in better taste than his eclogues.