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it may, without much greater improbability, be protracted to five weeks. A natural train of incidents can scarcely be expected from a hory accommodated to the strict rules of the stage : They must be dull, few, and uniform, because they are all in some measure within view, and bomprehended at first fight; and in place of incident, there must be spun out long harrangues of common-place morality. Few or none but those who are critically converfant with controversies of this kind, observe infringements of time and place, but are all of fended with a want of probability in the management of the plot. I have made these observations, as Shakefa pear is more remarkable for adhering to unity of action than to the other two; the one is the offspring of genius alone, the other of art. : .
To be continued.
On the History of Authors by Profesjon. Ea est historia literarum, atque certe historia mundi, si hac parte fuerit
destituta, non abfimilis cenferi poffit ftatuæ Polyphemi evito oculo; nam ea pars imaginis defit,quae ingenium et indolem perfonae maxinie referat. Bec. de Ang. lib. II. cap. iv.
No. I. Civil history, the register of human calamities and crimes, has been amply, if not always happily treated , while the history of literature, which may be considered as forming the annals of the human understanding, has been hitherto meagre and incomplete. The reason why men of letters have thus treated the source of their fame with fuch ungrateful neglect, it may perhaps be difficult to assign. The causes which affect the progress of letters, are more remote from common apprehension than those which operate political changes. Perhaps this difficulty might have deterred, and perhaps hifto. rians, ambitious of popularity, have been invited to the narration of civil affairs, by the powers which they possess over the heart and fancy, and by their fuperior susceptibility of all the decorations of courtly and popular composition. Perhaps too, the pride of literature fhrunk from topics which would expose the debase. ment and misfortunes of its profeffors, who have ever facrificed themselves for pofterity, and been the victims of their devotion to letters, and their passion for glory. From that portion of literary history, which is the fubject of our present effay, they have probably been repelled by the latter consideration. But a philofopher, who is incapable of such irritable and fastidious vanity, must perceive the history of those to whom the worldowes whateverit is, to be a topic of great curiofity and intereft.
I shall preface my remarks, by defining an author by profession to be, a person, who, in whatever mode, derives his chief fubsistence from literary productions. This definition is conceived with a latitude fuitable to the views which I am about to unfold. I proceed to evince the existence of such a defcription of men in every state of society, and to examine the va. rious forms under which they appear, in the various ftages of its progress. The bard and the genealogist, are the professed authors of simple ages. The savage here first probably, fings his own exploits; but the step of social progress, produces a division of labour. Ac cident, in the attempt of many, discovers fome one to be capable of imparting superior lustre to the triumphi of the warrior, or superior fplendor to the rites of the god. . The poffeflor of powers thus capable of affording high gratification, is flattered by a discovery ta his vanity and his indolence. He is abfolved from the perils and toils of his fellow favages. He devotes himself to their amusement or delight, and he is rewarded by the grateful hofpitality with which everò cabin wel. comes him who is to applaud or entertain its poffeffors, to melt or gladden it with song. This may be said to be the first fubfiftence earned by the exertion of literary talents. This is the first form under which authors by profession appear in the history of society.' The social progress afterwards exhibits them under other forms, corresponding to the varying circumstances of nations. In refined nations, deftitute of the art of printing, they become lecturers, as the circulation of manuscripts is too limited either for the remuneration of money or fame. Such were the ancient philosophers, though the resemblance, almost exact between their character and that of the professed authors of modern times, has not hitherto been remarked. To attend the lectures of a philosopher, was in fact to read the system of his doctrines. Hence Antonnius felt it no degradation to the imperial purple, to attend the course of a professor, because he did the same thing as a modern prince, who should retire into his library, to read Montesquieu or Smith. The press had noć then furnished that organ by which a philosopher may from his closet lecture to the immense audience of foreign nation's and future ages. Hence the vast collection of pupils in the academy and the lyceum, who had no access to the volumes of philosophy, but from the mouth of their authors. It is obvious that their lectures were not like those of modern academical institutions,—they were not elementary instructions—they were bold and liberal speculations. The schoolmasters, the elementary instructors, were, in the execrable aristocracy of the ancient commonwealths, almost uniformly flaves. The variety of dogma, the contempt of received opinion, the hostility to established institution, which characterised so many of the Grecian fects, clearly distinguish their schools from modern seminaries. The youth of Ionia, of Cyrene, of Sicily, of Magna Grecia, who repaired to Athens, came not to an university, but to a library, not to receive the dogmatic instruction of tutors, but to judge of the various speculations of philosophers. Indeed, the conception of an university was
too grossly absurd for the simple and unisophisticated ideas of antiquity. The union of secular and spiritual despotism, and the Gothic transfer of rank and title to literature, were necessary to produce such monstrous establishments. The professed authors of our own times demand no elaborate description; and instead of retailing common-place sayings on that subject, we shall proceed to the establishment of some general maxims, relating to the history of this class of men.
To be continued.
On Animal Instincts-- The Mole and Worm. All animals are endowed by nature with an instinctive fear of danger, and powers, in most cases, by which they are enabled to distinguish their enemies, and in some measure to evade the pursuit of those who seek to devour them. The oyster, on any prospect of dan-. ger, shuts its shell; the snail and the tortoise retreat within the hard coat that covers them; the hedge. hog rolls itself into a ball; the chicken, on the first appearance of the kite, is agitated with the most violent alarm, and flies to its mother for protection; and the hare, on the first appearance of a dog, betakes its self to flight, and exerts it utmost powers to elude its. ravenous pursuer. This is a general law of nature; and it extends, as I have reason to believe, to animals of a lower class than we are accustomed to imagine. The mole, it is well known, feeds upon the common earth worm ; but I believe it is not generally known, that in the dark regions it inhabits, it is endowed with faculties for distinguishing, its prey at some distance, and far less, that the reptile it is in search of can distinguish its approaching danger, and try to elude it.
Yet, from some facts that have fallen under my own observation, there seems to be no doubt of this circumstance, and that in consequence of it, the mole, in the
bowels of the earth, chaces its prey with the same avidity as the lion, or the wolf, or the bear, upon its surface; and that the worm flies with the same degree of eagerness from its greedy pursuer, as the stag in the forest, or the hare among the stubble. · One damp cloudy day, as I was standing in the garden, contemplating some of the beautiful productions of the vegetable tribe, I saw the carth near me begin to be heaved up by the working of a mole, and immediately directed my attention to that object. I could foon perceive that the mole was working with an unufual degree of agility, which still more commanded my attention. It was not long before I perceived the head of an earth-worm penetrate the mould with a surprising degree of rapidity-nearly half its body came above the earth at the first push, and at the second, it freed itself from the mould entirely, and ran off along the surface with a degree of agility I never had seen this animal exert till then. The mole too pursued ftill; but. on coming very near the surface, immediately defifted, and retired, as I supposed, disappointed, from the chace: my imagination at least made me conclude this was the case. I leave the reader to draw what conclusions he thinks natural from this fact.
Having had my attention thus awakened with regard to this phenomenon, I have been, since that time, on the watch, in similar cases, to see if I could observe the like, and had one opportunity of observing a similar mole-chace at a further period. I state these facts, of the exactitude of which I am certain, that your readers may take notice if any of them ever remarked any of the same kind. Whether the inferrence I draw from it be just or not, I leave every one to judge for himself: But if it should be admitted that the mole can thus pursue its prey at a distance, we should be forced, I think, to conclude, that it distinguishes its tract by the scent, like a spaniel or hound, but by