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A History of Inventions, Discoveries, and Origins. By John Beckman, Professor of Economy in the University of Gottingen. Translated from the German, by William Johnston. Fourth edition, carefully revised and enlarged. By Wm. Francis, P.H.D. F.L.S., and J. W. Griffith, M.D. F.L.S. Vol. I.
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Edited by Wm. Smith, L.L.D. Part XVI.
The English Hexapla, consisting of six important vernacular English translations of the New Testament Scriptures. Part XI.
England, Rome, and Oxford, compared as to certain Doctrines. By the Rev. Archibald Boyd, M.A.
Truth Defended; in a supposed trial between Infant Affusion and Believers' Baptism. Second Edition, remodeled, condensed, and revised; to which is appended, a Letter to Joseph John Gurney, Esq., on Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Second Edition, revised and corrected by Seacome Ellison.
The Select Works and Memoirs of the late Rev. J. Fletcher,D.D., edited by the Rev. J. Fletcher, jun., of Hanley. 3 vols.
Practical Observations on Mineral Waters and Baths, with notices of some continental climates, and a reprint (the third) of the Cold Water Cure. By Edwin Lee, Esq.
Mesmerism in India, and its practical application in Surgery and Medicine. By James Esdaile, M.D.
Autobiography of the late William Jones, M.A.
Family Expositions on the Epistles of St. John and St. Jude. By the Rev. E. Bickersteth.
Outlines of Mental and Moral Science, intended as introductory to the Logic, Metaphysics, and Ethics of the University course, &c.
Six Lectures on the Importance and Practicability of Christian Union, chiefly in relation to the movements of the Evangelical Alliance. By J. Aldis.
On the History and Mystery of (those called) The Sacraments, showing them to be Jewish institutions, and not ordinances, appointed by Christ to be observed in his church. By Jacob Post.
An Affectionate Appeal to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. By Archdeacon Jeffreys, of Bombay.
Six Sermons on Intemperance, delineating its nature, occasions, signs, evils, and remedy. By Lyman Beecher, D.Ď., Boston, Únited States, with an Introductory Preface. By the Rev. W. Reid, Lothian Road, Edinburgh. Political Dictionary, forming a work of universal reference, both constitutional and legal, etc.
Knight's Penny Magazine. (Part VI.)
A New Universal, Phrenological and Pronouncing Dictionary of the English Language, embracing all the terms used in Art, Science, and Literature. (Part IX.)
The Modern Orator, being a Collection of Celebrated Speeches of the most distinguished Orators of the United Kingdom. (Part XX.)
The Christian in Palestine, or Scenes of Sacred History, illustrated from sketches taken on the spot, by W. H. Bartlett, with explanatory descriptions. By H. Stebbing, D.D. (Part IV.)
Royal Gems from the Galleries of Europe, Engraved after National Pictures of the great Masters. With Notices, Biographical, Historical, and Descriptive. By S. C. Hall, F.S.A. (Part IV.)
Gilbert's Modern Atlas of the World, for the People, with an Introduction to the Physical Geography of the Globe, and an Alphabetical Index of the Latitudes and Longitudes of 24,000 places. (Part V.)
The Pictorial Gallery of Arts. (Part XVIII.)
FOR SEPTEMBER, 1846.
Art. 1.-A History of Greece. I. Legendary Greece. II. Grecian History to the Reign of Peisistratus at Athens. By George Grote, Esq. Two Volumes. London: Murray, 1846.
"WE do ill to spend so much time and thought,' said a preacher during the Commonwealth, from the pulpit of St. Mary's, Oxford, on the gods and muses of antiquity, which were nothing but devils and damned creatures.' Such also may seem to have been Milton's belief concerning these legendary beings; nevertheless he was under the influence of a charm which forced him, against the preacher's exhortation, to spend much time, thought, and poetry, on these and still less pleasing personages. All who have been led into much study of the Greek poets, are sensible of the fascination which their creations exert over the mind; and it is usual with scholars of the most opposite genius, whether Gibbon, or Sir William Jones, Müller or Grote, Hallam or Arnold, to ascribe this to the intrinsic beauty of the tales themselves. Beauty, we confess,
appears to us hardly the right word. Childlike simplicity is in our belief the attractive element which pervades Greek mythology; a simplicity, however, which is variously coloured by the play of imagination reflected from the countless beautiful objects of nature with which the world of Greece abounds. 'Ever stepping delicately through a most brilliant ether,' as Euripides says, of his Athenian countrymen,-and kindled into admiration of heroism by the boundless rewards of military adventure, the muse of Greece has sounded forth with so much clearness and native power, as to stamp permanent importance on legends in themselves trifling or revolting. They are not fit
for the instruction of mere boys, on the plain principle that children cannot study childhood: but for grown men to despise the study of infantine minds, would be an error fatal to philosophy. All true science must begin from the minute, we may almost say from the tedious, examination of whatever is simplest, and often of much that is to the casual eye worthless. The physical experimenters who were contemporary with Newton were ridiculed for watching swingswangs (pendulums), and for loving to blow soap bubbles. The immortal Watt was chided by his aunt for losing his time in playing with the spout of a teakettle. If ever metaphysics and morals are to approach the form of demonstrative science, it will be by rigid analysis of the mind and conscience, while under formation, and by the contrast of its unhealthy to its healthy workings. In other words, the mental operations of children, and of the deaf or insane, furnish the most trustworthy bases for fixed philosophy.
In the early Greek nation we have (what may be called) the childish mind magnified, both as to intensity and duration; the perturbing foreign attractions, moreover, which so soon spoil the simplicity of our children, being to a great extent removed. We use the word spoil in reference to the philosopher who is studying the young mind. What is called education, whether bad or good, rapidly destroys the spontaneousness of childish actions. The boy who is very early brought into contact with a formal or manly intellect, is soon overpowered by it, and by his very improvement, when it is an improvement, ceases to exhibit the phenomena, which the student of human nature is in quest of. The more rapidly the infantine beings by whom we are actually surrounded, come under the pressure of adult thought, the less fit representatives are they of true children; and the more must we value the authentic exhibitions of primeval childishness which Greek legends afford. No where else can we obtain the record so pure and uninterpolated as in ancient Greece. The consummate genius of their two great epic poems has insured their preservation through illiterate times, and was, in fact, no slight agent in softening the barbarism which they depict and generally approve. While Homer means to tell his hearers the prowess of Achilles or the skill of Odysseus, he is, in fact, recording to perpetual time the heart, the mind, the manners, and the internal state of contemporary Greece. The unconsciousness of genius, of which so much has been talked, is scarcely appropriate to any but an uncultivated mind. The noble stag, when with one brave bound the copse he clears,' thinks not of himself, but of the distant lair towards which he is speeding; while to the observer he affords
a delightful spectacle unawares. Such is the wild nature, such the untutored impulse, of Grecian epic; which it would be as absurd to wish for in a Shakspere, a Scott, or a Goëthe, as to cull the flowers of spring out of the fruits of autumn.
Not only have these ancient epics been preserved (on the whole) with wonderful faithfulness, but they are the more valuable from their diversities. The contrasts of the Iliad and the Odyssey are such, that while the ablest modern critics (as many of the ancients) unhesitatingly refer the two poems to different authors, some even believe the Odyssey to be considerably later in time. At any rate, it brings us into scenes totally different in character from those of the Iliad, and furnishes us with pictures, partly of external reality and partly of the Grecian mind, such as we could not have imagined or constructed out of the other poem. But besides these two great luminaries, which shed their blaze upon the higher or heroic life, the works attributed to Hesiod light up, like feeble yet steady stars, the scenes of industrious and humble toil; enabling us, though not without painful gazing and poring through the darkness, pretty clearly to make out the gradual changes by which Greece passed from her heroic to her historical age. A part of this discussion belongs properly and exclusively to history; another part, and a very important one, falls under religion, or (if any one prefer so to call it) mental philosophy; being a history of the Grecian mind, and, in no small measure, of the human mind, in regard to religious invention. As the Hesiodic poem, entitled Works and Days,' assists in the industrial history of Greece, so do the other (so called) Hesiodic poems, especially the Theogonia,' or 'Birth of the Gods,' give the most important aid in the religious history. Connected, as it is, above with the Homeric notions, and below with the later epics (of which we have numerous fragmentary notices), and through these with the works of the earliest elegiac and lyric poets, it enables the critical student to trace with unexpected minuteness the growth of the countless fables which collectively made the ostensible creed of Greece. The great fault of the ordinary mythological study, is, that it has dealt with religious legends as a fixed unchangeable structure, instead of as a chronological product. It is only late in time that students discover, that the notions which they imbibed as boys concerning the Greek deities, were often unknown to Homer; or, if found perhaps in the Odyssey,' are strange to the Iliad. In fact, no one phenomenon appears to us more instructive in this whole matter, than the gradual formation, and successive additions, which can be traced in these half imaginative, half moralizing tales.
We are disposed to go farther, and to disapprove of all teaching of mythology to young boys. It was not without good reason, and we do not call it fanaticism, on the part of the ancient Christians, that they entirely forbade to their children the study of the heathen poets. Plato, in fact, admitted the principle, and for it he has been only mildly censured,—in proscribing the works of Homer in his ideal republic. In times, when the whole atmosphere teemed with superstition, it was very hard to imbibe in childhood a knowledge of those enticing poems, without gaining a most dangerous sympathy with the polluting ceremonies of heathenism, and a vague belief in a thousand degrading fables. We can now look with calm admiration on a Greek god, and with uncontemptuous sobriety on an Egyptian monkey; but times were, when the wise, the faithful and the brave, did far better by breaking the images and burning them with fire,' than by putting them into show-rooms and museums. Superstition, viewed as a shadow from past days, a ghost of a religion that once existed, is a fit object of literary curiosity and of antiquarian research: but when it appears as a living and powerful reality among us, our first business is to slay it, and for a while to put it out of remembrance. But we are digressing. For the historical treatment of mythology, boys are wholly unprepared; and to force philosophy upon them is injudicious. There seems, therefore, to be no good purpose in teaching them mythology at all. They will pick up for themselves, in the perusal of Homer, (who is always a favourite author with them,) as much as is requisite, and somewhat more; and with ripening years they may learn how intelligent criticism earns gold out of this dross.
So much have we written by way of preface to the elaborate volumes before us. Although entitled a History of Greece,' by far the greater part of it is far from answering to this title. Indeed, by a slight change, it seems to us, the accomplished author might have justified his announcement: if, instead of heading the first part of his work, Legendary Greece, he had entitled it Grecian Legend. What has been already written will show that we do not undervalue Mr. Grote's subject, when we demur to admitting such narrative and such discussions into history. According to his often reiterated declaration, the genealogies and exploits of gods, demigods, and heroes, properly belong to Greek religion, and are as unsubstantial as Mother Bunch's fairy tales and the prowess of the seven champions of Christendom. He will urge, that the belief in them continued into historical times; and that critical occasions occur in the history, (as when the busts of Hermes were mutilated in Athens,) in which it is scarcely possible to conceive of the actings of men's minds