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capricious mood delights to elevate from obscurity, only to enjoy
'tolluntur in altum,
Ut lapsu graviore ruant.'
His father kept a petty tavern, and his mother was a laundress. The attachment to literary pursuits, for which the son had early evinced a great predilection, added to the natural force of his genius, procured him the admiration of his cotemporaries. Among other pursuits, he devoted himself to the study of eloquence; he learned to recite the finest passages in Cicero, in Livy, in Cæsar, in Valerius Maximus, and Seneca. He was much attached to ancient inscriptions, and was very expert in decyphering them. The commissaries of Rome having deputed him on an embassy to pope Clement VI. who resided at Avignon, his eloquence was so great, as to gain him the esteem and affection of the pontiff, and the applause of the whole court. This inspired him with the resolution of declaiming against the grandees of Rome, whose conduct to the citizens was in the highest degree oppressive and intolerable. On his return he was still more incensed against these petty tyrants, and never ceased to vent his indignation against them in the capitol, and in several of the most popular churches. The corrupt administration of justice was his continual theme. Those whose interest it was to have interfered, thought he was only in jest, especially as they observed his harangues were marked by a degree of uncommon pleasantry and humour, and that he threatened some of their own body with the severest punishment. They imagined his extravagances rendered him incapable of committing any excesses; but they were mistaken. Availing himself of the absence of Stephen Colonna, the governor of Rome, who had gone from that city with a party of soldiers to procure provisions, he called an assembly of the people, addressed them in an harangue suited to the occasion, enacted laws, expelled all the nobility from the city, took upon himself the functions of judicature, and declared himself tribune, the severe though merciful deliverer of Rome, the zealous assertor of the liberties of Italy, and the lover of all mankind.' The exiled faction were incapable of making any resistance, from want of unanimity among themselves: thus he disposed of things according to his fancy, and saw himself the chief of a new Roman republic, in the name of which he addressed himself to other states, to the emperor, and even to the pope. He received ambassadors from several princes and republics, and had the hardihood to summon the pope to reside at Rome with the college of cardinals. He was so fortunate in the war which he maintained against the faction of nobles, that he entirely annihilated it in a short time. But afterwards he became like the generality of those who elevate themselves under the specious pretext of liberty: it is not the ty ranny which they hate, but the tyrants; impatient of control, they are disgusted that any other than themselves should exercise the supreme power. This was the case with Rienzi; he him
self became a tyrant; and as he attempted to imitate the Gracchi, he met the same fate, being murdered by the patrician faction.
From the history of this man, M. Laignelot has composed the present tragedy, which is by no means uninteresting, nor destitute of poetic merit; yet in some parts it is very tame, and, like the generality of French verse, if the words be transposed, not to be distinguished from mere prose. Such, however, as it is, the French government thought it worthy of notice; and as a testimony of their approbation, generously confined the editor in a dungeon.
ART. 25-La Gastronomie, ou L'Homme des Champs à Table, &c. Gastronomy. A didactic Poem, in four Cantos. By J. B. Thin Edition, augmented by a number of Fugitive Pieces of the same Author. 1805. Paris.
This is a very entertaining production, written with much humour, and a considerable degree of satire. It has gone through three editions in Paris, which is no small proof its merit. Our readers may form an idea of this author's talents for the ridiculous by a perusal of the Poet's Evening Prayer,' prefixed to the
O God, I am so feeble, so lean, and so miserable a creature, that I scarcely dare address my petitions to thee, though strictly commanded by my religion so to do. It is with difficulty I persuade myself, that from the height of thy eternal abode, thou wilt deign to listen to my slender voice, or, in the midst of worlds which surround thee, pay the least attention to a being who is only five feet one inch in height; yet in the pride of my heart I sometimes flatter myself that thou hast bestowed some attention upon me, especially as I am numbered in the ranks of men who "speak the language of the gods," since by this name poetry is called, which in truth is a sublime language, because we employ in it very sonorous words and uncommon phraseology. But on the other hand, when I reflect that in the multitude of beings who have sojourned upon this earth, thou hast paid but little regard to my fellow-labourers Hesiod, Homer, Virgi, Tasso, Milton, Boileau, Corneille, and Racine, who have spoken the language in question a hundred times better than myself, I sink into con fusion and humility. But, if in thy infinite greatness thou deignest to interest thyself for me, who am but as nothing, deprive me not of a certain portion of common sense, though it is not very necessary for the profession in which I am engaged. Grant me such facility in wiiting, that I may not be obliged to hunt night and day for rhymes, without being able to find one that is tolerably good, which often makes me more miserable than if I worked in the mines, or were a negro in a sugar plantation. Grant me from time to time a good supply of new subjects, that I may not tread in the paths of those who have gone before me. Give me patience to support the criticism of the wise and of the foolish; nor let me be puffed up with pride, or burst my skin, on the least triumph. I am now going to bed;
but first ask pardon for having done nothing during the whole day but make a score of Alexandrine verses, which I have repeated to every soul I met; which wearied them not a little. Would that I had a more profitable occupation! but I am sensible I can never renounce the little talent I possess, which is a species of disorder absolutely incurable. Damn me not for that, I entreat thee, no more than my dear brethren the votaries of Apollo, who indeed suffer purgatory in this lower world, from the pains and inquietudes which they endure in the streets of Paris, in order to attain immortality. Grant to them as well as to me wherewithal to live pleasantly on the earth, where we are almost all loaded with debts, are ill lodged, ill clothed, vagrants and vagabonds like our chief, the divine Homer, who was blind all his life. Pardon me, though I have committed a thousand fooleries during the day, in emphatically speaking on virtue, wisdom, humanity, benevolence, greatness of soul, and other fine things, of which I make little other use than as rhymes. Remove from me every sentiment of jealousy; and lead me not into the temptation of leaping over the heads of my fellow-poets, who inhabit the summit of Parnassus, or of making satires, which will oblige me to march sword in hand in the republic of letters. Grant me a sound sleep, and prevent me from continually raving, as I do, on the nine damsels, the three Graces, on Venus, Cupid, Minerva, Saturn, Jupiter, Juno, Hebe, Ganymede, Diana, Pan, the Dryads, and Hamadryads, on the Fauns, the Sylvans, the Zephyrs, Aurora, the siege of Troy, Scamander, on Greeks, on Romans-of all which I am obliged to speak from time to time in my poetic effusions. Turn me aside from all false gods; since, when I do not rave, I believe on thee alone, and rely upon thy assistance for immortality.'
ART. 26.-Les Constitutions de l'Empire Francais, &c.
The Constitutions of the French Empire: being an Account of all the Revolutions and Changes of Government from the Commencement of the Monarchy to the present time. 1895. Paris.
This little work is a very good compilation; and contains much useful information on the present constitution of France. ART. 27.-Le Sacre et le Couronnement de Napoléon Premiere, e The Consecration and Coronation of Napoléon the First, Emperor of France, with an Account of the Ceremonies, Fêtes, and Rejoicings which have taken place on this Occasion; to which is added, an Account of the English Conspiracy, of the different Journies of bis S. M. to the several Departments of the Empire, with some Anecdotes and particular Traits relative thereunto. 2 cols. 12mo. Paris. 1805.
The knowledge to be acquired by the perusal of these two volumes which form the sequel of the life of the usurper of France, may be gained by consulting the old newspapers of the last twelve or thirteen months!!
ART. 28.-Uber national industrie und Staatswirthschaft, &c. On national Industry aad Oeconomy: founded on the Principles of A. Smith. Berlin. 1805.
The principles of Adam Smith are much too servilely copied ; and the author excels chiefly in the numerous instances he produces in support of his arguments. What particularly concerns Great Britain, and various digressions in Smith's work, pass in this properly unnoticed. It is laboured particularly in this work to shew that a government oversteps its end when it attempts by positive methods to insure the happiness of its subjects. Morality is the destined object, and this can flourish only in the bosom of liberty. Liberty is annihilated at the instant one man is to form the plan for another's happiness, and when actions which do no injury to the right of any man become dependent upon another's judgment. General happiness cannot be produced by the power of the state; and numerous instances are produced of the mistakes of sovereigns who, under the misconceived notion of producing happiness, introduced only misery and confusion. Hence to call a sovereign the father of his country is a great impropriety, and is always a fearful presage of approaching slavery. Who knows what a despot may choose to call the happiness of his subjects, or in what manner this father will act for the happiness of his chil dren? Slavery is then painted in its most horrid colours, and the author's zeal leads him to forget that we should object to his ge neral system, that actions are not to be punished which do no injury to the right of any man. We do not wish to see expunged from our statute-book the punishment for some odious crimes which are not to be named without absolute necessity.
ART. 29.Darstellung der Grosse der Missethapen, &c.
An Exposition of the Enormity of those Offences which in the new Statute-Book are punishable with Death. By G. I. Wenzel. 8vo. Leipzig.
When the new criminal code appeared in the Austrian states, it was particularly addressed to the ministers of religion, public and private teachers, heads of families, and magistrates. The author upon this has formed his work, and in a very judicious manner has interwoven a variety of remarks by which the minds of the lower classes may be impressed with the enormity of the crimes. which end in so fatal a sentence as death. The motives by which they are gradually led on to commit such crimes, and the means to defend themselves from the temptation when it falls in their way, Fare points not sufficiently enlarged upon; but still it is a useful work, and to guard against the commission of crime is much better than the severity of punishment.
App. Vol. 4.
ART. 30.-Versuch einer systematischen Encyklopedie der Bergwerks wissenshaften. 8vo.
Attempt at an Encyclopædia for the Science of Mining. By Ernest Lehmann. 8vo. Fryberg. 1805.
The intention of this work is to give à systematical arrangement of the necessary articles to be studied by him who wishes to apply himself to the study of mining. The attempt deserves credit, and with great propriety much use is made in the introduction of Krug's Encyclopedia of Sciences. The system of mining here laid down is divided into three parts: the first considers the prepa ratory knowledge necessary for a miner; the second, the art of mining; and the third, the sciences that are of assistance to the miner. In the first,'the mathematics and natural history are treated of rather too diffusely. In the second, directions are given with respect to the situation of mines, the mode of boring, the nature of machines to be employed, and similar circumstances. In the third part the miners' rights, the history of mines, the economical mode of treating them, the art of investigating and preparing models, are examined. On each of these articles is a concise explanation and review, which will be found satisfactory to the amateurs of the mining art: and the chief works that have treated on these subjects are introduced to the acquaintance of the reader. We find in one place, that the German translation of Rinman's Lexicon, which has been so many years announced, and has lately been revised by Crusius, will soon make its appearance at Leipzig.
ART. 31.-Mahlerische darstellungen der Sitten Geträuche, &c. Picturesque Representations of the Manners, Customs, and Amuse ments of the Russians, Tatars, Monguls, and other Nations of the Russian Empire. With Forty coloured Plates. By J. G. Geissler. 8vo. Leipzig. 1805.
The author accompanied Pallas as an artist on his last journey to the southern departments; and the productions of his art which he has here presented to the public, manifest both his talents and industry. The work is an excellent supplement to Pallas's Travels; and at a time when Russia makes so considerable a figure in the political world, cannot but excite attention, and reward the artist for his labour.
ART. 32. Deutschland oder der reisende Kaufman. The Tradesman's Travels in Germany, Silesia, and Bohemia. By J. H. Meynier. 1805.
This is an instructive and amusing work, describing a game to be played, which brings to the recollection of the players all the remarkable objects that occur in a journey through Germany. A tradesman relates his travels, and at the end, questions are introuced on the most important circumstances that have occurred in his narration. There cannot be a doubt of the utility of such a game for young persons, if they can be brought, which is not often the case, to be interested in it; and this is partcularly