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was the work of nature: so truly, in respect to him, may we say, “ poeta nascitur, non fit.” Education, therefore, might, more than any circumstances of fortune, be called, in him, “ the drop upon the lion's mane.” Yet we must not so blindly worship the god of our idolatry, as to consider him as faultless ; we may even venture to assert that, had he received a public classical, and general education, he would have exhibited the perfection of the art of poetry, the union of taste, judgment, and correctness, with the strength of genius, and the fire of imagination.
The case is directly the reverse with another most eminent character, placed against Public Schools -- Ben Jonson. In opposition to Shakespeare, he stands, I confess, the most consummate proof of the force of education. In native gifts he was, no doubt, far below Shakespeare; but education and learning seem in him to run the race with genius, and unite to exhibit to after-ages one of the most striking instances of their effects. In point of poetical imagery and wildness of fancy, let the reader compare, with this view, the songs of the witches in Jonson's Mask, and then in Shakes eare's Macbeth. Ben Jonson, therefore, but not Shakespeare, would appear to be a splendid example, as far as poetry is concerned, against Public Schools. I am inclined, however, to suspect that the reviewer is not very intimately acquainted with the works of this, distinguished writer. I will therefore beg the reviewer's attention to the following “ Epigram," as it is called.
TO WILLIAM CAMDEN.
Camden, most reverend head, to whom I owe
, be once o'ercome by Thee.
But for their powers, accept my piety! Now as the critic may know as little of this William Camden as he seems to do of Ben Jonson, it may be proper to acquaint him that this WILLIAM CAMDEN was the author of a book called Britannia,” of “Remains concerning Britain," and of “Annals of Queen Elizabeth,” and that moreover, HE WAS HEAD-MASTER OF WESTMINSTER School: under whom, at that same school, was educated THIS IDEN
TICAL BEN JONSON ! It is probable that the critic may not have read
Who will not be astonished at such ignorance, such impudent ignorance! The writer has committed himself in this instance, as in others, by an inaccuracy, the more unpardonable, since Ben Jonson is himself precisely such a character, as in estimating the comparative merit of schools, so far as his own art and learning are concerned, would turn the scale.
Having thus taken one of your guns, Ben Jonson, from you, and placed him on the other side; we must dispute Butler with you, because the scene of his education is doubtful. There are probable reasons to believe (see Wood) that he was entered at Christ Church, from Westminster ; but as he was not matriculated, this cannot be proved; and we may venture to say,
The list therefore of eminent poets educated at a very small
Before we leave this article, I must add a few more remarks, to
What has been quoted from Ben Jonson cuts two ways; proving not only the place from which he derived his learning; but his modesty and piety, as well as the humility and kindness of his master : so far was either, as clearly appears from their life and writings, from assuming that “public school importance, which ridiculously and offensively displays itself in the haunts and busi-. ness of bearded men.”
If we follow Longueville, who says that he was educated at the Grammar
It was usual, soon after Wolsey's college was completed, to send the principal young men of birth and fashion to be educated there as at a public school; they went very early, and received the same discipline as they would at Eton or Winchester ; for it must be remembered that Westminster was not placed upon its present establishment till Queen Elizabeth ; and the Dean, Censor, and Tutor, acted literally the part of schoolmasters. To this Public School, for it could be called by no other name, we owe the accomplished and learned Lord Surrey, Sir Philip Sidney, and others equally eminent with those who are brought against us. Of Sir Philip Sidney, Wood writes thus : “ while very young, he was sent to Christ-Church to be improved in all sorts of learning.”.
The same may be said of other great characters in English history, who were sent to Oxford, to the Public Schools attached to different colleges : Sir Walter Raleigh to Oriel, Rochester to Wadham, at twelve, Wolsey, so early as eleven years old, to Magdalen, Richard Hooker, at thirteen, to Corpus, Clarendon, at thirteen, to Christ Church. These accomplished characters, said by the Critic not to have been educated in Public Schools, were all, in fact, so EDUCATED !
“O Shame, where is thy blush!
If thou canst mutiny on a Critic's cheek !" Of Sir Walter Raleigh, Wood says : Being entered at Oriel, “ where his natural parts being strangely advanced by academical learning under an excellent tutor, he became an ornament to the juniors.” The same may be said of many other eminent men, whom England has produced, in history, in science, and in learning; and many of these enumerated in the review before us, Bacon, Selden, Sir Isaac Newton, &c. So that, if these great men have not been educated at Westminster, Eton, or Winchester, still they are direct examples against the fallacious conclusion drawn by the Reviewer; “ that the English have done almost all that they have done in the arts and sciences, without the aid of that system of education, to which they are attached.”.
This will be explained more particularly as we proceed. It may be proper to mention here, that we shall consider in the sequel, whether the great men, who were privately educated, would not have been more free from imperfections, if they had been educated otherwise.
' Among the poets enumerated by the critic, it may also be observed that Congreve, Goldsmith, Parnell, and Swift, began their studies at Trinity college, Dublin, at the age of thirteen.
EURIPIDIS HERCULES FURENS. Recensuit GODOFREDUS HermaNNUS. Lipsiæ, apud Gerhardum Fleischerum, Jun. 1810. pp. xxiv + 92 = 116. Small 8vo.
The Hercules Furens of Euripides is so full of difficulties, that a reader of ordinary sagacity, who peruses it attentively in the very best edition, will hardly be able to find ten lines together, in which the received text is perfectly intelligible and satisfactory. Such, at least, is the impression with which we, whose trade it is to hunt after corruptions and obscurities in the writings of the ancients, have always risen from the perusal of this tragedy. We rejoiced, therefore, when we were informed, that an edition of it had been published by a person so well qualified to execute the duties of an Editor as Mr. Herinann; who reigns without a rival among the Greek critics of the only country, except our own, in which Greek criticism is cultivated. Among English scholars, Mr. Hermann does not appear to us to enjoy that portion of reputation, to which he is justly entitled. The English are exceedingly prone to undervalue the abilities of the learned on the continent. Mr. Hermann, in particular, is not only a German, but in consequence of his rashness in publishing an edition of the Hecuba of Euripides, in opposition to that of Mr. Porson, has the misfortune to stand as an object of scorn and derision in several parts of Mr. Porson's writings. It may be added, that Mr. Hermann is best known in England by his work on Greek and Latin metres ; a book of which too much ill cannot easily be said, and which contains a smaller quantity of useful and solid information, in proportion to its bulk, than any elementary treatise, on any subject, which we remember to have seen. In all probability, he has long repented of writing that book. Whatever he may have been formerly, undoubtedly he is now a very considerable proficient in his art, although he has not altogether abjured the critical heresies of his youth. Few living or deceased scholars have labored more successfully in exploring the mysteries of the Greek language, and in exposing them to the popular eye.
His edition of the Hercules Furens, however, which we have lately received, has disappointed us.
This disappointment, indeed, measure our own fault. As we expected, without
is in some
sufficient grounds, a volume of respectable size and thickness, we have certainly no just reason to be dissatisfied at receiving a thin and diminutive pamphlet. The editor of a Greek author has an undoubted right to make his commentary as concise and as jejune as he pleases, provided that he actually performs all that he professes to perform. The edition now before us, however, does not seem to be executed in a manner altogether consistent with the confidence, with which the Editor's power of conquering difficulties is announced in the beginning of his preface, which we subjoin.
“Quum Euripidis aliquam fabulam in publicis meis scholis interpretari constituissem, neque invenirem editionem, quæ et exiguo pretio parabilis esset, nec textum haberet a criticis aut nimis, aut minus, quam par videretur, mutatum; ipse animum adjeci ad edendam aliquam hujus poëtæ tragædiam. Prætuli autem aliis Herculem furentem, cum quod hæc fabula in melioribus est, tum quod non est ex bis, quæ in carminibus antistrophicis nihil proprium habent, tum denique quod difficultates, quibus laborat, maximam partem vinci posse videbantur.”
The last words of this extract appear to promise a more correct text, and a more elaborate commentary, than the editor has actually given. It is possible, indeed, as the edition is principally intended for the use of the students who attend Mr. Hermann's lectures, that he may not chuse to diminish the value of the viva voce interpretation, which he dictates to his auditors, by furnishing them with a printed explanation of the difficult passages of his author. We, who are unacquainted with Mr. Hermann in his professorial capacity, and consider him only as an editor, have freqnent occasion to complain both of bis silence, and of the Spartan brevity with which he speaks, when he thinks proper to open bis lips. We will produce the first example of this brevity which
V. 9. Κρέων δε Μεγάρας τήσδε γίγνεται πατήρ, “Ην πάντες υμεναίοισι Καδμείοί ποτε Λωτό ξυνηλάλαξαν, ηνίκ' εις εμούς Δόμους και κλεινός Ηρακλής νιν ήγετο. Mr. Hermann has the following note on the second of these verses : Reiskius et Tyrwhittus ñs. Non opus. It is evident, that any reader who approves of the alteration proposed by Reiske and Tyrwhitt, will require something more to reconcile him to the common reading, than Mr. Herniann's non opus. If we may judge of the generality of Mr.