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(for in every returning event such similarity exists,) is the forgetfulness of a mind uninstructed and weak; a mind ignorant of that great, that providential circulation, which never ceases for a moment through every part of the universe.

It is not like that forgetfulness which I once remember in a man of letters, who, when at the conclusion of a long life, he found his memory began to fail, said cheerfully, "Now I shall have a pleasure I could not have before; that of reading my old books, and finding them all new.”

There was in this consolation something philosophical and pleasing. And yet perhaps it is a higher philosophy (could we attain it) not to forget the past; but in contemplation of the past to view the future, so that we may say on the worst prospects, with a becoming resignation, what Æneas said of old to the Cumean prophetess,

Virgin, no scenes of ill
To me or new, or unexpected rise ;
I've seen 'em all; have seen, and long before

Within myself revolv'd 'em in my mind." In such a conduct, if well founded, there is not only fortitude, but piety: fortitude, which never sinks, from a conscious integrity; and piety, which never resists, by referring all to the Divine will.

But lest such speculation, by carrying me above my subject, should expose a writer upon criticism to be himself criticised, I shall here conclude these Philological Inquiries.

& Æn, vi. 103-105.





This account is extracted from two fair folio volumes, to the first of which volumes the title is conceived in the following words.

“Bibliothecæ Arabico-Hispanæ Escuraliensis, sive Librorum omnium MSS. quos Arabice ab auctoribus magnam partem Arabo-Hispanis compositos Bibliotheca Cænobii Escuraliensis complectitur, Recensio et Explanatio: Opera et Studio Michaelis Casiri, Syro-Maronitæ, Presbyteri, S. Theologiæ Doctoris, Regis a Bibliotheca, Linguarumque Orientalium Interpretatione ; Čaroli III. Regis Opt. Max. auctoritate atque auspiciis edita. Tomus Prior. Matriti. Antonius Perez de Soto imprimebat Anno MDCCLX."

This catalogue is particularly valuable, because not only each manuscript is enumerated, but its age also and author (when known) are given, together with large extracts upon occasion, both in the original Arabic and in Latin.

From the first volume it appears that the Arabians cultivated every species of philosophy and philology, as also (according to their systems) jurisprudence and theology.

They were peculiarly fond of poetry, and paid great honours to those whom they esteemed good poets. Their earliest writers were of this sort, some of whom (and those much admired) flourished many centuries before the time of Mahomet.

The study of their poets led them to the art of criticism, whence we find in the above catalogue, not only a multitude of poems, but many works upon composition, metre, &c.

We find in the same catalogue, translations of Aristotle and Plato, together with their lives; as also translations of their best Greek commentators, such as Alexander Aphrodisiensis, Philoponus, and others. We find also comments of their own, and original pieces, formed on the principles of the above philosophers.

There too may be found translations of Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius Pergæus, and the other ancient mathematicians, together with their Greek commentators, and many original pieces of their own upon the same mathematical subjects. In the arithmetical part they are said to follow Diophantus, from whom they learned that algebra of which they are erroneously thought to have been the inventors.

There we may find also the works of Ptolemy translated, and many original treatises of their own upon the subject of astronomy.

It appears, too, that they studied with care the important subject of agriculture. One large work in particular is mentioned, composed by a Spanish Arabian, where every mode of culture, and every species of vegetable is treated; pasture, arable, trees, shrubs, flowers, &c. By this work may be perceived (as the editor well observes) how much better Spain was cultivated in those times, and that some species of vegetables were then found there which are now lost.

Here are many tracts on the various parts of jurisprudence; some ancient copies of the Alcoran ; innumerable commentaries on it; together with books of prayer, books of devotion, sermons, &c.

Among their theological works, there are some upon the principles of the mystic divinity; and among their philosophical, some upon the subject of talismans, divination, and judicial astrology.

The first volume, of which we have been speaking, is elegantly printed, and has a learned preface prefixed by the editor, wherein he relates what he has done, together with the assistance he has received, as well from the crown of Spain and its ministers, as from learned men.

He mentions a fatal fire, which happened at the Escurial, in the year 1670; when above three thousand of these valuable manuscripts were destroyed. He has in this volume given an account of about fourteen hundred.

The second volume of this valuable work, which bears the same title with the first, was published at Madrid, ten years after it, in the year 1770.

It contains chiefly the Arabian chronologers, travellers, and historians; and, though national partiality may be sometimes suspected, yet, as these are accounts given us by the Spanish Arabians themselves, there are many incidents preserved, which other writers could not know; incidents respecting not only the successions and the characters of the Arabic-Spanish princes, but the country and its productions, together with the manners and the literature of its then inhabitants.

Nor are the incidents in these volumes confined to Spain only, many of them relate to other countries; such as the growth of . sugar in Egypt; the invention of paper there, (of which material there are manuscripts in the Escurial library of the year 1180 ;) the use of gunpowder, carried not only to the beginning of the fourteenth century, but even so far back (if we can believe it)

as to the seventh century; the description of Mecca; the antiquity of the Arabic language, and the practice of their most ancient authors to write in verse; their year, months, weeks, and methods of computation; their love for poetry and rhetoric, &c.

Great heroes are recorded to have flourished among them, such as Abdelrahmanus, and Abi Amer Almoapheri.

Abdelrahmanus lived in the beginning of the tenth century, and Abi Amer Almoapheri at its latter end. The first, having subdued innumerable factions and seditions, reigned at Corduba with reputation for fifty years, famed for his love of letters, and his upright administration of justice. The second, undertaking the tuition of a young prince, (who was a minor, named Hescham,) and having restored peace to a turbid kingdom, turned his arms so successfully against its numerous invaders, that he acquired the honourable name of Almanzor, that is, the Defender. (See vol. ii. of this Catalogue, pages 37, 49, 50.)

Arabian Spain had too its men of letters, and those in great numbers; some whose fame was so extensive, that even Christians came to hear them from remote regions of Europe. But this has been already mentioned, p. 488 of these Inquiries.

Public libraries (not less than seventy) were established through the country; and noble benefactions they were to the cause of letters, at a time when books, by being manuscripts, were so costly an article, that few scholars were equal to the expense


a collection. To the subjects already treated, were added the lives of their famous women; that is, of women who had been famous for their literature and genius.

It is somewhat strange, when we read these accounts, to hear it asserted, that the religion of these people was hostile to literature; and this assertion founded on no better reason, than that the Turks, their successors, by being barbarous and ignorant, had little value for accomplishments of which they knew nothing.

These Spanish Arabians, also, like their ancestors in the East, were great horsemen, and particularly fond of horses. Accounts are preserved both of horses and camels; also of their coin ; of the two races of caliphs, the Ommiadæ and the Abbassadæ; of the first Arabic conqueror of Spain, and the conditions of toleration granted to the Christians whom he had conquered.

It further appears from these Arabic works, that not only sugar, but silk was known and cultivated in Spain. We read a beautiful description of Grenada and its environs; as also epitaphs of different kinds ; some of them approaching to Attic elegance.

When that pleasing liquor coffee was first introduced among them, a scruple arose among the devout (perhaps from feeling its exhilarating quality) whether it was not forbidden by the Alcoran, under the article of wine. A council of Mahometan divines was held upon the occasion, and the council luckily decreed for the legality of its use. (See vol. ii. of this Catalogue, P, 172, 173.)

The concessions made by the Arabian conquerors of Spain to the Gothic prince whom he subdued, is a striking picture of his lenity and toleration. He neither deposed the Gothic prince, nor plundered his people, but, on payment of a moderate tribute, stipulated not to deprive them either of their lives or property; and gave them also their churches, and a toleration for their religion. See this curious treaty, which was made about the year 712 of the Christian era, in the second volume of this Catalogue,

p. 106.

When the posterity of these conquerors came in their turn to be conquered, (an event which happened many centuries afterward,) they did not experience that indulgence which had been granted by their forefathers.

The conquered Moors (as they were then called) were expelled by thousands; or, if they ventured to stay, were exposed to the carnage of a merciless inquisition:

Pueri, innuptæque puellæ, Impositique rogis juvenes ante ora parentum. It appears that many of these Arabic-Spanish princes were men of amiable manners, and great encouragers both of arts and letters, while others, on the contrary, were tyrannic, cruel, and sanguinary:

There were usually many kingdoms existing at the same time, and these on every occasion embroiled one with another; not to mention much internal sedition in each particular state.

Like their Eastern ancestors, they appear not to have shared the smallest sentiment of civil liberty; the difference as to good and bad government seeming to have been wholly derived, according to them, from the worth or pravity of the prince who governed. See p. 495 of these Inquiries.

The reader will observe, that the pages referring to facts, in the two historical volumes of these manuscripts, are but seldom given, because whoever possesses those volumes (and without them any reference would be useless) may easily find every fact, by referring to the copious and useful index subjoined to the second volume, which index goes to the whole work.

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