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ancient and modern art; from a constant perusal of those writers, whom time and experience have consecrated; and from an ardent and unwearied study of that magnificent and stupendous volume, a contemplation of the varied phenomena of which never fails to expand the imagination, ameliorate the heart, and purify
O qui perpetuâ mundum ratione gubernas,
Terrarum cœlique sator!
Disjice terrena nebulas et ponderá molis,
Tu requies tranquilla piis. Te cernere, finis,
THE ITALIANS; or, THE FATAL ACCUSATION.
BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
This Edition is printed from the Copy, read with distinguished Approbation before a numerous but highly select Audience at FREE-MASON'S HALL. "There cannot, in my opinion, be a doubt," says a celebrated Commentator on Shakespeare, in a letter to the Author, "that, had your Tragedy not encountered the most illiberal and envenomed opposition, of which there is any record in the annals of dramatic literature, it must have succeeded to the full extent of your wishes. There is a romantic interest about it, and a novelty in several of its characters, powerfully adapted to arrest and fix attention. The mental aberrations in the character of ALBANIO,-forming a species of hallucination, the result of an excess of sensibility, appear to me well and correctly drawn; and are finely relieved by the pathetic scenes, which occur between Fontano and his fascinating page. SCIPIO is, in fact, throughout, a creation of uncommon beauty and effect; and, together with the sublime and masterly character of ALBANIO, should have rendered the 'ITALIANS' as great a favourite on the stage, as it is likely to prove in the closet."
AMUSEMENTS IN RETIREMENT.
THE FALL OF THE LEAF;
AND OTHER POEMS.
BEAUTIES, HARMONIES, AND SUBLIMITIES
TACITUS gives a curious account of a proposition, that was made in the Roman Senate, to divert the course of those rivers and lakes, which emptied themselves into the Tiber; and which, at certain seasons of the year, causing that river to overflow its banks, occasioned great loss to those citizens of Rome, who possessed houses and lands in its immediate neighbourhood. Petitions being presented from the Florentines, the Interamnates, and the Rheatines, against the proposition, it was abandoned. One of the causes of this abandonment arose out of an argument, employed by the Rheatines: "Nature," they observed, "having made the best provision for the conveniences of mankind in directing the course of rivers, it would be highly unbecoming in the Romans to alter their
direction; and the more so, since their allies had long been in the habit of consecrating woods, altars, and priests to the rivers of their country1." This curious and effective argument, my Lelius, will naturally call to your recollection a singular anecdote, which was related to us by Signor Hypolito de Vinci; who afterwards honourably distinguished himself in the service of his country; and who fell, covered with wounds and with glory, in the battle of Vimeira, a martyr to his enthusiasm, and an honour to the human race. A celebrated engineer, some years previous to the compulsory resignation of the late King of Spain, proposed to the Spanish government a plan, which had for its object the rendering of the Tagus navigable to Madrid. After mature deliberation, the ingenuity of the engineer, and the advantages derivable from his project, were acknowledged by the ministry; but the execution they thought proper to decline. On the engineer's inquiring the cause of so extraordinary a refusal, they returned for answer, that if it had been the intention of Nature, that the Tagus should be navigable so high into Spain as Madrid, she would have rendered it so herself; to presume to improve what Nature had left imperfect would be scandalous and impious! The plan was, however, afterwards adopted; as was that of Mons. le Maur for forming a canal from the mountains of Guadarama to the Tagus, and from that river to the Guadina and the Guadalquiver; thus opening a ready communication be tween Madrid, Toledo, Cordova, and Seville.
Tacitus, Annal. lib. i. c. 79.
"Where a spring rises or a river flows," says Seneca, "there should we build altars and offer sacrifices!" In pursuance of this idea, most nations, whether barbarous or refined, mistaking the effects of a deity for the deity itself, have at one time or other of their history personified their rivers, and addressed them as the gods of their idolatry. The Indus1 and the Nile, the latter watering nations that knew not its origin, and kingdoms which were ignorant whither it flowed, were both worshipped by the respective nations, which they fertilized. The Abyssinians call the Nile by a name signifying "giant ;" and Vespasian placed in the Temple of Peace a large block of basaltes, which represented its figure with sixteen children playing around it. At the annual opening of this river no Jew or Christian is permitted to be present; and when Browne, the African traveller, beheld its majestic waters near their confluence with the sea, reluctantly descending, as it were, to lose their tide in the bosom of the Mediterranean, his mind filled with ideas, "which, if not great or sublime," says he3, "were certainly the most soothing and tranquil that ever affected me."
Alexander, previous to his sailing down the Hydaspes and the Sinde, invoked them as deities; and
1 Philost. in vit. Apol. vi. c. 1.
2 Asiatic Researches, i. 387. The ancient Ethiopians esteemed the Nile both earth and water.-Philost. vi. c. 6. In the time of Pomponius Mela, the Nile and the whole of Egypt were included in the map of Asia.-Vid. Pomp. Mel. de Situ Orbis, lib. i. c. 9.
3 Travels in Syria and Africa,
Quint. Curt. ix. c. 4.-Arrian, vi. c. 4.