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conducts his reader through no illusory scenes. It is to human life that he directs the attention.--It is there he points out a thousand causes for mournful reflection—it is there he exhibits enough, more than enough, to rouse the indignation of the moralist, and to excite the spleen of the satirist. Every vice that can blacken, and every weakness that can degrade our nature, are held forth to execration in his terrible page. But the philanthropist looks in vain for some extenuating word, some relenting expression, some exculpatory clause, which might indicate that mankind in general are not the slaves of vile passions, the perpetrators of detestable vices, the dupes or the agents of villainy. The pictures drawn by the vigorous and masterly hand of Juvenal may justly claim our admiration; but surely little delight can be felt in learning, even from him, the monstrous depravity of which humanity has been but too often found susceptible.
Horace seems to have studied the effects of light and shade in his pictures, with more attention than his rival; and he has happily combined the broad humour of the old Greek comedy with the elegance
of the new. I think, in comparing him even with Juvenal, we may say, multo est tersior, ac purus magis Horatius, et ad notanda bominum mores præcipuus.
The defect of Juvenal seems to be, that his tone is too generally, I had almost said invariably, grave. The Romans understood by satire a more mixed kind of composition than this poet (excellent as he certainly is), seems to have attempted. We are surprised at the high strain of invective, at the magnificent verses, at the sounding eloquence, which we find in almost every page of a book, denominated by its author, a farrago libelli.
It will scarcely be urged in favour of Juvenal, that when he does not soar upon his eagle pinions, his flight is often directed where the eye of taste cannot wish to follow it. In his sixth, the wittiest of all his satires, his scurrility, and his obscenity, have little—perhaps no pretensions to humour.
In comparing the three great satirists of antiquity, I am inclined to give the first place to Horace, the second to Juvenal, and the third to Persius. Horace is the most agreeable and the most
instructive writer ; Juvenal the most splendid de. claimer; and Persius the most inflexible moralist. The first is like a skilful gladiator, who vanquishes without destroying his antagonist ;-the second exerts gigantic strength in the contest; and the third enters the lists with all the ardour of a youthful combatant. If the style of Horace be chaster, if his Latinity be purer, if his manner be gayer and more agreeable than either of the two satirists who follow him, he does not write finer verses than Juvenal, nor has he nobler thoughts than Persius. The poetry of the first resembles a beautiful river, which glides along through pleasant scenes, sunny fields, and smiling valleys: that of the second is like the majestic stream, whose waters, in flowing by the largest city in Europe, are polluted with no small portion of its filth and ordure: that of the third may be compared to a deep and angry torrent, which loves to roll its sullen waves under the dark shadow of the mountain, or amidst the silent gloom of the forest.
In directing the attention of the reader more particularly towards Persius, I might indulge my
partiality for that admirable moralist, by pointing out many passages in his satires worthy of a great poet; but the length to which this Preface has already extended, obliges me to relinquish a task which I should have undertaken with pleasure. I cannot, however, resist the inclination I feel of recommending his fifth satire to the examination of those who have not already attentively considered that poem. The verses particularly addressed to Cornutus are beautiful and interesting: the explanation of the doctrine of the Stoics concerning liberty, is done in a masterly manner; and the description of the effects produced on the human mind by the insubordination of the passions, is deserving of serious reflection perhaps in every
stage of life.
There is a knowledge of human nature, and of the constitution of the human mind, displayed by Persius, in treating of this last mentioned subject, which ought not to escape the observation of the reader. It must be evident to every man who has attended to the operations of intellect, that its energies are increased by the influence of passion;
and that even what are called the worst passions appear to have been originally intended by nature only as stimuli to the mind, to impel it to exertion. Anger is implanted in our breasts, in order to enable us to resist injury; and fear is made to influence us, in order that we may attend to the preservation of our existence, by avoiding danger. It is then the excess of the stimulus; it is the extreme indulgence of the passions, against which we have to guard, and which we ought to consider as noxious to our mental constitution.
It seems to me, that the human passions may properly be classed under two heads; the first comprehending those which are more temporary; the second including those which are more durable in their nature.
We may reckon in the one class anger, desire, terror, &c.; in the other, envy, love, ambition, avarice, &c. The first may be called the acute, and the second the chronic diseases of the soul : the former occasion us the severest pangs; but the latter disturb, with little intermission, the repose and happiness of our lives. It is against the in