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Character of his Wit consisted in his fine and happy way of thinking. He is, no doubt, an excellent and very complete Historian : And 'twas by reading his Works, that Scipio and Lucullus became no less accomplish'd Generals. Polybius is a fine Speaker : He has a Stock of good Things, but does not manage his Stock so well as the Writers before mention'd: Yet his Work is to be valued, if 'twere only upon the Authority of Brutus, who in the very Crisis of his Miffortunes pass'd whole Nights in reading it. Indeed Polybius's Design was not so much to write an History, as to compose general Instructions for the Government of a State ; as he himself declares at the Entrance of his first Book ; and by this means he seems to defert the Character of an Historian: Which oblig'd him to interpose, at the beginning of his ninth Book, a kind of Apology for his manner of Writing. His Stile is frequently loose and Incorrect. Dionysius Halicarnassaus, in his Work of the Roman Antiquities, has shewn a great and uncommon depth of Sense, and Knowledge, and Reason. He is Diligent and Exact, Judicious and Weighty; and has the Advantage of Livy, as to the Truth of his Relations; but after all,' he must be confess'd to be very tedious when he turns Haranguer, Diodorus Siculus has somewhat of Greatness in his Character ; but then he is vastly too wide and diffusive, as a Collector from Philiftus , Timeus, Callifthenes, Theopompus, and other Historians. Philo, and Josephus, give Proofs of a very extraordinary Eloquence; but both these Learned Fews seem too fond of gratifying their Heathen Readers, to whose Taste and Opinion they are servilely compliant. Arrian is an affected Imitator of Xenophon, to the very number of his Books.

Appian has copied from all the Greeks, and by

this confused Medley has rendered his Stile Alienorum very unlike any of those Originals. Scaliger laborum accuses him as a Pillager of other. Mens Lafucus. Jos bours: He is beholden to Plutarch for his finest Scalig. Animad.

Strokes : After all, he must be allow'd to have Euc got together a good Fund of Materials. Dion

Caffius has lost his Credit with the greatest Part of the World by his undistinguish'd Mixture of Prodigies and Wonders with his Story: He is so far from adhering to the Truth, as even to desert all Probability; as when in his sixty sixth Book he reports Vespasian to have given Sight to a Blind Man by Spitting on his Eyes. Procopius is exact in what he delivers, as having attended Belisarius in the Wars, and been an Eye-witness of his famous A&tions; but he is too dry in his Account of the Persian Affairs, which seems design’d for a bare Journal. He gratified his Passion in writing his secret History, but shew'd his Temper in suppressing it during his Life. The Generality of the Byzantine Historians, as Agathias, Cedrenus, John de Curopalato, &c. transcrib'd from one another, and that but very negligently, as not to reach any Sha

dow of the Dignity and Grándour, the JudgSubtilissi

ment and Fidelity of the ancient Grecians. mus brevi. Among the Latins, Salust is great in his Air and tatis arti- Manner, just in his wit, and admirable in his fex Salu- Sense. No Man ever fo happily imitated the Alius, pro- profound Intelligence and exact Severity of The in verbis cydides's Stile. He is fometimes hard in his Exretinentif- pressions, but never disgusting : His Brevity infimus. A.trenches a little upon his Perspicuity; there's noGel.

thing false in his Manner, and nothing without bomo nes Weight in his Discourse; though his Practice quam, sed was far from being commendable, yet his Pringraviflimus alienæ luxurice objurgator. La&ant.

ciples are always just and excellent: He inceffantly declares against Vice, and takes all Occalions of pleading the Cause of Virtue: I look upon him to have been somewhat disaffected towards his Country, and suspicious of his Neighbours: but in other Respects one of the greatest of Men. Casar has the best Talent at expressing himself that ever was. Learned Men have good Reason to admire the inimitable Purity of his Stile; but I am still more charm’d with the Justness of his Sense; for, perhaps no Man ever wrote with greater Wisdom : He is almost the only Author that is guilty of no Impertinences. He speaks of himself as of an indifferent Person, and takes care always to maintain the prudent Character that he first embraced. He is not, indeed, a consummate Historian ; but had he taken a little more Compass, and given more Life and Spirit to his Difcourse, he had been an Example of Perfection. ?Tis a Glory to this incomparable Author, that Henry IV and Lewis XIV imploy'd themselves in translating his History of the Gallick War. Livy is the most finish'd Pattern, in whom all the great Qualities of an Historian meet and conspire; a fine Imagination, a noble Expression, an exact Sense, an admirable Eloquence. His Spirits seems to have been fram’d for none but great Ideas: He fills the Conception of his Readers, and thus makes his way to their Heart, and wins their Soul. He is the greatest Genius

In Tito for History, and one of the greatest Masters of Livio puEloquence that ever appear'd in the World. Itat ineffe could never apprehend any Meaning in that Pollio Censure of Asinius Pollio, who pretends that his quandam Language favour'd more of Padua than of Rome. tarem. His great Talent is to make Men feel what he Quiat. fays, to inspire his Readers with his own

Thoughts,

Thoughts, his Hopes and Fears, and all his Passions, by moving every secret Spring of their Hearts. Tacitus's Manner is different from all others; but he is so wholly taken up with representing great Events, as scarce ever to stoop to smaller Affairs, which yet ought not to have been neglected. He thinks finely, but feldom expresses himself clearly. He assumes too much of the Philosopher. He determines every Thing with as great Haughtiness and Assurance, as if he held the Destiny of all Mankind in his Hands. He spares no Man, fpeaks evil of Humane Nature in general, and is perpetually moralizing upon the Follies of others. How fuccessful has he been in spoiling many good Wits

, by seducing them to the vainest Study in the World, the Study of Politicks ? 'Tis with this Witchcraft that so many Spaniards, as well as Antonio Perez; and so many Italians, as well as Machiavel and Ammazato, have been infatuated. 'Tis only by the Brillancy of his Discourse, that this Author is so excessively delightful to Men of strong Imaginations, while the too exquisite Subtlety of his Reasonings and Reflections are wont to disgust Persons of a more natural Wit. His way of Criticising is fine and nice in it felf; but he seems to blunt its Edge, by affecting to

play the Critick upon all Occasions. As he alEvenit

ways aims at the greatest Thoughts, so he fomequam, ut times reaches a true Sublimity; and 'tis by the aliquid help of this that he imposes upon his Readers : grande in. It is not Pleasure, or Instruction, but Admirati.. veniat qui on, that seems to have been the great End of femper quærit

his Writing. He has somewhat fo very rais'd quod ni- and extraordinary, as may recompence and atmium eft. tone for most of his Failings. But there has been Quint. so much said in Praise and Dispraise of this Author, that 'tis hard to come to any End in

speaking

monnun

speaking of his Character. He is certainly a Wit above the ordinary Standard, made rather for Oftentation than for the Business of the World, and Commerce .with Mankind. Quintus Curtius is to be commended for his Impartiality: He tells us the Good and the Bad of Alexander and does not suffer the shining Merit of his Heroe to blind his Eyes. If there's any Fault in his History, 'tis that of too much. Politeness; but then he has excell'd in the sweet and natural way of Painting the Manners. This finish'd Character which we have hitherto admir'd in so many great Men, is no longer to be met with in the following Ages. Justin, rather an Epitomizer than an Historian, does .but flourish upon Matters. He has a large Compass of Knowledge, says a great many good Things, and preserves a number of Facts, thę Memory of which had otherwise been Extinct. Most of the Authors of the Augustan History confin'd themselves to writing Lives; (as Plutarch and Herodian had done among the Greeks, and Sueton and Cornelius Nepos among the Latins) and thus degenerated from the Character of Historians: They are but mere Registers, Copiers, and Compilers; have nothing delicate, and scarce any Thing rational: They were Born under an unlucky Planet for History; and are of no Eminence or Consideration, but for giving fome rude Draught, some confus’d Idea of their own Times; such are Spartian, Ammianus Marcellinus, and those who succeeded them. We find little Sincerity among the modern Greeks; their Genius seems much delighted with Visions; and they are always hot upon the Scent of some extraordinary Adventure. The Love of Learning, which began to revive with these last Ages, has produced a whole Flight of Histori

ans,

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