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dishonest dancing ; which (as a learned doctor writes) it may be well said, is the head and fountain of all sins and wickedness—or, at least,”—(and here we may well admire the scrupulous spirit of candour and moderation in argument which distinguishes our author, and forbids him from asserting even so obvious a truism as this, without adding the due qualification,)—“or, at least, of the greater part.” To have stated that the sin of dancing is the root and foundation of all other sins without exception, few persons would have carried their criticisms so far as to condemn for being hyperbolical ; but our author is too conscientious to assert, even as a general proposition, what may be liable to be disproved in particular instances, and I must confess that, in my opinion, he has rather strengthened than detracted ought from his argument by the modest sobriety of the subsequent qualification. Thus, “Tutti i Francesi sono ladri” is a national remark, the justness of which no true Englishman could dispute even in this bold uncompromising way of stating it—but how much more forcible is it rendered by the qualifying clause—“Non tutti—ma Buona Parte.” But to proceed, “Inasmuch as,” adds our author, still following up the same sentence, “it is impossible ever sufficiently to express how many and great are the evils which spring from dancing; seeing that by it all human feelings are vitiated; the heart-itself grows corrupt and hardened; and, finally, the poor and miserable soul utterly perisheth,” He proceeds to trace the origin and invention of this “ dissolute and lascivious exercise” to the devils in Hell, what time the Israelites, after feasting and gorging themselves with wine, fell to dancing round the molten calf in the desert; and he then enumerates the several unbecoming actions, by which (as he strongly expresses it,) “ young men and maidens, while dancing, do (as it were) crucify again their Redeemer.” And first, he observes, “ they find a sort of sensual gratification in, and moreover obtain the applause of the spectators by the act of, leaping as high as they are able— not reflecting that in exact proportion to the altitude of every leap will be the depth to which they are doomed to sink in Hell.” Secondly, “it oftentimes happens that dancers spread out and extend their arms in order to give greater energy to their performance, by which stretching out of the arms in this profane amusement they display a manifest disregard of the holy crucifix, the figure whereof, they so irreverently imitate.” The lifting of the head and voice are in like manner
construed into acts of undesigned, but nevertheless most impious, parody ; and he finishes his exordium by a warning, peculiarly terrible to the class of male and female dandies, that the more curious and vain their attire at these indecorous exhibitions, the more conspicuous will be the deformity and rudity of their appearance “at the day of judgment.”
We shall select the third of the legends, or “examples,” which follow these terrible denunciations. It shows “ how certain persons, dancing on Christmas eve, were unable to cease dancing for a whole year afterwards.”
It is written in the “ Speculum Historiale,” how in a certain town in Saxony, where was a church dedicated to St Magnus the martyr, in the tenth year of the Emperor Honorius, just when the first mass was begun upon Christmas Eve, some vain young ple, at the instigation of the devil, were set a dancing and singing in a dissolute manner hard by the church, in such manner that o hindered and disturbed the divine service.— Whereupon the priest, moved with a holy and just indignation, commanded them to be still, and to give over this accursed vanity. But the aforesaid miserable sinners, for all that was said to them, and commanded them, would never cease from that execrable profaneness and devilish mischief. Upon which the priest, inflamed with zeal, cried out in a loud voice—“May it please God and St Magnus that ye all continue to sing and dance after this fashion for an entire year to come from henceforward.” Wonderful to relate 1 So did these words of that holy man prevail, that, by divine permission, these wretched persons, (being fifteen in number, and three of them females, did, in fact, so continue dancing an skipping about for a whole year together; nor did any rain fall upon them during all that time, nor did they feel cold, nor heat, nor hunger, nor thirst; nor did they ever tire ; nor did their garments wax old, nor their shoes wear out. But as if they were beside themselves, like to people possessed with phrenzy, or idiots, they kept singing and dancing continually, night and day. At the end of the vear came the bishop, who gave them absolution, and reconciled them before the altar of St Magnus. Which having been
done, the three women suddenly expired, and the rest slept for three days and nights successively, and afterwards did such penance for their sin, that they were thought worthy to work miracles after death. And some of them that lived longest, manifested the punishment of their offence in dreadful tremblings of their limbs, which they suffered even unto the day of their death.
The sixth example relates how a Y. of noble family, and “ of marvellous beauty, according to the flesh,” became extremely anxious to go and join in the festivities and balls of this world; and, being restrained in her evil inclinations by her pious parents, waxed therefore very sad and sorrowful indeed. In which state being visited by a holy man, to whom she made confession of her vain wishes, he asked her, whether, if it were proposed to her, by the privation of a single day's pleasure, to secure the enjoyment of a whole year's dancing and junketing, without interruptions, she would not agree to the bargain? And, having answered that certainly she
would do so with the greatest alacrity, the good man therefore read her a sermon, (which I may be excused for not inserting at length,), the object of which was to prove that, by her present denial of similar enjoyments on earth, she would secure to herself an eternity of them in heaven; and this he founded upon three texts—1. From the prophet Jeremiah, “ Tu ornaberis tympanis tuis, et egredieris choro ludentium, &c.” 2. From the Psalms, “ Prævenerant principes conjuncti Psallentibus in medio juvenculorum tympanistrianum.” . And 3. From the Hymn of the Virgins, “ quacunque deges, Virgines sequumtur, atque laudibus post te canentes cursitant.”— And with these sacred promises the simple maiden was so much moved that she instantly became influenced with holy desires, and after dedicating her virginity to Christ, went, at the expiration of five years, to enjoy the literal accomplishment of her compact, in footing and jigging it to all eternity. '
. A EUROPEAN NATIONAL TRIBUNAL.
It is rather curious to recall to our recollection the States of Europe as the existed in 1737, and the ranks whi they were, at that time, supposed to hold relatively to each other. The following list is extracted from the celebrated Abbé de St Pierre's plan for a European diet.—Ann. Polit. tom 2, p. 613.
1. The Emperor of Austria 2. The King of France 3. The King of Spain 4. The King of Portugal 5. The King of England 6. The States of Holland 7. The King of Denmark 8. The King of Sweden 9. The King of Poland 10. The Empress of Russia 11. The Pope 12. The King of Prussia 13. The Elector of Bavaria 14. The Elector Palatine 15. The Swiss 16. The Ecclesiastical Electorates 18. The Republic of Venice 18. The King of Naples 19. The King of Sardinia.
The celebrated “reverie” (as Fleury called it,) of a European diet to be formed of deputies from each of the
above named powers, to determine all differences by a kind of judicial decision, and thus to ensure eternal peace, appears now-a-days much less visionary than it did in 1737. In truth, the Congresses of Vienna, Paris, and Aix-la-Chapelle, in which the four great powers, Austria, England, Prussia, and Russia, (France being admitted latterly to the o: all the questions relative to the division and policy of the great European family, were diets upon M. de St Pierre's principle. And it will be well for mankind if a continuation of the same system shall lead to the happy result which the philanthropic Abbé contemplated, of a general and lasting peace. Why should it not? Why should a shot be fired in Euro when Austria, England, France, Ho land, Prussia, Russia, and Spain, form a tribunal to mediate between powers who may have a difference, and a united force to punish any country which should dare to commit aggression upon another. Financial difficulties are the origin of all national discontents and political revolutions. It would be hard to find a serious sedition in European history which has not had an immediate connexion with taxation. Now, war is the great cause of financial difficulties, and if the European congress shall render wars infrequent, and great military establishments, pro tanto, unnecessary, they will raise more effectual barriers against future revolutions than any other possible device of human wisdom can create. But alas, this wise system (if even to be persevered in) is only for the future. The French revolution, and above all, the gigantic ambition of “ its child and champion,” Bonaparte, have entailed upon Europe a load of expense and financial pressure which may, perhaps, be the germ of new troubles. They
also have created a military spirit, which has rendered war the favourite speculation of great masses of the population of all Europe; and they have unfortunately concluded with consolidating the triumph of their mischievous principles, by the impunity which has been extended to all, and the rewards which have been lavished on most of the surviving criminals of that atrocious revolution. Let us hope, however, that the several governments have internal strength to enable them to weather the present difficulties, and that the judicial union of the sovereigns may continue to decide upon all national differences, and thus deliver mankind from internal wars for the future. M
I. Every one knows that in Burns' song which begins, “Is there for honest poverty?”
the bard indulged in a levelling strain of sentiments, which some of his readers have blamed ; yet one of the most forcible stanzas might have been borrowed (if Burns had ever borrowed) from a person who was not likely to have encouraged levelling principles, or to have underrated the authority of the princes of the earth. ... I mean King Lewis the XIV. of haughty and magnificent memory.
A marquis, duke, and a' that;
Gude faith he maunna fa’ that.”
Freron tells us, that Lewis, walking one day in the garden of Versailles, with all his nobles around him uncovered, directed Mansard, an able architect and amiable man, who was, it seems, unwell, to put on his hat—the courtiers looked astonished at so great a condescension, but the monarch rebuked them by saying, “gentlemen, I can make as many dukes as I please, but I never could make a man like Mansard.” Freron, vol. ix. p. 36.
II. The Jesuits of Dole had two fine convents and estates, the one called L'Arc (the bow) in Lorrain, and La Fléche (the arrow) in Anjou ; when the latter was given them by Henr the IV. the following distich appeared,
Arcum dola dedit, dedit illis alma Sagittam Francia, quis chordum, quem meruere, dabit 2 Howell's Fam. Epist. Dole gave these monks the bow—a shaft, the king; But who will give, what they deserve, a string ! The amagram is pleasant; but, it seems, the Jesuits know how to have two strings to their bow. III. Pope exposes, in admirable poetry, the idle vanity of those whose —ancient, but ignoble blood, Has ows scoundrels ever since the
But I never have met this folly more strikingly exemplified than in an account of the family of Rosencrantz, in Hofman's Historical Portraits of the Worthies of Denmark. “This family, through a long train of descents of rsons filling the highest offices, offers ew events worthy of attention, except that one nobleman of this name was executed for forging, and another banished for a libel.” IV. A curious Trial by Jury.— Christiern the II. had a mistress named Dyvele with whom he suspected one of his nobles, named Forben Oxe, to have been too familiar. She, however, died, and after her death the king asked Oxe to tell him sincerely if his suspicions were well founded. I own, said Oxe, I tried, but never could succeed with her. The furious king ordered Oxe to be tried for this intended crime before the senate—he was, of
course, acquitted; if, said the enraged and disappointed tyrant, his neck were as thick as an ox's, I would have his head. He called, therefore, together twelve peasants, and forming a square with four spears, into which they entered, (an odd jury box,) he forbade them to separate till they should have agreed to their verdict upon Oxe. The peasants, perplexed what to do, returned a special verdict which would have done no discredit to a jury of Jesuits—“We cannot try him,” said they, “when his own confessions have already condemned him.” This was enough for Christiern, and poor Oxe did lose his head accordingly.—Frer. ix. 54.
of the most absurd self-love, as the story of Narcissus itself—But Ovid paintedhismaniac with a soft and harmonious pencil; Rousseau's portrait of himself is in the style of Spagnoletto—Amongst other fine sentiments which he means for philosophy, he says, “In labouring to acquire my own esteem, (it does not seem to have required much labour,) I have learned to do very well without the esteem of others.” Thus the clear and christian duty of satisfying, in the first place, one's own conscience is parodied by Rousseau into an expression of that morbid vanity which can extract internal satisfaction from the disapprobation of all
* V. That madman Rousseau wrote to a farce called Narcissus a preface as full
Academicae Luctus, et Gratulationes.
It has often struck me, that an interesting article might be supplied from the neglected (and, in some instances, rare) volumes, known generally by the titles Luctus and Gratulationes, of the two English Universities. From long desuetude it has now become matter of history, that these learned bodies were accustomed during nearly two centuries—for I cannot trace the practice to a remoter date—to celebrate every event, sad or sprightly, which could be supposed to interest the nation or it's chief magistrate. An accession; a royal marriage; the birth, or the decease, of a prince or a princess; the recovery, restoration, or return of a sovereign; the successes of a war, or the conclusion of a peace; the restitution of a public library; nay, the deaths even of illustrious or ingenious subjects-Sir Philip Sidney, Mr Camden, Mr Edward King (Lycidas), General Monk, Sir Bevill Grenvill, or Dr Radcliffe—elicited the * melodious tears,” or the not less melodious smiles, of the Cambridge” and Oxford muses. My own shelves furnish almost all those of the following dates:
* America herself, in at least one instance, has not disdained to copy the mother-island. In 1761 appeared, from the Boston press, in an elegantly printed volume, upon the subject of the Accession, “Pietas et Gratulatio Collegii Cantabrigiensis (Harvard College, Cambridge) apud Novanglos.” It’s dedication, as contrasted with the grounds of the rupture which a few years afterward severed the two countries, supplies an additional instance, if indeed any such be wanting, of the short-sightedness of man. One passage, however, with an unconscious equivoque affirms, that “the commencing reign will form a new ara for North America 1" All the compositions, thirty-one in number, with the exception
: of the President, are anonymous; though some of them would not have disgraced a SCI10|ar,
13. – Marriage of Prince of Orange and Princess Mary.—IIgorixius Anglo-Batava, Pari plusquam Virgineo, &c. Oxon. 14. 1643. Return of Queen from Holland.—Musarum Oxon. Eréarneia, &c. 15. — Death of Sir Bevil Grenvill—Oxford Verses, &c. (Reprinted, London, 1684.) 16. 1654. Peace with Holland.—Oliva Pacis, &c. Cant. —Musarum Oxon. Exalobogiz, &c. Genti Togatae ad vada Isidis Celeusma Metricum. 18. 1660. Restoration.—Acad. Cant. Xavsea, &c. 19. — Death of Duke of Gloucester.—Epicedia Acad. Oxon. &c.
24. 1677. Marriage of Prince of Orange and Princess Mary.—Epithalamium Cant. &c. 25. 1683. Marriage of George of Denmark and Princess Anne.—Hymenaeus Cant. 26. 1685. Accession of James II.-Moestissimae ac Laetissimae Acad. Cant. &c.
27. — ...—Supplex Recognitio, &c. et Pietas Acad. Oxon. &c. 28. 1688. Birth of Duke of Cornwall.–Genethliacon, &c. Cant. 29. 1695. Death of Queen Mary.—Lacrymae Cant. &c.
30. — —Pietas Univ. Oxon. &c. 31. 1697. Return of William III. after Peace of Ryswick—Gratulatio Acad. Cant. &c. 32. 1700. Death of Duke of Gloucester.—Threnodia Acad. Cant. &c. 33. 1702. Accession of Anne.—Acad. Cant. Carmina, &c.
34. — .......—Pietas Univ. Oxon. &c. et Gratulatio, &c.
35. -- ~~~~ ..—Comitia Philologica in Honorem Annae, &c. Oxon. 36. 1704. National Successes.—Plausus Musarum, &c. Oxon. 37. 1714. Accession of George I.-Moestissimae ac Laetissimae Acad. Cant. Carmina, &c. 38. — ..—Pietas Univ. Oxon. &c. et Gratulatio, &c. 39. 1715. Death of Dr Radcliffe.—Exequiae, &c. Oxon. 40. 1727. Accession of George II.-Luctus Acad. Cant. &c. et Gaudia, &c. 41. 1733. Marriage of Prince of Orange and Princess Anne,—Gratulatio Acad. Cant. &c.
42. 1736. ... Frederick Prince of Wales.
44. Oxon. &c.
45. 1751. Frederick Prince of Wales.—Epicedia Acad. Cant. &c. 46. — Oxoniensia, &c.
47. 1755. Restitution of Public Library.—Carmina ad Thomam Holles, &c. Cant.
Beside these, however, (and in general it may be observed, that upon most of these occasions, except where the subject was strictly local, both universities came forward) others were published—in 1631, on a royal Birth; in the year following, on the King's Recovery from illness; on the Peace of Westphalia, I believe, in 1648; and, a century afterward, on that of Aix-la-Chapelle: with several more in 1691, 1708, &c. &c. which stronger memories, or wealthier libraries, will supply. t
In some of the above are found the names of Herbert, Crashaw, Cowley, Milton, Locke, Barrow, Prior, Bentley, Jortin, and Gray—an illustrious decade | But such names, alas! are only the rari nantes in gurgite vasto; and even Gray's hexameters, in 1736, were not deemed worthy, by his friend and editor, of being preserved from the common fate. “Adulatory verses of this kind (Mr Mason observes), however well written, deserve not to be transmitted to posterity; and, indeed, are usually buried, as they ought to be, in the trash with which they are surrounded. Every person, who feels himself a poet, ought to be above prostituting his
powers on such occasions; and extreme youth (as was the case with Gray, then
* It was upon this, or the preceding similar occasion, that the Epigram “While Cam and Isis, &c.” made its appearance.
† I have not named the “Lucius Britannici,” on the Death of Dryden (fol. Lond. 1700), because it is not exclusively academical.