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Je Douglas

1854,

ME I. r pris bare we set no bounds to our national mei sie we voetry's in the phenomenon, and comparing PRE-PL ang buat be him, not with the learned men of mrzu mmg se va zo of she learned countries, but with the ineru

7- gerians 2. totius precise dize literati around us, we hail his ad

C vitu a state, Doce Feat with songs of triumph, and much r] se formi * T te hiba to our satisfaction, place him without apter 22 1.mes TEST 18- ceremony at the head of all the schoquart veest Eature Lars of Europe. We then most inconinu 20. siCCI, and that, with its sistendly rave about those acquirements ellercoas. De xeo 2 are the in him, which we have all along undermost were ocearth. ralued in others and in doing so, can

The irony o SCOSTED, in ge- it be denied, that we are exhibiting a seni. t Escserea, in all those se- senseless and repulsive nationality ? CUEDOSODs wash are essential to We cannot help thinking that some1 wiltinand zacktran, is, we sus. . thing of this sort has happened in the pect, pretty terabyte even by them- case of Dr John Leyden,—that his Seites, weather happen to cross the countrymen have bestowed on him a Tweet But when we are all together reputation beyond his deserts, in a budy, as tor example, here in Edin- endeavoured to raise him to an emiburyb, ise can talk with a magnani- nence among scholars, from which, in mous derision of the slender clerks of process of time, he must inevitably be the south, and a solitary Englishman, made to descend.

, compare him with us Sivech philosophers, seems to us Sir William Jones, nor have there to shrink into very small dimensions. been wanting persons pubintry to afo The southerus are themselves not un- firm, that Leyden was the greater marr frequently imposed upon by our airs of the two, and that the world susot superiority in our own capital, - tained the greater loss in his premature and we have ourselves sen strangers death. This we conceive is carrying of genuine talent and erudition listen. Scotch nationality not to the verge,

but ing, without being aware of the ab- into the very heart of folly. surdity, to the emptiest of all pretend

It would be vo no purpose to shew, ers, the Editor of the Supplement, and that Sir William Jorrses enjoyed far his eternal,

greater advantages than Leyden ; for * Twas I,

the superiority of the fora ver was Says the ty,

wholly independent of these he vas, With my little eye."

by nature, a far greater man. He was

an universal, a perfect scholar. He It is true, that we are yet poor, - was not actuated by the vain desire of and perhaps our poverty may account knowing more than other men ; but for our want ot erudition. But we he loved and sought knowledge purely ought to make a better use of our for its own sake. He had, therefore, philosophy, than to undervalue the no satisfaction in any acquirement inaterials on which alone any philoso- that was not solid and complete.phy can speculate to much purpose. Truth, and truth alone, could satisfy Our iguorance ought not to be our him; and in all his researches, he adpride, --and instead of deriding thatvanced not a single step without a sure kuowledge, which as a nation we have footing, and never journeyed on till hitherto been prevented from acquir. he had dispersed the mist and the ing, either by the poverty of our coun- darkness. There was no quackery atry, or by the detective character of our bout him. With all his manifold acschools and universities, we ought ra- complishments, there was a simple ther to shew a generous admiration and dignity in his manners and in his * generous envy of the happier scholar mind, that spoke not only the scholar of the south, trusting, that we may but the philosopher; and no faith imbibe something of their spirit, and could have been placed in truth, had ere long to enjoy some of their mani. Sir William Jones but once in his life föld advantages.

pretended to any knowledge which he When, however, amidst this uni- did not possess. But in every departe versal dearth of knowledge, a man of ment of learning he was equal to the great acquirements happens to arise, most learned ; and it has been poll

observed, " that in the course of a ness in which they still lie enveloped. short life he had acquired a degree of But Leyden never could have become knowledge which the ordinary facul- a sure guide ; for it was the radical ties of man, if they were blest with defect of his intellect, that it was saantediluvian longevity, could scarcely tisfied with glimpses of truth-with hope to surpass. His learning threw partial openings in the darkness, in. light on the laws of Greece and India stead of the cloudless lustre of the dison the general literature of Asia, encumbered sky-as if he had believand on the history of the family of ed that the fields of knowledge were nations."

to be taken and kept possession of by The character of Dr Leyden was, in sudden and transitory inroads. too many respects, the very reverse of We are well aware, that by these this. He had a strong passion for general observations, we may be of knowledge; but that passion was, un- fending the admirers of this most enluckily, too much mixed with a thusiastic and meritorious person; and fondness for display, and he could no doubt it would require more room not fully enjoy his knowledge, un- than we can now spare, to prove that less he could get all the world to our observations are just

. Yet though umire it. This restless love of dis- we may be accused of under-rating tinction drove him from one study to the literary character of Leyden, in another, as if he were afraid of being denying that he was a wonderful scho reckoned ignorant of any thing; and lar at all, we are not afraid that any he had scarcely entered on one pur-competent judge will blame us for ex suit, till he darted away with feverish posing the absurd injustice which they

to have prosecuted his studies on no dashing, headlong, and fearless Bot regular system—to have devoured and derer, who are so grossly ignorant gorged every thing that came in his both of his merits and demerits-his way, without fear of indigestion. The knowledge and his ignoranceas to consequence was, that the growth of set him up in rivalry with perhaps the his mind was not in proportion to the greatest scholar that the world ever vast quantity of victuals which it con- produced. Had Leyden lived for ever, sumed.

he had not a mind sufficiently accu It cannot be denied, and it ought to rate and comprehensive to master the be acknowledged, that Leyden often knowledge acquired by Sir William affected to know much more than he Jones. did ; and that he sometimes commit- Of the poetical genius of Leyden, it ted such gross and ludicrous blunders, is not possible for us to speak in terms as overwhelmed with confusion every of very high praise. He wrote verses body but himself. He possessed but because it was necessary that a man of a very imperfect knowledge, indeed, of talents should be able to do every any of the languages of modern Eu- thing. It has been attempted to place rope ; and though he talked of “pass- him among the poets of Scotland ; but, ing muster with Dr Parr,” all who though not acknowledged, it seems to knew Leyden were aware that he was be very generally felt that he was not no Grecian. Now, people are apt to a poet. No one ever heard a line of feel some suspicion of a vain and his quoted, except perhaps by some blundering man; and they who know affectionate friend of his youth ; and how imperfect and superficial a scholar no fancy or feeling in his versifications Leyden was in those languages, with has a dwelling-place in the heart of which all men of education have some his country! he had no imaginationacquaintance, may be pardoned for and no profound feeling. He gives long withholding their full faith from that and laboured descriptions of the days almost miraculous gift of tongues of chivalry; and we feel indeed that which descended upon him in the the days of chivalry are gone, not to East. His genius for the acquisition be restored by such a minstrel. The of languages was no doubt very extra- inspiration of a poet is one thing, and ordinary; and, as he finally relinquish- the animation of a moss-trooper is an

very thing fo study of oriental other. No doubt Leyden was a genuine
"tre, histor

Jaws, had he Borderer, and consciously proud of the
is likel might have heroic character of old Border chiefs.
idera

he dark- But he would have handled a pike

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T. CADELL AND W. DAVIES, STRAND, LONDON.

1819.

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