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And bade my northern banners shine
My course is run, my errand done :
Of glory that adorns my name ;
My course is run, my errand done
But darker inisters of fate
And in the caves of vengeance, wait;
Lines written on visiting the beautiful burying-ground at New Haven. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE.
O! WHERE are they, whose all that earth could give,
Here sunk the honoured, vanished the endeared;
* At'tila was the king of the Huns, and, for many years, in the first half of the fifth century, was the terrour both of Constantinople and Rome. Not long after the death of Alaric, he invaded the Ro man empire, at the head of half a million of barbarians, and with fire and sword laid waste many of its most fertile provinces. Into the bold sketch of Alaric, which is given in this Dirge, the poet, in the license of his art, has thrown some of the distinguishing features of Attila. It may be well to advise the youthful reader, that, as a matter of sober history, it was Attila, and not Alaric, who used to say that the grass never grew where his horse had trod; and that it was not Alaric, but Attila, who was called the Scourge of God. With this appellation the king of the Huns was so well pleased that he
adopted it as one of his titles of honour.
Why deck these sculptured trophies of the tomb?
Yet powerless man revõlts at ruin's reign;
Sink, mean memorials of what cannot die!
Be lowly as the relicks ye o'erspread! Nor lift your funeral forms so gorgeously,
To tell who slumbers in each narrow bed: I would not honour thus the sainted dead; Nor to each stranger's careless ear deciare
My sacred griefs for joy and friendship fled. O, let me hide the names of those that were, Deep in my stricken heart, and shrine them only there!
Some account of the character and merits of John Playfair, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Edin burgh. JEFFREY.
Ir has struck many people, we believe, as very extraordinary, that so eminent a person as Mr. Playfair should have been allowed to sink into his grave in the midst of us, without calling forth almost so much as an attempt to commemorate his merit, even in a common newspaper; and that the death of a man so celebrated and beloved, and at the same time so closely connected with many who could well appre ciate and suitably describe his excellencies, should be left to the brief and ordinary notice of the daily obituary. No event of the kind certainly ever excited more general sympathy; and no individual, we are persuaded, will be longer or more affectionately remembered by all the classes of his fellow-citizens: and yet it is to these very circumstances that we must look for an explanation of the apparent neglect with which his memory has been followed.
We beg leave to assure our readers, that it is merely from an anxiety to do something to gratify this natural im
patience, that we presume to enter at all upon a subject, to which we are perfectly aware that we are incapable of doing justice. For, of Mr. Playfair's scientifick attainments-of his proficiency in those studies to which he was peculiarly devoted, we are but slenderly qualified to judge; but, we be lieve, we hazard nothing in saying that he was one of the most learned mathematicians of his age, and among the first, if not the very first, who introduced the beautiful discoveries of the later continental geometers to the knowledge of his countrymen, and gave their just and true place, in the scheme of European knowledge, to those important improvements by which the whole aspect of the abstract sciences has been renovated since the days of our illustrious Newton.
If he did not signalize himself by any brilliant or original invention, he must at least be allowed to have been a most generons and intelligent judge of the achievements of others, as well as the most eloquent expounder of that great and magnificent system of knowledge which has been gradually evolved by the successive labours of so many gifted individuals. He possessed, indeed, in the highest degree, all the characteristicks both of a fine and a powerful understandingat once penetrating and vigilant-but more distinguished, perhaps, for the caution and sureness of its march, than for the brilliancy or rapidity of its movements and guided and adorned through all its progress by the most genuine enthu siasm for all that is grand, and the justest taste for all that is beautiful, in the truth or the intellectual energy with which he was habitually conversant.
Mr. Playfair was not merely a teacher; and has fortunately left behind him a variety of works, from which other generations may be enabled to judge of some of those qualifica tions which so powerfully recommended and endeared him to his contemporaries. It is, perhaps, to be regretted that so much of his time, and so large a proportion of his publications, should have been devoted to the subjects of the Indian Astronomy, and the Huttonian Theory of the Earth. For though nothing can be more beautiful or instructive than his speculations on those curious topicks, it cannot be dissembled that their results are less conclusive and satisfactory than might have been desired; and that his doctrines, from the very nature of their subjects, are more questionable than we believe they could possibly have been on any other topick in the whole circle of the sciences.
A juster estimatė of Mr. Playfair's talent, and a truer pic
ture of his genius and understanding, is to be found in his other writings; in the papers, both biographical and scientifick, with which he has enriched the transactions of our Royal Society;—his account of De Laplacé, and other articles which he is said to have contributed to the Edinburgh Review-the Outlines of his Lectures on Natural Philosophy-and, above all, his Introductory Discourse to the Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica, with the final correction of which he was occupied up to the last moments that the progress of his disease allowed him to dedicate to any intellectual exertion.
With reference to these works, we do not think we are influenced by any national, or other partiality, when we say that he was certainly one of the best writers of his age; and even that we do not now recollect any one of his contemporaries who was so great a master of composition. There is a certain mellowness and richness about his style, which adorns, without disguising the weight and nervousness, which is its other great characteristick—a sedate gracefulness and manly simplicity in the more level passages-and a mild majesty and considerate enthusiasm where he rises above them, of which we scarcely know where to find any other example.
There is great equability, too, and sustained force, in every part of his writings. He never exhausts himself in flashes and epigrams, nor languishes into tameness or insipidity; at first sight you would say, that plainness and good sense were the predominating qualities; but, by the by, this simplicity is enriched with the delicate and vivid colours of a fine imagination-the free and forcible touches of a powerful intellect and the lights and shades of an unerring, harmonizing taste. In comparing it with the styles of his most celebrated contemporaries, we would say that it was more purely and peculiarly a written style-and, therefore, rejected those ornaments that more properly belong to oratory.
It had no impetuosity, hurry, or vehemence-no bursts, or sudden turns, or abruptness, like that of Burke; and though eminently smooth and melodious, it was not modulated to a uniform system of solemn declamation, like that of Johnson, nor spread out in the richer and more voluminous elocution of Stewart; ror still less broken into that patch-work of scholastick pedantry and conversational.smartness which has found its admirers in Gibbon. It is a style, in short, of great freedom, force, and beauty; but the delibe
rate style of a man of thought and of learning; and neither that of a wit, throwing out his extemporès with an affectation of careless grace-nor of a rhetorician, thinking more of his manner than his matter, and determined to be admir ed for his expression, whatever may be the fate of his sen timents.
But we need dwell no longer on qualities that may be gathered hereafter from the works he has left behind him. -They who lived with him mourn the most for those which will be traced in no such memorial; and prize, far above these talents which gained him his high name in philosophy, that personal character which endeared him to his friends, and shed a grace and a dignity over all the society in which he moved. The same admirable taste which is conspicuous in his writings, or rather, the higher principles from which that taste was but an emanation, spread a similar charm over his whole life and conversation; and gave to the most learned philosopher of his day, the manners and deportment of the most perfect gentleman.
Nor was this in him the result merely of good `sense and good temper, assisted by an early familiarity with good company, and a consequent knowledge of his own place and that of all around him. His good breeding was of a higher de scent; and his powers of pleasing rested on something better than mere companionable qualities. With the greatest kindness and generosity of nature, he united the most manly firmness, and the highest principles of honour; and the most cheerful and social dispositions, with the gentlest and steadiest affections.
Towards women he had always the most chivalrous feelings of regard and attention, and was, beyond almost all men, acceptable and agreeable in their society-though without the least levity or pretension unbecoming his age or condition. And such, indeed, was the fascination of the perfect simplicity and mildness of his manners, that the same tone or deportment seemed equally appropriate to all societies, and enabled him to delight the young and the gay with the same sort of conversation which instructed the learned and the grave. There never, indeed, was a man of learning and talent who appeared in society so perfectly free from every sort of pretension or notion of his own importance, or so little solicitons to distinguish himself, or so sincerely willing to give place to every one else.
Even upon subjects which he had thoroughly studied, he