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down') of dividing her sorrows, and multiplying her joys ? After having fancied yourself particularly brilliant, did your rhetoric suddenly run dry, and did you become particularly weary of these aimless and fruitless colloquial coruscations, in which you had indulged perhaps because you had nothing else to say ; perhaps because Fashion has established the reign of this glittering inanity; or perhaps because you wished to meet anticipated coquetry with actual firtation, and some mi. sogymist had told you this is the most melodious of all dialects to the female ear ? Did you then sit for a while, reflecting with just regret on your own share in extending the empire of heartlessness a realm already so wide, barren of all good, and fertile of all evil ? Did Conscience reproach your generosity, saying: Gay Lothario, perhaps those poor girls thought you were in earnest !' and sceptical Vanity add whips to your remorse, by suggesting, “Stupid Malvolio! probably they cared not whether you were in earnest or no ?' Then, after attempting to attitudinize yourself into the envy of all the gentlemen, and admiration of all the ladies, just at the very moment when you thought you were regarded as a peach-cheeked Adonis, ripe, round and rosy, or better still, as a graceful Antinous, tall, pale, and splendid, did you suspect that a group of whisperers were taking your name in vain,' and, in a paroxysm of disgust, stalk off like another Lara, swearing that man delights not you, nor woman neither;' that 'you have not loved the world, nor the world you ;' that you are among them, but not of them,' with various other bitter speeches of the Timonic or Byronic cast ?
Did you next fall in with some grave gentleman, or rather some lady verging toward the uncertain age,' plain in face as in manners, and rich only in the jewels of the mind, and who therefore sat cold and neg. lected in a distant corner ? Did some chance allusion to a cherished passage
your own favorite author break the "spell wherewith you were darkly bound, and launch your bark backward on the refluent stream of eager and delighted reminiscence ? On discovering that your studies, your tastes, your sentiments, your very minds were the same ; that you both had the breadth of intellect, the variety of cultivation, and the liberality of feeling to recognize and appreciate Genius under all his myriad forms; that, belonging to no literary sect, or school, or clique, or coterie, you both could admire and love at once the erratic Shakspeare, and the methodical Racine ; the meditative Wordsworth and the fiery Byron : did you vie long and earnestly with each other in fresh. ening the remembrance of your happier years, and retracing the halfobliterated letters of the golden tablet, by bringing forth to light, like precious palimpsests, the treasures then garnered in your hearts? Did you recite together the passages that touched you in days of old, and dwell with enthusiasm on the sweet or ennobling pictures hung up in the halls of Fancy - a long and glorious series, from Hector to the Brothers Cheeryble, from Antigone to Fleur de Marie ? Forgetful of the youth, the wit, the beauty, and all the bright bewilderment around you, did you leave for a season the saloons of Fashion, garish with the glare of lamps, and wearisome with their scenes of mimicry, conceit and affecVOL. XXV.
tation, to walk in spirit beneath the star-lit vault, and gaze with an ear. nest yet awful love on the moving figures of that everlasting temple,
* Where more than echoes talk along the walls;' the Walhalla of the world's great history, and of man's immortal mind? And did you thus discover, perhaps for the thousandth time, that that visionary world is, in itself, more real than the actual, and has a far stronger hold on the heart; and that however noble, brilliant and attractive any modern assemblage, or the entire modern age may be, yet, compared with the princely trains that march from the one hundred and eighty ages of the past through the chambers of the mind, they are as insignificant as are the grandeur and beauty of St. Peter's dome, when paralleled with the breadth, the glow, and the glory of the firma. ment above ?
If you were ever in this or a like predicament, and experienced these or similar emotions, you can realize my feelings when, in the pages of a trashy novel, or dull discussion, I have lighted on some jewel from the olden casket, or some golden sentiment from the modern mine. At one mutilated passage, one fragment of expression, one bare allusive word, as at the signal.call of Roderick Dhu, an army of dormant memories springs up into visible being, and the landscape of fancy is re-peopled with a shining host. Instantly the mind and heart revert to the old and well-thumbed Delphin, the smirched Homer, the dog's-eared Virgil, and the tattered Ovid — which, through the medium of the dictionary, impressed upon them images, how lovely, how distinct, how ineffaceable ! Omnium Marcellorum meum pectus memoria obfudit.' The boy again reclines under the old apple-tree, and amid the singing of birds, and sighing of the summer breeze, his merry laugh rings out at the misadventures of Quixotte, and the humors of Falstaff, or his frame shivers at the weird sisters in Macbeth, his heart leaps at the deliverance of the good Antonio, and his eyes run over at the double tragedy of Romeo and his sweet young Juliet. In the impotence of vain regret he repeats the line he loved so much even in boyhood :
"O mihi præteritos referat si Jupiter annos!" and appreciates in all its comprehensiveness the exquisite sentiment of Shenstone: “Heu! quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quàm vestri meminisse! Byron, by the way, has expanded this text into some very charming lines, but all their beauties united appear to me as nothing, when compared with the condensed and all.comprehensive eloquence of this appeal to the yearning spirit of a mourner. Observe the miracu. lous felicity of the language! Mark how many volumes are included in one short line!
Speaking of felicitous diction, there are some passages in the writings of Cicero, which seem by no means the language of the heart, but rather the dialect of the schools made perfect. Yet, though not the impulsive eloquence of nature, they are wrought up to such an exquisite finish, that I can scarce refrain from tears in their perusal. I know not how it happens here, and almost here only — for assuredly there are many passages in other authors of more intense and touching
beauty — but in reading some portions of Cicero's eulogy on Cæsar, in his oration for Marcellus, I am affected with a species of painful envy at the inimitable melody of language and elegance of thought. It seems so infinitely superior to any combination of words that I could possibly produce, that I feel inclined to throw aside my ineffectual pen, and wor. ship in silence the master-piece of art. Yet afterward, when the busy sprite in my brain has conjured up something which strikes my ear and heart as good in language or conception, I gaze upon it, like the whole vain tribe of authors, with a kind of paternal rapture, and exclaim with the Italian artist, Sono pittore anch'io !!
But to return to my subject, which is, 'quotations.' Early in my classical neophycy — that word won't do — say apprenticeship, I remem. ber to have imagined the Roman authors the most amiable, if not the most honest of writers; for their favorite expression to signify the act of quoting was laudare, to praise which seemed to argue that they loved one another, and never cited from a book-wright without commending him. But a mere exoteric knowledge of the ancients soon convinced me that this amiable era must have been long anterior to the famous ·golden age,' since even then Virgil stole half his descriptive and metaphorical malériel from Homer, Hesiod, and A pollonius of Rhodes, without making a solitary acknowledgment, and Livy transplanted whole books of his warm-colored history from the impartial pages of Polybius, and never thanked him, nor even named him, except as quite a respectable author !' In this, I think, must have consisted that supposed un. Roman peculiarity of style, which some of the ancient critics called the • Patavinity of Livy, and which some modern lynxes have pretended that they too had detected.
In old times, however, citations were in general more prominently paraded, if not more extensively employed, than they now are. Among the Greeks, the most liberal quoter was Plutarch, whose treatises on morality and natural science are, at least in one half, directly and osten. sibly borrowed. It is astonishing, the number of authors whom he cites, and with whom we are assured from internal proof that he was perfectly familiar. In his discussions of various physical phenomena, which would provoke the smile of a modern naturalist by their immense masses of groundless hypothesis and ignorantly ingenious reasoning, he often adduces writers, of whose very existence without his evidence we should now have no knowledge. A tolerably extensive collection of the ethical beauties of the epic, tragic and comic poets of Greece may be made from his preceptive essays.
The Greek and Roman fathers, together with the divines of the dark ages, were insatiable quoters. So, likewise, were some of the early English writers, particularly the polemical. Their method was to accumulate all the authorities extant in favor of their positions, to cite all the objections ever urged against them by jew, infidel, or Christian ; and then disprove those objections by other and equally extensive citations, occasionally furnishing an argument of their own. They resembled that famous luminary of Dutch jurisprudence, who settled all the civil cases brought before him, not by comparing the pounds, shillings and pence in, but by ascertaining the pounds, ounces, and drams of the
account books brought in evidence by the respective litigants. Like the Puseyite logomachists, they were great sticklers for the ipse dixit' of patristic evidence. They seemed to think that the dogmas of theology were to be established by the weight of precedent authority, and he was thought to have gained the victory, who had arrayed on his side the greatest number of decisions passed by former judges. A rather tedious, but very convenient mode of argument, to be sure, where erudition usurps the throne of reason, and authority asserts the vantage-ground of fact !
The great Jeremy Taylor, whose sermons are among the most elegantly-imaginative compositions in the world, was a lavish quoter, but on a different system. Those quaint and glorious discourses, rich with all the hues of fancy, and warm with all the fire of pathos, should then have been preached, and should now be read, only in some grand old cathedral, where the sun's “ westering beams' stream through stained windows on the paintings of Raphael or of Claude Lorraine. Every one of those opulent pages is replete with allusions to the incidents, the facts, the fables of the elder world; and each incident, each fact, each fable, touched by his magic finger, is ennobled, is beautified, is alchemized into his own mind's essence, and flows forth a stream of molten gold. And then, not satisfied with all this display of beautiful allusive learning, he quotes at the foot of the page all the more famous passages of the Greek tragedians, by way of illustrating his tenets and enforcing his admonitions. Doubtless all this erudition is absurdly out of place, even in sermons addressed to the courtiers of St. James', and to crowned heads, who rule by “divine right, and who, of course, understand Greek, as well as every thing else, by instinct : but is it not beautiful, beautiful beyond all comparison, and above all rivalry ?
But of all quoters, commend me to old Burton, in the · Anatomy of Melancholy. In this most singular of works, to which not even Southey's
Doctor can be compared in learning and quaintness, the author has accumulated enough rare erudition to establish the reputation of any twenty authors for extensive reading, and to make any one author mel. ancholy to look at it. The eccentric character and immense number of its citations are the very things which constitute the character and value of the work, and therefore one is not here, as in some cases, tempted to cry out, 'Oh, monstrous! Three-penny ’orth of bread to this intolerable quantity of sack" (Shakspeare meant pillage.')
If the writers of the present day appear to quote less largely than their predecessors, it is to be ascribed more to their dishonesty than to their self-dependence, or originality. They borrow less, and steal more. A diminution of their apparent capital would be an increase of their real credit, or, as I once dreamed an Irishman said to a wide-mouthed Scotchman, . The larger the subtraction from his mouth the greater would be the addition to his face! Tom Moore, not content with his natural stores of wit and elegant thought, has been shown by accurate research to be a perfect corsair. As, however, the Moors, ever since their expulsion from Spain, have been incorrigible pirates, the amorous Lalla Rookh, in privateering on the literary seas, pursued only his patronymical or rather his patrial vocation. A few years since com. menced the contraband trade in German, Coleridge leading the van of
the lawless company; and there has already been introduced for home consumption a very large amount of that singular manufacture, a woof of beautiful contemplations, and a warp of unintelligible mysticism. Much of these unlawful importations was detected, and this secret commerce is now almost impossible for all but the pettiest of pedlars. Every school-boy studies German, and as all the scribbling mystagogues of the nation are becoming illicit dealers in the foreign article, equally in the cobwebs, and the cloth of gold, they will soon organize themselves into a body of custom-house officers, and each contrabandist will inform against his brother-in-trade as having entered, under a false invoice, goods which he himself had intended to smuggle.
Let us proceed. I do not like a shirt all ruffles, nor a book all citations ; yet I am much in favor of quotations judiciously and sparingly introduced ; not such, of course, as may be gathered from a • Dictionary of Quotations,' and which have been worn so long that they may better be called hackneyed slang. However beautiful and striking originally, they have degenerated into cant, and should never be employed by writer or speaker, except when they are peculiarly forceful and appropriate. Some fellows employ these phrases apropos of every thing, thus destroying all their pith and significance. They interlard with them every dish, conversational or scriptural, and whatever else may be the meal, these are always a component part, like the indispensable bacon and cabbage of a Virginia housewife. Does some closefisted millionaire, who has coined the tears of the widow into eagles, or some luxurious worldling, who has expended his yearly thousands on his own frail person, bequeath at his death to some asylum the hoarded treasures, in the possession or use of which he can no longer revel, but which may purchase for his name the posthumous renown of a lying monumental slab? He was 'open as day to melting charity,' and all those other golden inscriptions which Genius once consecrated to living or departed worth, and which Virtue would fain sanctify and appropriate to herself and her votaries forever. Out upon the profanation!' The beautiful
poetry and fancy are soiled by the touch and sullied by the breath of the vulgar, till they lose all their lustre, and become every-day pebbles of the sea-shore, colloquialized, disenchanted; a talisman, that has lost its mystic charm. Even when seen again in their old connection, re-linked in the sparkling chain whence they were drawn, they seem less beautiful, less dear, less precious than they did in days of yore. It would not be thus, were they cited only by sensible minds, and on appropriate occasions.
After all, then, quoting is like every thing else. Its merit depends on the who and the how : that is, on who the quoter is, and how he quotes. The same good sense, whether natural or adscititious, which is requisite to all just thought or correct writing, is equally necessary to discern what is elegant or energetic in others, and to know when and how to introduce it with pertinency and effect. But he who thinks like a dolt will assuredly write like a blockhead, and he who writes like a blockhead must quote of course like an ass. And who, when he sees a stupid fellow run off with a splendid expression in his mouth, and the hang. dog expression of a detected sheep-stealer in his face, would not shout