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how bright the high-sould father shone. PTOLEMY LAGUs (one of Alexander's captains) inherited, on the death of his master, a considerable portion of the empire. Ægypt, Lybia, and that part of Arabia which borders upon Ægypt, fell to his share.
Ethiopis fortase pater.
γυναίκες έoικoτα τεκνα γονευσιIndeed it was a general persuasion among the ancients, that those children who did not resemble their parents, were illegitimate. This notion hath been transmitted to modern times. The Calabrians (according to Mr. SWINBURNE) believe that every child, whose mother hath been true to her marriage-vow, must necessarily resemble the father. It is, no doubt, an easy matter (adds our favourite traveller) to persuade a peasant who seldom considers the lineaments of his face in a glass, that the features of the infant are miniature copies of his: But if he were to become thoroughly convinced, that no such resemblance existed, he would never be persuaded to pardon his wife, or look upon the child in any other light, than that of a bastard.
LINE 67. Then brightening Coos, as she saw thee born, &c. This impersonation of the island is in the true Scriptural manner, The valleys shall laugh and sing.' Why hop ye fo, 'ye high hills ?'- Break forth into singing, yé mountains ! O VOL. II. L
forest, * Mr. Bruce, who has published his book since this note was written, can sufficiently answer for himself.
• forest, and every tree therein ! and many other figurative expressions, conceived in a similar stile of Oriental magnificence, might be adduced, as bearing a general resemblance to the bold imagery of our poet.
LINE 87. Yet where the fatness of the Nile o'erflows. In the time of HerODOTUS, the Nile was an hundred days rising, and as many subsiding. The inundation is now much less. See HERODOTUS, Euterpe, p. 55.
Pliny says that the Nile received no rivers into it. Later observations have proved his mistake.
For entertaining accounts of the Nile, see Ælian's Var. Hift. STRABO. Arabian Nights Entertainments, vol. 4.-In VIRGIL'S 4th Georgick we have very poetical lines on the subject.
To discover the source of the Nile, was a great desideratum among the ancients. But all their attempts in pursuit of this object, proved abortive. Whether the moderns have been more fuccessful or not, may be considered as rather problematical-fo inconsistent and contradictory are the reports of the missionaries and other travellers who pretend to have effected the discovery.
Kircher tells us, that the Nile takes its rise in the kingdom of Gojam, from a small aperture on the
of a mountain. The : communications of Mr. Bruce on this topic have been generally received as authentic; though Baron de Tott hath attempted to destroy their credit. · The French traveller asserts, or that the sources of the Nile are not yet known, though one Bruce, an Englishman, hath passed for the discoverer of them." The translator cannot pretend to enter into the merits of the case.* A few anecdotes from the Baron's book shall conclude these desultory remarks.
• It is to be observed (says the Baron) that the water of the Nile becomes thick, by washing the clayey soil over which is
paffes: It appears, when drunk, as light and limpid as the clearest. The Ægyptians themselves believe it to be nourishing, and say, whoever drinks of their river will never remove to any great distance from its banks. The divine honors the Ægyptians paid to the Nile are, in a manner, still preserved under the Mahometans. They give this river the title of Most Holy: They likewise honour its increase with all the ceremonies practised by Pagan antiquity. The ancient Ægyptians had the barbarous custom of facrificing a young girl to the Nile, when the waters were arrived at a certain height. They called her the Aroofa, or the Bride. And the name and ceremonies of this fanguinary feast are still preserved; though the Caliph Omar rendered it more humane, by subftituting a pillar of earth, which represents the victim, and is thrown into the Nile.
105. Through all thy marts the tide of commerce flows. Mr. Savary, in his letters on Ægypt, describes the revolutions of Ægyptian commerce in ancient and modern times. The æra of PTOLEMY was not the least illustrious. · PTOLEMY PHI. LADELPHUS (says he) imitated the example of his father, continued the canal from the Red Sea to the Nile, and had the glory of completing it. In the latitude of Siene, he built on the Red Sea, a city, which, in honor of his mother, he called Berenice; between which and Copbtos he established inns, and provided cifterns of water, for the use of the caravans that in twelve days traversed these burning sands. To protect their commerce, the PTOLEMIES maintained a formidable fleet, both in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Ptolemy PHILADELPHUS had ninetyseven vessels, most of which were 200 feet long, with many more · of inferior fize; and innumerable advice-boats and pacquets, destined for conveying orders, &c. through his dominions. Compared with some of the Ægyptian veffels, particularly the galley described by PLUTARCH in his life of Demetrius, our largest men of war would appear but small frigates. A nation must have acquired great kill in ship-building, which could produce
such prodigies of art as no succeeding age hath been able to imitate. By means of their commerce and naval power, the Ægyptians, though they never were distinguished for their military kill and courage, were enabled to extend their conquests into the remoter parts of Æthiopia and Jemen--and the ProleMIES had thirty-three thousand cities subject to their power. These facts would appear incredible, were they not attested by the most authentic authors; and did we not reflect, to what splendor commerce might raise a kingdom washed by two seas, and enjoying the treasures of an inexhaustible foil. See Monthly Review, vol. 74, p. 527. See also Universal Hift. vol. 9, 8vo. p. 283.
123 His bards, with melancholy step, depart. The fame of PTOLEMY's munificence drew seven poets to his court, who, from their number, were called the Pleïades THEOCRITUS, CALLIMACHUS, APOLLONIUS, ARATUS,. LycoPHRON, NICANDER, and PhilicUS.
Hath in the footsteps of his father trode. Thus Heinsius interprets this difficult paffage: PTOLÉMY alone treading close in the footsteps of his fathers, yet warm in the duit, defaced and rose over them'-alluding to an expression used in a certain contest among the ancients: Ew6869xa Cov, Yosepxvw 446I have stept over you~I am beyond you. For illustrations of the above, see Hom. Iliad xxiii. 763, and PINDAR Pych. viii. 48. Nem. vi. 28. Pyth. vi. 45.
For a ketch of PTOLEMY's character, fee Idyll. xiv. See also Universal History.
Yet Prolemy, it seems, with all his virtues, had a mixture of envy in his compofition. His prohibiting the exportation of the Papyrus, left ATTALUS king of Pergamus should surpass him
in the accumulation of MSS. (which were easily copied on this Ægyptian paper) detracts, in no trifling degree, from his character of liberality. The prohibition, however, gave occasion to a more useful invention. The spirit of ATTALUS was too active to acquiesce in the obstruction of its views. We are told that being forbidden to use the papyrus, he invented the pergamena or parchment.
In regard to their accumulation of books, and their patronage of literary men, there is no doubt but Attalus and PTOLEMY were partly influenced by the love of learning. But emulation (or rather envy) was the most powerful principle. To this spirit of rivalry the celebrated library at Alexandria, which, according to A. Gellius, confifted of 700,000 volumes, in a great measure owed its magnificence, though not its existence. It was burnt about fifty years before Christ, by Cæsar's soldiers. From its afhes arose another library, that (equally iil-fated) was destroyed in the sixth century, by the Caliph Omar, the contemporary and companion of MAHOMET. See Abul. Phar. Hift. p. 180, and Modern Univ. Hift. vol. i. p. 498.
To the well-versed in literature, the “ Philological Enquiries" of the truly learned and polished Harris will furnish molt elegant amusement on the subject before us. His reflexions are those of a man, who, pofTesling uncommon erudition, looks back with complacency on the career of science he hath run, and reviews with sensibility and taste the more striking incidents in the regions of philology.
It is remarkable enough that the Saracens were, afterwards, as eager to preserve, as they were first active to destroy literature. In their treaties with the Greek Emperors, they demanded, by express articles, the works of the ancients.