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gress made towards bringing the original text to a state of undisputed purity, and the advancement of the science of biblical criticism; by which means the verbal meaning of the inspired writers is now ascertained more satisfactorily than at any time since the apostolic age*. And the third is, the prevalence of an improved method of exposition; attended by an increasing disposition to bow to the Bible as the only arbiter in matters of religion. Who, that entertains a belief of the providential guidance of the Christian Church, can suppose, that the most remarkable course of events that has hitherto ever marked the history of the Scriptures, is not charged with the accomplishment of some unusual revolution? And what revolution less than the instalment of the Inspired Volume in the throne of universal authority, can be thought of, as the probable result of the work that is now carrying forwards? If the prejudices of the sceptical spirit, which in some degree blind even the most devout, were removed, every eye accustomed to penetrate futurity, would see in the recent diffusion of the Sacred Writings, an indubitable sign of their approaching triumph over all forms of impiety and false religion. pp. 292, 296.
The remark may appear paradoxical, that, so far as human agency can operate to bring on a better era to the church, he 'who despairs of it, hinders it to the extent of his influence; 'while he who expects it, hastens it, so far as it may be accele'rated.' It is thrown out, we presume, in this undeveloped form, in order to challenge the attention of the objector; and we shall leave it to be expounded by the thoughtful reader.
In this Writer's cheering representation of the prospects of the Christian Church, founded upon no theory, but upon legitimate induction from the history of the past and from existing facts, there is at least nothing enthusiastic, according to his proper definition of the word,-nothing that savours of the exaggeration of an excited imagination, or that is adapted to produce such excitement in the minds of others; but much to enkindle that genuine ardour of hope in reference to real and substantial objects, which is the best antidote to enthusiasm. Our opinion of the authorship of the volume has been sufficiently intimated; and we need not waste many words in eulogizing the luminous and forcible composition of a work which has so much higher claims to public attention, in its philosophical spirit, its original reasonings, and the infinite importance of the topics brought under discussion.
The text of the Scriptures', the Author remarks, is now in a state more satisfactory than that of any other ancient writings'. And in looking towards the future, it must be regarded as a circumstance of peculiar significance, that the documents of our faith have just passed through the severest possible ordeal of hostile criticism, at the very moment when they are in course of delivery to all nations.'
We had almost forgotten to advert to the circumstance of its appearing anonymously. When, about a hundred years ago, the friend and disciple of Bolingbroke, first published his " Essay on Man", the name of the author was carefully suppressed; and the splendid novelty was ascribed, Warburton tells us, to every man except him only who could write it. Those who like, only when they like the author, and who are under the dominion of a name', says Dr. Johnson, 'condemned it; and those admired it who are willing to scatter praise at random, which, 'while it is unappropriated, excites no envy. While the author 'was unknown, some, as will always happen, favoured him as an 'adventurer, and some censured him as an intruder; but all 'thought him above neglect; the sale increased, and editions 'were multiplied.' Whatever may have induced the present Writer to maintain the incognito, we cordially wish that he may enjoy a similar gratification, far better deserved. We think that we should know the hand; but those lines of Pope occur to our recollection, which we have so often had reason to apply to conjectures of the kind:
And can I choose but smile,
When every coxcomb knows me by my style?'
The truth is, and we may as well avow it, that within the circle of our literary acquaintance, there are not many, perhaps but one layman', whom we should judge equal to the production of the work. Since, however, we cannot presume to decide, how many persons beyond the sphere of our knowledge, may combine all the requisites for the task, we shall not commit ourselves by disclosing our suspicions, but leave our readers to ascribe it to, perhaps, every man except him only who could write it.'
Art. II. The Chronicle of Geoffry de Villehardouin, Marshal of Champagne and Romania, concerning the Conquest of Constantinople, by the French and Venetians, Anno M.CC.IV. Translated by T. Smith. 8vo. pp. xxxii, 215. Price 10s. 6d. London, 1829.
WE E have but a slighting opinion of that man's taste, to whom the old chroniclers, with their delightful narrative, and their admirable simplicity, are not among the very highest sources of literary enjoyment. The richness and raciness of their details would suffice, independently of their value as primary authorities, to entitle them to universal acceptance; and it is one of the few favourable signs which are yet to be traced among prevailing symptoms of a deteriorating literature, that their claims to popularity have been acknowledged and con
firmed. It must be admitted, that some of the worthies in question, are more than sufficiently sterile in their modes of viewing and writing history; and of these, we are not, of course, now eulogizing the amusing qualities. Yet, concerning even these, we would suggest, that, amid much bald and unprofitable particularity, there is a redeeming mixture of inestimable illustra tion, too often overlooked or thrown aside by the gentry who are styled by courtesy, legitimate historians; a race of whom we have been getting heartily tired, ever since the time when we began to find it less troublesome to think for ourselves, than to take up opinions at second-hand.
At the head of the better order of Chroniclers, or, at least, of the more attractive of that class of writers, stands, facile princeps, the exquisite Froissart. Gallant and gay, of roving and expensive habits, delighting in the magnificence of courts, he was, withal, shrewd and observant; keen in the pursuit of intelligence, and skilful to set it forth in simple, yet attractive guise. He took a wide range, and included in his excursive story, scenes, personages, and events of highest interest and import. No rendering can adequately express the piquant and picturesque naïveté of his fine old Gaulish dialect; but he has, in this country, been characteristically translated by Lord Berners, and respectably by Johnes.
How Villehardouin might have written, if he had taken up a similar subject under similar circumstances, it is impossible to say; but it is also quite clear, that he would have conducted himself altogether in a different way, had he been cast on the world with his profession to choose, and his fortune to achieve. He was no dangler in the train of queens and nobles; no reader of romances and love-poems to patronizing princes; no presenter of gorgeously bound books to kings, in hope of countenance and largess. Of noble lineage and aspiring temper, a warrior and a statesman, brave yet prudent, his memoirs are precisely such as might have been expected from such a man. There is no nicety in the selection of phrases, no balancing of sentences, or trimming of paragraphs, but a straight-forward, soldierly, and clear-headed narrative. Villehardouin was no poet, but, what is infinitely better, a strong-minded man, an excellent officer, and a trustworthy councillor. When services of skill and hazard were to be performed, Villehardouin was in the van on the advance, in the rear on the retreat. When circumstances were critical, he was a sure adviser; and when a message of contumely and defiance was to be addressed to a powerful monarch on his very throne, in his chief city, and surrounded by his ferocious guards, the Marshal of Champagne and Romania was one of the adventurous six who bearded the Emperor of the Greeks in all the pride of his power, When
such a man as this writes history, we may fairly expect, that what he sets down must be worth reading; and, in the present instance, the expectation will not be disappointed. We have seldom met with a more gratifying volume than this which now lies before us, the able and animated translation of a highly interesting original, furnished with an extensive apparatus of learned and judicious annotations, and prefaced by a well written introduction, illustrative of the laws, language, manners, and institutions of Villehardouin's times. Before we proceed to analyse the work, we shall quote Mr. Smith's estimate of its general character. Having illustrated, both by explanation and example, the gradual alteration of the Latin language until it became, under two grand modifications of dialect, la langue Ro mane;-north of the Loire, the Romance Walloon, or the langue d'Oui; in the southern provinces, the Romance Provençal, or the langue d'Oc;-he proceeds to observe :
Villehardouin is the first writer who devoted the Romance tongue to the purposes of history. How he has performed this task, may be estimated from the fact, that his work has served as a text-book for modern historians; and that the chief incidents it commemorates, have been known to the world through the medium of their compilations. The general historian, however, who compiles his work from a diversity of authorities, can only seize the great features of history, and passes over the minute details which give an individuality to its actors. But Geoffry portrays the words and deeds of warriors, with whom he was in daily intercourse; names now obscure, but which then perhaps filled the world with their fame ;-he places before us the camp of the thirteenth century, and describes with the zeal of a soldier of the cross, the genuine feelings of himself and his brother pilgrims. The devotion which first prompted them to the enterprise-the sacrifices which it demanded—the strange incidents which diverted them from their original purpose-their hopes, disappointments, dissentions, glories, and misfortunes-are depicted in a rude idiom, but with the ardent simplicity of truth..
are points, however, beyond the mere interest of the narrative-lights which it incidentally sheds over the laws, the institutions, the state of society existing at the close of the twelfth century-which confer an extrinsic value on Villehardouin. The monkish annalists wrote in an unused language, and dimly shadowed out, in the obscurity of the cloister, events which were passing in the distant world. Villehardouin, whose life had been spent in courts and camps, describes in his native tongue, the daily business of feudal life, scenes where he was not only a witness, but a principal. He exhibits customs which now may appear ancouth or incredible; he abounds with proofs of the habitual and blind devotion of the age; and affords continual evidences of the deep root and wide extent of the feudal system, which had been matured by time, and was then flourishing in all its vigour.'
Villehardouin's Chronicle is confined to the description of a
single but important event, with its moving causes and its col-
the duke sent to the ambassadors, desiring they would humbly move