Слике страница

London, 1663, 4to.” The opinion which Dr Charleton had form. ed concerning the origin of this stupendous monument is strengthened by the information which he received from the famous northern antiquary, Olaus Wormius. But it is nevertheless hypothetical, and inconsistent with evidence; for Stonehenge is expressly mentioned by Nennius, who wrote two hundred years before the arrival of the Danes in Britain. If it be true, which is alleged by some writers, that it was anciently called Stan-Hengist, or, indeed, whether that be true or no, the monument seems likely to have been a Saxon erection, during their days of paganism; for it is neither mentioned by Cæsar nor Tacitus, who were both likely to have noticed a structure of so remarkable an appearance. Leaving the book to return to the author, I am sorry to add, that this learned man, after being President of the College of Physicians, and thus having attained the highest honours of his profession, in 1691 fell into embarrassed circumstances, which forced him shortly after to take refuge in the island of Jersey. It is uncertain if Dr Charleton ever returned from this sort of exile; but his death took place in 1707, at the advanced age of eighty-eight years.

Dr Charleton's hypothesis concerning Stonehenge was but indifferently received. It was considered as a personal attack on Inigo Jones, who had formed a much more fantastic opinion upon

a the subject, conceiving the stones to form a temple, dedicated, by the Romans, to the god Cælus, or Cælum. To the disgrace of that great architect's accuracy, it seems probable that he never had seen the monument which he attempts to describe ; for he has converted an irregular polygon into a regular hexagon, in order to suit his own system. Dryden sided with Charleton in his theory ; and, in the following elegant epistle, compliments him as having discovered the long-forgotten cause of this strange monument. The verses are not only valuable for the poetry and numbers, but for the accurate and interesting account which they present of the learning and philosophers of the age. It was probably written soon before the publication of Charleton's book, in 1663. Sir Robert Howard also favoured Dr Charleton with a copy of recommendatory verses. Both poems are prefixed to the second edition of the “ Chorea Gigantum,” which is the only one I have seen. That of Dryden seems to have been afterwards revised and corrected. EPISTLE THE THIRD.

The longest tyranny that ever sway'd,
Was that wherein our ancestors betray'd
Their free-born reason to the Stagyrite,
And made his torch their universal light.
So truth, while only one supplied the state,
Grew scarce, and dear, and yet sophisticate.
Still it was* bought, like emp’ric wares, or charms,
Hard words seald up with Aristotle's arms.
Columbus was the first that shook his throne,
And found a temperate in a torrid zone:
The feverish air, fann'd by a cooling breeze;
The fruitful vales, set round with shady trees ;
And guiltless men, who danced away their time,
Fresh as their groves, and happy as their clime.
Had we still paid that homage to a name,
Which only God and nature justly claim,
The western seas had been our utmost bound,
Where poets still might dream the sun was drownd;
And all the stars, that shine in southern skies,
Had been admired by none but savage eyes.

* The copy prefixed to the “ Chorea Gigantum” reads, Until 'twas.

Among the assertors of free reason's claim,
Our nation's not* the least in worth or fame.
The world to Bacont does not only owe
Its present knowledge, but its future too.
Gilbert [ shall live, till loadstones cease to draw,
Or British fleets the boundless ocean awe.
And noble Boyle,g not less in nature seen,

Than his great brother, read in states and men.
Thecircling streams, once thought but pools,of blood,
(Whether life's fuel, or the body's food,)
From dark oblivion Harvey's|| name shall save;
While Ent keeps all the honour that he gave.

* First edition, The English are not.
+ Bacon, Lord Verulam, a name beyond panegyric.

| William Gilbert, M. D. chief physician to Queen Elizabeth and King James I. He published a treatise, “ De Magnete, mag. netecisque corporibus, el de magno magnete Tellure Physiologia Nova. London, 1600, folio." This treatise on the magnet is termed by the great Bacon "a painful and experimental work." Gilbert also invented two instruments for the use of seamen in cala culating the latitude, without the aid of the heavenly bodies. He died A. D. 1603.

$ The Hon. Robert Boyle, who so laudably distinguished his name by his experimental researches, was a son of the great Earl of Corke. He was about this time actively engaged in the formation of the Royal Society, of which he may be considered as one of the principal founders. This necessarily placed his merits under Dryden's eye, who was himself an original member of that learned body. His great brother was Roger Lord Broghill, created upon the Restoration Earl of Orrery, to whom Dryden dedicated the “ Rival Ladies." See Vol. II.


113. | William Harvey, the famous discoverer of the circulation of the blood. His Exercitatio Anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis, was printed at Frankfort, 1627. He adhered to his master Charles I. during the Civil Wars; and when his affairs became desperate, retired to privacy in London. His last treatise, entitled, Exercitatio de generatione Animalium, was published in 1651, at the request of Dr George Ent, a learned physician, mentioned by Dryden in the next line. This gentleman, in a dedication to the President and College of Physicians, gives a detailed account of the difficulty which he had in prevailing on the aged and retired philosopher to

Nor are you, learned friend, the least renown'd;
Whose fame, notcircumscribed with English ground,
Flies like the nimble journies of the light,
And is, like that, unspent too in its flight.
Whatever truths have been, by art or chance,
Redeem'd from error, or from ignorance,
Thin in their authors, like rich veins of ore,
Your works unite, and still discover more.
Such is the healing virtue of your pen,
To perfect cures on books, as well as men.
Nor is this work the least; you well may give
To men new vigour, who make stones to live.
Through you, the Danes, their short dominion lost,
A longer conquest than the Saxons boast.
Stonehenge, once thought a temple, you have found
A throne, where kings, our earthly gods, were

Where by their wondering subjects they were seen,
Joy'd* with their stature, and their princely mien.
Our sovereign here above the rest might stand,
And here he chose again to rule the land.
These ruins shelter'd once his sacred head,
When he from Worster's fatal battle fled ;
Watch'd by the genius of this royal place,
And mighty visions of the Danish race.
His refuge then was for a temple shown;
But, he restored, 'tis now become a throne.fi

give his work to the press, which he only consented to do on Dr Ent's undertaking the task of editor. Harvey died in June 1667.

Ent himself was a physician of eminence, and received the ho. nour of knighthood from Charles II. He defended Dr Harvey's theory of circulation against Parisanus, in a treatise, entitled, Apologia pro circulatione sanguinis contra Æmilianum Parisanum. , He was an active member of the Royal Society, and died, according to Wood, 13th October, 1669

• First edit. Chose by.

+ This conceit, turning on the ancient and modern hypothesis, is founded on the following curious passage in Dr Charleton's dedication of the “ Chorea Gigantum” to Charles II. “ Your majesty's curiosity to survey the subject of this discourse, the so much admired antiquity of Stone. Henge, hath sometime been so great and urgent, as to find room in your royal breast, amidst your weightiest cares; and to carry you many miles out of your way towards safety, when any heart, but your fearless and invincible one, would have been wholly filled with apprehensions of danger. For as I have had the honour to hear from that oracle of truth and wisdom, your majesty's own mouth, you were pleased to visit that monument, and for many hours together entertain yourself with the delightful view thereof; when after the defeat of your loyal army at Worcester, Almighty God, in infinite mercy to your three kingdoms, miraculously delivered you out of the bloody jaws of those monsters of sin and cruelty, who, taking counsel only from the heinousness of their crimes, sought impunity in the highest aggravation of them; desperately hoping to secure rebellion by regicide, and by destroying their sovereign, to continue their tyranny over their fellow.subjects."

[blocks in formation]
« ПретходнаНастави »