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• When I see,' says M. de Luc, the astronomer in bis obfer. vatory attempting to meature the distance of the stars, by comparing them with the minute, and almost imperceptible divifions of his instruments ; viewing them, at the same time, through a medium that variously refracts the rays of light:When I see the geographer determining the position of places on the earth's surface, merely by that of his telescope fixed to the limb of his quadrant, and by a pendulum ;-I do not hesitate to offer the small scales of the barometer and thermometer, as fit measures of accesible heights. But at the same time, I appeal to the geographer and astronomer, whether they have perfected their respective arts at once; and whether the exactness of the mathematician would have been of much service to them, had not his labours been seconded by those of the artist and the observer.'.
ART. X. Explication de quelques Medailles, &c.-An Explanation of certain
Greek and Phenician Medals. By M. L. Dutens. Quarto. London. Thane. 1773.
ART. XI. Explication, &c.-An Explanation of some Phenician Medals, in the
Cabinet of M. Duane. By M. L. Datens. Quarto. London. Thane. 1774.
T and have as often taken occafion, to treat certain clabo
rate and folemn discussions of matters relating to antiquity, with an air of levity, seemingly ill suited to the gravity of the subject; yet we are very ready to declare that we refpe& every slip and corner of the extensive fields of science and literature too highly, to involve all those, whose lot or choice it may be to cultivate even the most barren spots of either, in one indilcriminate censure. When the investigation of antient coins, or other monuments of antiquity, tends to the discovery of new facts that have the least claim to significance ;-when it leads to the elucidation of an obscure or contraverted point of hiftory ;-when it points out the progress, ftare, and declenfion of the arts among a people ;-in short, whenever it gratifies a laudable curiofity, or contributes in any degree to the ad-vancement of any branch of useful, or even ornamental knowledge ;-it is in no danger of incurring our animadversion or ridicule: provided nevertheless, that such ridicule is not extorted from us, by circumstances of a risible quality, the operátion of which it is impossible for all the phlegm even of a reviewer to refift.
M, Dutens, our readers may recollect, is the Author of an ingenious work, in which he endeavoured to support the priority and preeminence of the antients in science, and which was particularly noticed in a former volume of our review *, The medals of which he here treats, constitute part of a collection made by him in different parts of Europe, and, excepting two or three, have never yet been published. The first of these performances contains the figures and explanations of near thirty Greek and Phenician medals; fome of which, particularly a few of the firft class, are fingularly beautiful. Among these there are some that evince, not only that the Sicilian artifts excelled all others in the delicacy and elegance of their workmanship,-which is a point generally acknowledged ;--but likewise, as the Author observes, that the arts flourished in the highest degree in Sicily, near 200 years before they arrived at perfection in Greece.
In proof of chis observation, it here appears that there are medals of Gelon, who reigned at Syracuse about 500 years be. fore J. C. that are superior, both with respect to taste and execution, to those which the Greeks produced above 150 years afterwards, even in the cities where the arts were most highly cultivated. Fifty or fixty years before the time of Gelon, the arts in Greece, M. Dutens remarks, were in a state of downright barbarism. Pliny, as he elsewhere observes, names two sculptors at Crete, in the year 560, before our æra, who were the first that worked on marble; their predecessors having hitherto exercised their art only upon wood. From this circumstance, a fair inference may be drawn with respect to the art of engraving; as these two arts are congenial, and have constantly kept pace with each other.
On the subject of his attempts to explain the Phenician medals in this collection, the Author previously observes, that a constant application during twenty years to the study of the Hebrew language, had induced him to hope that he might conquer some of the difficulties attending the elucidation of these coins. On his first entrance on this part of the medallic science, he was surprised to find rather conjectures than rules, more doubts than certainties, more of empiricism than of science.' By what other title, he adds, can we more properly characterise the writing of poems in a language t, if we 'may give it that name, with the very alphabet of which we are unacquainted ?
It is indeed ludicrous to reflect, with the Author, on the disputes carried on concerning the sense of certain passages, which are said not to be conformable to the genius of the
* See Appendix to our 3;th Volume, 1766, page 544.
+ M. Dutens alludes to certain Phenician poems, manufactured at Oxford. See Pietas Universitatis, and the Carmen Phenicium, in the Epithalamia Oxonienfia, printed in 1761.
Phenician language:'--for, it seems, those who are the beft judges of this matter know very well that, instead of underItanding all the finesses of the Phenician tongue, we scarce know fifty words belonging to it, a few proper names excepted. The learned, M. Dutens observes, are not agreed even as to the power of some of the Punic letters ; and supposing that difficulty got over, and that they have reduced them to the titles of the correspondent Hebrew characters; they have no other method of interpreting the words in this language, than by giving them the signification which they bear in the Hebrew and Samaritan tongues. The Carmen Phenicium above referred to, confirm this observation: and yet we see some of your more superb Punic antiquarians, who are themselves wandering in this dark labyrinth, stalking along with as much stateliness, and di. varication of the legs; and insulting their fellow-wanderers with as much confidence, as if they alone had a clue to direct their strides through it!
To enable future adventurers to grope their way with more security through these intricate pasles, M. Dutens has given a plate containing the various forms of the Phenician, Punic, and Siculo-Punic characters that occur on coins, together with the titles of the corresponding elements in the Hebrew tongue, The Punic alphabets which the Abbé Barthelemy has published, have not been intirely acquiesced in by Mr. Swinton ; who, on the other hand, has published others, which, in their turn, have not been universally adopted : nor does even his own alphabet, as we are here told, which he published in 1764, agree with that which he gave in 1750. This of M. Duten's has the meșit of being formed on more certain principles; as no characters are admitted into it, the powers of which have not been generally or universally acknowledged in the explication of legends, and acquiesced in by all parties. So far as it goes there, fore it inay be absolutely confided in,
The second of these performances contains 22 Phenician medals, in the collection of M. Duane ; the subjects and Jegends of which the Author endeavours to explain in a cons cife and unaffected manner. His explications and conjectures will, we apprehend, be acceptable to those who choose to amuse themselves in this harmless, and occasionally instructive branch of antient erudition,
AR T. XII. Quatrieme Lettre a Monsieur de Voltaire, par M. Clement. M. Cle
ments's fourth Letter to Voltaire, Ocavo. Paris. 1773. N our last Appendix we gave an account of M. Clement's
our readers that the fourth is not inferior to ar.; of the preceding. It is written with great spirit, and in aery entertaining manner. The Author Anews himself to be a man of goud taste, and an excellent critic, though sometimes, perhaps, a little too severe. The fondest admirers of Voltaire, however, if they have any pretensions to candor, and are not strangely prejudiced indeed, must allow that most of Mons. Clement's criticisms in the letter now before us are extremely juft and pertinent.
What he proposes, is to vindicate the literary characters of Fontaine and Boileau, and to examine what Voltaire has said of them in his Siecle de Louis XIV. and his other writings. He begins with Fontaine, of whom Voltaire, after speaking of Corneille, Bofiuet, Moliere, &c. says, (Siecle de Louis XIV. Chapitre des Beaux Arts) qu'il se mit presqu' à coté de ces hommes subtimes. He afterwards affirms that Quinauit delerves to be ranked with his illuftrious cotemporaries, so that poor Fontaine is thrust down to a lower rank than Quinault,-ce qui eft, peutêtre, says our Author very juftly, be jugement le plus bontexx pour un
borime de gout.
Voltaire in his catalogue of Authors in the age of Lewis the XIV. tells us, that Fontaine is often negligent, and unequal; that his works are replete with grammatical errors; that he has even frequently corrupted the French language, that he finks too often into the familiar, the low, the trivial, &c. and he endeavours to support these affertions by examples.
M. Clement examines the several parts of this charge at full length, and vindicates Fontaine in a very ingenious, and to us, a very fatisfactory manner. He thews that Fontaine, instead of corrupring the French language, bas enriched it with a great variety of bold and nervous expressions, and he produces many beautiful and Griking passages from his works in support of what he advances.
As to the familiar, the low, the trivial, &c. which are charged upon Fontaine, our Author gives us much stronger examples of them in Voltaire's own writings, than any that are to be found in Fontaine's. These examples too are taken not from the productions of Voltaire's dotage, but from those of his better days, and chiefy from his epistles to the king of Pruflia, in one of which we bave the following lines :
Conservez, ô mon Dieu ! l'aimable Frederic,
ne vous vaut selon mion preneslic.
Arrondi vos Etats, ainsi que votre gloire, &c. In another epistle to the king of Prussia, we have the follow
ing lines :
En Hibou, fort sauvent renfermé tout le jour,
Vous percez d'un wil d'Aigle, &c. En hibou percer d'un ail d'Aigle, what will you call that, says our Author ? I leave you to your own reflections upon it.
In regard to Boileau, there is none of the French poets, who did honour to the age of Lewis XIV. of whom Voltaire speaks so differently in the different parts of his writings. Sometimes he commends him highly, but much more frequently censures and criticizes bim ;. in consequence of which, it is a common practice among Voltaire's disciples to insult the memory of Boileau.
Our Author does not collect the several passages in Voltaire's writings, wherein he attacks the reputation of Boileau, but confines himself to his epiftle to that great poet. It begins in the following manner :
BOILEAU, correct Auteur de quelques bons écrits,
Dont Corneille, en bronchant, fut.ourrir la carrière. M. Clement places the whole of this epistle before his readers, and then enters into a full and distinct examination of it. Hear part of what he says:
BOILEAU, correct Auteur de quelques bons écrits. Could lefs have been said of a grammarian, who had been the Author of fome good work, correctly written? Is corredness then Boileau's principal merit? Is not Boileau one of our greatest peers, for the beauty and truth of imagery, the energy and elegance of expression, the choice of, epithets, the variety of style, and the harmony of numbers? Is not be the greatest master in that very difficult art of bestowing the graces of poetry upon little things? The Author of the Lutrin, and the Art of Poetry is a.correct Author of fome good writings! Your