Слике страница
PDF
ePub

were translations made by himself
from ancient Erse manuscripts.
There was a long controversy as to
the genuineness of these poems,
which was finally settled by the
decision of the Highland Society,
in 1805, that they had not been able
to obtain any one poem the same
in title and tenor with the poems of
Ossian. Wordsworth says of them:
"Having had the good fortune to
be born and reared in a mountain-
ous country, from my very child-
hood I have felt the falsehood of
the volumes imposed upon the world
under the name of Ossian. From
what I saw with my own eyes I
knew that the imagery was spuri-
See an extract from Ossian,
OUNCE, a carnivorous quadruped, a
native of India.

ous."

p. 65.

PAGEANT (pǎj'- or pā'-).
PARCELED or PARCELLED.
PARENT (pare'rent).
PARLIAMENT (par'li-ment).
PARTHE-NON, the celebrated Gre-
cian temple of Minerva in ancient
Athens.

PARTHIAN. See p. 339.
PASCAL, BLASE, a native of Clermont,

in France, was born June 19, 1623.
As a boy he exhibited an astonish-
ing genius for mathematics; but his
intellect in other departments of
thought was equally colossal. Re-
nouncing the positive sciences for
theology, he wrote works which
show wonderful mental activity and
power. He died young, in 1662.
PATRIOT (pa'tri-ot or patʼri-ot).
PEEL, SIR ROBERT, an eminent Eng-
lish statesman, was born in Lan-
cashire, 1788. He studied at Oxford,
entered Parliament at twenty-one
years of age, became prime minister
in 1841, and died of a fall from a
horse, 1859.
PEGASUS, in Greek mythology, a
winged horse, regarded as the horse
of the Muses, and as having pro-
duced by a stroke of his hoof the
inspiring fountain Hippocrene.
PERCIVAL, JAMES GATES, an Ameri-

can poet, was born in Berlin, Conn.,
Sept. 15, 1795, and died at Haze
Green, Wisconsin, 1857. He grad-
uated at Yale College, in 1815, stud-
ied medicine, and in 1820 published
a volume of poetry. He was dis-
tinguished as a linguist; and in geog-
raphy, botany, and natural history
was an accomplished scholar. His

poetry, though exhibiting fine pow-
ers, was never a source of profit to
him. In 1854 he was appointed
State Geologist of Wisconsin. He
was a man of rather eccentric habits,
fond of seclusion, studious, and ir-
reproachable in all his dealings. See
p. 426.
PEREMPTORY (pěr'em-tor-e).
PETRARCH (pe'trark) or PETRARCA,
FRANCESCO, one of the greatest
Italian poets, was born in Tuscany,
1304, died 1374. Much of his poetry
consists of sonnets, to which he gave
an admirable polish of diction and
melody.

PHALANX (fal'angks or fă'-).
PHARAOH (fa'ro or fare'o).
PHILIPPIC. See Demosthenes.
PHILISTINE (fil-is'tin).
PHIL-O-ME'LA, in ancient Grecian
story, a king's daughter who was
metamorphosed into a nightingale.
PICTURE (pikt'yur).
PLACABLE (pla'- or plac'-).
PLA'TO, the great Greek philosopher,
was born at Athens, about 430 B.
C.; died in his 80th year. His is
still the greatest name in speculative
philosophy, as Shakespeare's is in
poetry. He taught the immortality
of the soul and the beauty of good-

ness.

PLOW or PLOUGH.

PLUTUS, in ancient mythology, the
personification of wealth. Jupiter
is said to have deprived him of
sight, that he might bestow his gifts
blindly, not favoring the deserving.
POE, EDGAR A., was born in Balti-
more, 1811. His parents belonged
to the theatrical profession, and he
was left an orphan at an early age.
He was adopted by John Allan, a
wealthy Virginian, and taken to
England; but in his 11th year he
returned and entered the University
at Charlottesville. Being expelled
from the college, and getting into a
quarrel with his benefactor, he went
abroad and passed a year in Europe.
At St. Petersburg he got into some
difficulty and sought relief from the
American minister, Mr. Middleton,
who provided for him the means of
returning home. Mr. Allan now got
for him an entrance as a cadet at
West Point, but Poe threw away
this like other opportunities, and
left before he had been in the place
a year. Being now thrown on his
own resources, he tried literature
and became editor of the Southern

Literary Messenger, published at Richmond. After some subsequent editorial experience in Philadelphia, he removed in 1844 to New York. Here he produced his principal poem of The Raven, which, though full of defects and affectations, has the charm of an original and musical versification. The same remark is applicable to his poem of The Bells; but the constant recurrence of the word bells with its sibilant consonant mars the imitative effect intended. See extracts from these poems, pp. 58, 67. Poe has given flashes, here and there, of a true poetical genius, brilliant, original, and weird. He died in Baltimore, 1849, in consequence of his irregular and intemperate habits of life. POPE, ALEXANDER, the son of a London merchant, was born 1688. His life as an author may date from his 16th year, when he wrote his " Pastorals." The principal of his poetical writings which followed are: "Essay on Criticism," published when he was twenty-one; "Essay on Man," a singularly successful effort to weave ethical philosophy into poetry; "Moral Essays"; "The Rape of the Lock," a mock heroic on the fraudulent abstraction of a ringlet of a lady's hair; "The Dunciad," which lashes with satire his literary enemies; with numerous miscellaneous and fugitive pieces. He also translated the "Iliad" and 'Odyssey' of Homer; of which Bentley, the great scholar, remarked, "It is a pretty poem, Mr. Pope; but you must not call it Homer." Pope was, if not the founder, the chief, of the artificial school of poetry, the influence of which terminated with the appearance of Cowper. Pope's descriptions of nature have a garden aspect, where everything is scrupulously elegant, regular, and beautiful. With the profits from his writings he bought a villa at Twickenham, on the Thames. Through all his life of fifty-six years, he was delicate and frail. The wonder is that soul and body kept together so long. His death took place 1744. See p. 356.

PORTAL (pore'tal).
POSSESS (poz-zes').
PRAED,

WINTHROP MACKWORTH, was born in 1802 in London. At an early age he was placed at Eton, where he became one of the editors

of "The Etonian," a college maga zine, sparkling with promise of future excellence. From Eton he went to Cambridge, and was regarded as the peer of Macaulay in respect to ability. He was for a short time in Parliament, but died in 1839. See p. 345. PRACTICE (vb.) or PRACTISE. PRAGUE (prag), the capital of Bohe

mia, is celebrated for its cathedral, an ancient edifice, rich in Gothic ornament.

PRAIRIE (pra're or prare're). PRECEDENT (pres'e-dent, n.; pre

sed'ent, adj.).

PRESCOTT, WM. HICKLING, born 1796 at Salem, Mass., attained a high rank among the historians of his century. Deprived by an accident of the free use of his eyes, he began a career of literary toil which resulted in the production of four great historical works, The Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, The Conquest of Mexico, The Conquest of Peru, and the History of Philip II., all of which have been remarkably successful. He died 1859. See 163. PRETENSE or PRETENCE. PRO'TEST or PROTEST, N.; PROTEST', vb. PROWESS (prou'es). PRUSSIA (prush'a or proosh'a). PURLIEU (pur'lu).

PUTNAM, GEORGE, REV. DR., born in Sterling, Mass., 1807, graduated at Harvard College, 1826. He studied divinity, and in 1830 was settled over the first church in Roxbury, near Boston. He is one of the most eloquent preachers of the age, exhibiting in his discourses fine literary skill, a generous, sympathetic nature, and an eclectic spirit that seeks for the good and the true wherever it may be found, however unpromising the place. PYRITES (pe-ri'teez or pir'i-teez). PYTHON (pi'thon), a Greek word meaning a dragon or serpent. The Pythian games were celebrated near Delphi in honor of Apollo, conqueror of the dragon Python. Hence the priestess of Apollo was called Pythia. The word Python is now often used as a personification of the false, mythical religion of the ancients.

the

QUARRELING or QUARRELLING.
QUALM (kwähm).
RADIANCE (ra'di-ans).

RACINE, JEAN (ră-seen' zhäng), the greatest among French tragic dramatists, was born in Picardy, 1639. The most important part of his education was received in the school of the Port-Royalists, whose earnest piety and severe morality received no discredit either from the writings or from the conduct of their pupil. He began his dramatic career in 1663, and his first two plays were unsuccessful; but his fine genius shone out with all its brightness in 1667, when his

66

Andromaque" (an'dro-mak) was played. For ten years more he continued to produce, almost annually, plays, constituting a series of masterpieces, and exhibiting so little inequality that critical opinions are still divided as to their comparative merit. Racine died in 1699. His last work was his sacred drama of "Nathalie," of which Voltaire said, that it comes nearer to perfection than any other literary work which ever issued from the hands of man. See a translation of a passage from this work, p. 168.

RAMPART (răm pärt).

RAPHAEL (răf'a-el) SANZIO, the most celebrated of painters, was born at Urbino, in Italy, 1483; died 1520. In 1508 he was invited to Rome by Pope Julius II., who employed him to paint the "School of Athens " in the Vatican. In performing this commission, he gave such satisfaction that the Pope ordered all the pictures, already painted in the various rooms, to be obliterated, and the walls prepared for the productions of Raphael alone, who, with difficulty, succeeded in saving from destruction a ceiling, painted by his old master Perugino. RAVINE (ră-veen'; but on p. 276, line 10, Coleridge puts the accent on the first syllable, thus: rav'veens).

antiquated abuses was passed by the House of Commons, March 1, 1831; by the House of Lords, June 4, 1832. See Macaulay's remarks, p. 158.

REAL (re'al, not reel). RECREANT (rec're-ant). REFORM BILL. Under the old parliamentary system in England, certain towns had an old right to send members to Parliament, irrespective of the number of voters in the place. The possession of certain ancient tenements conferred a right to vote. The reform bill which swept away this and many other

REQUI-EM (re'kwi-em or rek'wi-em). REVERIE or REVERY (rèv'er-re). REVOLT (re-vōlt or re-volt'). RIFT, to rive, to split. RISE (vb. rīze; n. rise, not rize; so Walker, Smart, Worcester, Webster, Goodrich). Walker, after alluding to the fact that the noun rise is sometimes pronounced with the s like z, remarks, "The pure s, however, is more agreeable to analogy, and ought to be scrupulously preserved by all correct speakers." RIVALED or RIVALLED. ROGERS,SAMUEL,a London banker and poet, was born in 1763, at Stoke Newington, a metropolitan suburb. His chief poems are "The Pleasures of Memory" (1792); "Columbus " (1812); "Human Life," (1819); and "Italy," of which the first part appeared in 1822. A graceful and gentle spirit fills the poetry of Rogers. His love for the beautiful in nature and in art led him to delight in "a setting sun, or lake among the mountains," and at the same time to fill his house in St. James Place with the finest pictures wealth could buy. The breakfasts he gave in this pleasant home used to draw some of the first men in London round his table. His "Italy" is the poem by which he is most favorably known to the literary world. Never weary of benevolence, especially to the literary struggler, this kindly and gifted man lived far into the present century, dying in 1855. See p. 269. ROTHSCHILD, MAYER ANSELM, founder of the banking-house by which the financial operations of Europe have been controlled since the commencement of the present century, was a native of Frankfort, Germany. He died 1812. His son, Nathan Mayer Rothschild, removed to England in 1800, and by the extent of his loan operations acquired immense influence. He died in 1836, and was succeeded by his eldest son, the present Baron Rothschild. The family is still celebrated for its enormous wealth. RUSSIA (roo'sha or rŭsh'a). SABRE or SABER.

SACRIFICE (vb. sak'ri-fīze; n. sak'ri,

fise or sak'ri-fize). Smart says that the principle of distinguishing "from each other nouns and verbs that are the same, or almost the same, in form," by giving "certain consonant letters a sharp, hissing sound in the noun, and a vocalized sound in the verb," has, in the verbs to suffice and to sacrifice, "been allowed to communicate a most irregular sound to the letter c. This, if not altered in the verb, certainly ought not to be adopted in the noun sacrifice."

SATRAP (sa'trap or satrap). SAVIOUR or SAVIOR. SAUNTER (sän'ter or sawn'ter). SCAFFOLD (skaf'ōld or skaf'ŭld). SCAR or SCAUR (skär), a detached protrusion of a rock; a bare, broken place on the side of a mountain. SCEPTRE or SCEPTER. SCIENCE (Latin, sciens, knowing, present participle of scio, I know), in its most comprehensive sense, knowledge, or certain knowledge. The knowledge of reasons and their conclusions constitutes abstract, that of causes and effects and of the laws of nature natural science. The science of God must be perfect; the science of man may be fallible. SCIMITAR or CIMETER. SCHILLER, FRIEDRICH (Shiller, Fred

rik), the celebrated German poet, was born in Wurtemberg, November 10, 1759, and died May 9, 1805. In his nineteenth year he began to write "The Robbers," an irregularly impressive monument of youthful fantasy, an exaggerated picture of human passion and error, drawn by one who, in his own words, had

66

presumed to delineate man two years before he had met one." His greatest dramatic work, the play of Wallenstein, admirably translated into English by Coleridge, was published in 1799. See an extract, p. 434. "The end of literature," says Thomas Carlyle, was not, in Schiller's judgment, to amuse the idie, or to recreate the busy, by showing spectacles for the imagination, or quaint paradoxes and epigrammatic disquisitions for the understanding; least of all was it to gratify in any shape the selfishness of its professors, to minister to their malignity, their love of money, or even their fame. As Schiller viewed it, genuine literature includes the essence of philosophy, religion, art;

whatever speaks to the immortal part of man. The boon she bestows is truth; truth not merely physical, but truth of moral feeling, truth of taste. The treasures of literature are thus celestial, imperishable, beyond all price. Genius, even in its faintest scintillations, is the inspired gift of God; a solemn mandate to its owner to go forth and labor in his sphere to keep alive among his brethren the sacred fire which the heavy and polluted atmosphere of this world is forever threatening to extinguish. Woe to him if he turn this gift into the servant of his evil or ignoble passions; if he offer it on the altar of vanity, if he sell it for a piece of money!"

SCIPIO (sip'e-o), the name of several illustrious citizens of ancient Rome. The most celebrated of the name, Scipio Africanus the elder, overcame the great Carthaginian general, Hannibal, in a decisive battle, fought B. C. 202.

[ocr errors]

SCOTT, WALTER, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Aug. 15, 1771, of respectable though not wealthy parents. Some of his earliest years were, on account of the delicacy of his health, arising from a malady that caused his lameness, passed with his paternal grandfather on a farm in Roxburghshire. Here he acquired that taste for border lore and chivalric tradition which w so strongly developed in after life. He entered the High School of Edinburgh in 1779, and passed to the University in 1783: he did not in either sphere display any shining ability; his Latin was little, and his Greek less. During these years, however, his health was precarious; and, besides, his favorite studies lay out of the province of schoolmasters and professors. Before his sixteenth year he had run through a vast circle of fiction and miscellaneous reading, which contributed to rear the splendid mass of materials from which he struck the rich coinages of his future poetry and novels.

For a short period, during which he attended the law lectures of the University, he was initiated in his father's office into the practice of the legal profession; and in 1792 he was admitted to practice as advocate. But in this profession he

was not calculated to rise; he says of it himself, in the language of Slender to Anne Page, "There was little love between us at first, and it pleased God to decrease it on better acquaintance." The affluence of his family secured him the means of indulging his favorite tastes; his studies were now incessant and various; he succeeded in acquiring a general, if not critical, knowledge of the modern languages.

His first serious efforts in composition were some translations from the German ballads of Burger. In 1797 he married Miss Charlotte Carpenter, a young French refugee of great beauty. In 1804 he established himself at a farm on the river Tweed, not far from the Yarrow, and became a literary man by profession. It was here that his first great poem, "The Lay of the Last Minstrel," was completed. Its publication, in 1805, attracted universal and enthusiastic admiration. This tale was but the first of a series of picturesque romances from his pen, couched in flowing verse of eight syllables, and colored with the brightest hues of Highland and knightly life.

In 1808" Marmion" appeared; in 1810, the "Lady of the Lake," illustrating the scenery and chivalry of the Highlands in the reign of James V.; these were followed by the "Vision of Don Roderic," "Rokeby," and in 1814, "The Lord of the Isles." But Scott had reached his culminating point in his poetry. Byron's reputation was fast paling every other fire. Scott now struck into a new vein. He began to penetrate that rich mine in prose fiction the treasures of which astonished the world. In 1814 he wrote "Waverley," and, for nearly fifteen years, continued anonymously in rapid succession the series of his novels. The secret of the authorship was faithfully kept, till commercial misfortune forced its surrender.

Scott's early wish to connect himself by proprietorship "to his mother-earthi," betrayed him into the purchase, piece by piece, of the bare territory that swelled into the estate of Abbotsford. His contemplated cottage expanded into a

romance in stone and lime," as his celebrated mansion has been termed;

and thither he removed in 1812. In 1820 he was created a baronet by the king. But Scott's wealth was illusory; his estate had cost him sums immensely above its worth; he became entangled in the responsibilities of the ill-conducted publishing house of Ballantyne & Co.; and the failure of Constable & Co. in 1826 completed his financial ruin. The poet's liabilities amounted to upward of £100,000.

After a life so splendidly laborious he found himself, at fifty-five years of age, without a foot of property he could call his own, and burdened with an enormous debt. But nothing could be more noble than the attitude in which his adversity exhibited him. He sat down in his old age, and in the midst of ruin and of family misfortune, to redeem his fair fame, and to right all whom his imprudence had unintentionally wronged. He would not listen to the offers of compromise generously made to him; he determined to pay his creditors the last farthing.

"Woodstock" was the first novel he wrote after his great misfortune; and its sale for £8,228-it was the work of only three months-gave strength to the hopes of the brave old man, that a few years would clear him from his gigantic debt. But his toil was killing him. Before he could reach the goal he sank in struggle. A paralytic attack in 1831 prostrated the faculties of his overwrought brain. In vain a voyage to Italy was tried for the restoration of his shattered constitution; returning with haste, that he might die beneath the shade of his own trees, and within hearing of his own Tweed, he expired in unconsciousness, Sept. 21, 1832. See the account of his last moments, p. 71.

The character of Scott's genius was more constructive than creative. The language of his poetry is sometimes careless and diffuse; though some of his minor poems and songs, his " Lochinvar," his "Coronach," &c., show that when he chose to give the proportionate labor and care, he could reach as near to perfection as any poet of the age. His chief work of actual history was a life of Napoleon. He was eminently a painter in words. The picturesque is his forte. But his brilliant

« ПретходнаНастави »