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As a general knowledge of ancient mythology is indispensable to a clear understanding, not only of the ancient poets and historians, but, also, of the best modern poets, the duty of enlightening youth in this important department of classical literature cannot be too strongly inculcated.
The object of the author of this treatise, is to adapt a compendium of Heathen Mythology to the juvenile capacity; especially to free this subject from those licentious and indelicate stories, with which it has so long been encumbered and defaced, and which are totally unfit for the eye of youth. The work also brings down the study of Mythology to the more common purposes of education.
As an object of faith, the countless throng of the heathen gods, when compared with the God of Christians, appears fantastical and preposterous; but the elegant and agreeable fictions which Mythology furnishes, are admirably suited to the purposes of poetry, statuary, and painting.
The elegant, the beautiful, the graceful, the lovely, the amorous, the novel, the romantic, the marvellous, the fairy, the fantastical, the sublime-these are the feasts in which imagination revels; the beauties and the terrors of creation;—to survey forests, precipices, caves, groves, valleys, mountains, rivers, winds, fields, and hospitable habitations—the happiness of the domestic scene--the alternate smiles and frowns of nature—the immense power of human industry—the wrestling of worth with poverty, of good with evil, of virtue with vice, of piety with persecution, of patriotism with usurpation;—these, and countless images like these—affecting, melancholy, serious, gay, ingenious, interesting, new—are the subjects for which she seeks with restless assiduity. How many times, waking to the roar of divine wrath, while stupid and lustful indolence snores on in happy forgetfulness, does she scale the giddy wall of the celestial courthouse, and picture the judgment:—now she follows the blasphemous in a wide path over the edge of the infernal precipices, where she beholds a thousandfanged serpent come up and gnaw their guilty hearts; and, at last dropped by that serpent, she sees them trembling headlong from redhot rock to redhot rock into the fire-waying abyss, the victim of a trillion-fold death.
Observation and reason afford ample testimony to the importance of being familiarly acquainted with the productions of Homer, Herodotus, Virgil, Horace, and so on, which are held out as models of fine writing, To improve the taste, the mind ought to be prepared by a perusal of the fictions of Greece and Rome. These contain many allegorical and mystical things, the true sense of which, though not suited to vulgar apprehension, the refined and liberal may explain.
In cases where evident morals are inculcated by Fables, observations have been given; while poetical extracts have been selected, which cannot fail to show
how Mythology is mingled with poetry: and thus I
When the student has acquainted himself with the
tionary, edited by Charles Anthon, Esq., or by Messrs.
By way of translation from the French, the author
The engravings introduced, will, it is anticipat-
At the suggestion of an experienced teacher, the
. . . . . .
Venus, Cupid, Adonis
37 Pygmalion, Atalanta . .
· · · · 45 pho) River Selemus ·
49 The Graces. · · · 93
PART II.-MARINE DEITIES . . 103
. . . . 110 Æolusi . . . 116
PART III.-TERRESTRIAL DEITIES 118
. 123 The Penates and Lares. 133
PART IV.-INFERNAL DEITIES . . 137
. . . 150 The Danaides (fifty sisters) 159
152 The Centaurs, Geryon, ihe
Harpies, the Gorgons, the
. 153 Chimæra, the Sphinx. 163