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O F T H E
Works of the Learned*
For July 1737.
An Examination of the Question,. Whether Æneas ever came to Italy, or not? With Remarks upon the Usefulness and Pleasure of Classic Learnings andsome Observations upon Virgil.
jfo the Author of The History of the Works of the Learned. By Charles Lamotte.
TH O' I am sensible the Design of your writing is to promote the most serious Learning, and the most useful Knowledge, and that the Intent of your ingenious Accounts of the Works of the Learned is to recommend such Books as may tend to the Advancement of Religion and Morality* I hope you will sometimes admit of Essays of a lighter Kind, and a less important Nature j such, I mean, as relate to
A Classic Classic Learning, and the Belles Lettres. I know the World is pretty much divided about the Nature and Usefulness of this Sort of Study; and that whilst some of its Admirers raise and extol it to the Skies, and prefer it to History, Mathematics s and Philosophy, others slight and despise it as much, condemn it as wholly useless and unprofitable, and look upon it as troublesome in Company, and bordering upon Pedantry and Impertinence. But 1 believe, Sir, that avoiding these two Extremes, if we examine the Matter in a fair and impartial Light, we shall find that this Kind of Learning, when applied in a proper Manner, may not only afford much Pleasure, but also be of great Use and Advantage to the Student. For a Proof of this, I dare appeal to those that have applied themselves to this Study betimes, whether it has not help'd to form, nourish and improve their Minds, and furnished them with such Notions, as have very much contributed to the Pleasure and Happiness of their Lives. Whether these Books have not been their most agreeable Companions in their Travels, to ease the Fatigues and Inconveniencies of themj their best Entertainment in a Country Retirement, where they have had the Pleasure to behold the charming Contrast between Nature and Art; to compare the beautiful Descriptions of the rural Scenes in the Poets with the delightful Pictures and Landscapes, which Nature in a fine Season portrayed and represented to their Eyes? and,
- - Nunc veterum in LibriS'
Whether these Books have not given them great Relief and Support under the Afflictions and Calamities they have met with in the Course of their Lives. This the great Roman Orator (who, you know, Sir, had his Share of Troubles both in publick and private Life) was so sensible of, that he declared that under these Pressures he ever fled for Relief and Refuge to his Books, which tho' they did not wholly cure, remove, and make him forget his Sorrows, at least help'd very much to sooth and alleviate them. Lastly, Whether these have not been the most pleasing Entertainment and innocent Amusement of their old Age, when all other Pleasures have left and forfaken them? Let any Man read Tully's excellent Treatise of old Age in this View, and deny this if he can. There he will hear old Cato declare, that in an 1 advanced Age he began to learn Greek, and to read the Greek Authors; which Study (faith he) he pursued with the fame Desire and Eagerness, as a Man that quenches the most craving Thirst j that he looked upon these politer1 Studies as the greatest Comfort and Delight of his old Age, and 3 preserr'd them to the most delicious Meals, to the finest Entertainments of the Stage, and to all the Pleasures and Enjoyments of Sense. I remember the great Thuanus relates in the Memoirs of his Lise, that being at Padua, he went to visit Signior Picolominiy a learned Prosessor in that University, and that he found that venerable Man sitting in his Bed at fourscore Years of Age, revising, correcting, and polishing some Remarks he had formerly made upon a Gra?Æ Author j which Employment, he faid, gave him unspeakable Delight at an Age when he had no Taste and Relish for other Pleasures and Enjoyments of Lise. From whence young Men shou'd learn to apply themselves to that Study betimes, and lay in such Store and Provision of this useful Learning, as will so much conduce to the Pleasure of their Lives, and afford them such pleasing Entertainment, such Relief and Comfort in their old Age. The truth is, these politer Studies help very much 'to fan and keep alive the Flame that then begins to fail, to
A 1 " rub
1 Literas senex didici quas quidem fie avide arripui, quasi diuturnam sitim explere cupiens, ut ea ipfa mihi nota eslent, quibus me nunc Exemplis uti videtis. Cicero de SeneQ. Edit. Grœv. p. 406.
1 Quid jucundius Senectute stipata studiis Juventutis? Ib. 408.
3 Quæ sunt igitur Epularum, aut Ludorum, aut Scortorum voluptates cum his voluptatibus comparandæ. Ib. p. 425.
rub off the Rust, and to sweeten the Sourness and Moroscness of old Age 5 give it something of the Life and Gaiety of Youth, and make good the Observation, That as nothing is more agreeable in a voting Man than a little of the Seriousness and Gravity of Age, so nothing is more lovely and amiable in an old one than somewhat of the Spirit and Vivacity of Youth. For these Reasons, I hope, Sir, you will not refuse now and then to admit and insert in your Journals some lighter Essays, some Fruits of leisure Hours and Unbendings of the Thoughts from graver and severer Studies.
Ianiy Sir, 8cc.
To the Reverend, Sec. Sec. &c.
TT is the Observation of the Roman Historian, that most Nations have been apt to mingle Truth and Falstiood in their Histories, to set off their Originals, and illustrate their Pedigrees. Whether this might proceed from a certain Pride and Vanity to exceed their Neighbours in point of Antiquity, or was ac first set up and encourag'd by politick Princes and Governors to animate their People to great and generous Actions, and to engage them to tread in the Seeps, and imitate the Virtues of their supposed Ancestors, I will not here make it my Business to enquire. But of all the ancient Nations, there is not one for which the Moderns have shewn more Partiality, and been more willing to derive their Originals from, than the Trojans. This may seem wonderful enough, since if we compare them with the Greeks, we shall find them in all respects very much inferior to their Enemies. 'Tts certain the Trojans had the worse both in the Cause and the Success of that long, tedious, and bloody War. They had been the first Aggressors, had taken the Part of a Prince, who had been guilty of the greatest Piece of Injustice, and drawn their Swords in a most unwarrantable