9 JULY 1836, Page 17


THIS is a very able and scholar-like production, the result of exten- sive learning, quick observation, sound sense, aid critical sagacity. The attraction of much of the matter is, of course, limited to the

classic, whose studies have excited a curiosity regarding the anti- quarian points Mr. WORDSWORTH discusses or elucidates; but several of the parts have an interest as extended as literature. The author does not merely trace walls, copy inscriptions, fix, or attempt to fix, the site of buildings, or strive to discover doubtful localities : he animates the present by peopling it with pictures of the past ; he imparts something of a living interest to the past by showing its uses at the time, and by making it give us a fuller perception of the nature and fitness of many of the allusions of the poets, the exclamations of the orators, or the facts of history. Thus, Mr. WORDSWORTH not only describes the plain of Marathon, but he describes it with a view to show how far the nature of the ground favoured the; scanty numbers of the Greeks. He notes, from several sources, that the time of the fight was evening; but not merely as a barren fact. "Tile sun," he goes on to observe, "would then have streamed in full dazzling radiance, so remark- able in the sunsets of Greece, on the faces of their adversaries; and against it the conical tiara of the Persians would have offered little protection." He examines the theatre, not only to tell of its size and site, but to point out how its roofless construction and the natural scenery visible from the seats gave effective scenic accessories to the dramatic poets, and justified the boldness of their imaginations, or reflected back, as it were, their descrip- tions. He wanders to the Pnyx; but he has higher objects in view than an account of its construction and its length and breadth, although these things are not forgotten. He endeavours from its survey to show the natural advantages it s ielded to the orator, in the illustrations it spontaneously furnished him whether of imagery or of exhortation. He rambles along the country, and recalls the time when the now deserted road was crowded with classical tiavellers or processions. He visits a natural and sacred grot ; and whilst learning points out the uses of the unchanged objects, fancy pictures the Attic shepherd returning with his offerings to Pan. Every natural object, in short, recalls to Mr. WORDSWORTH'S mind some poetical or historical fact. Even the climates of Corinth and Attica suggest the summer and winter residences of Diogenes ; and our author, by a description of the respective characters of each, vindicates the taste of the banished tyrant. Neither are modern appearances altogether neglected. The city as it then was, as well as the landscapes and the figures he met in his excursions through the Athenian territory, are thrown into the pages of Athens and Attica. The style of Mr. WORDSWORTH is polished and terse, or ratha short. He has given his composition somewhat of force and peculiarity by speaking in the first person ; and his manner is spirited if not animated. However, let the reader judge. The following is a part of Mr. WORDSWORTH's account of the Puyx. The preceding passages have described its outwards forms. This WM the place provided for the public assemblies at Athens in its most glorious times; and nearly such as it was then is it now. The Athenian orator spoke from a block of base stone; his audience sat before him on a blank and open field.

In this spot it is impossible to resist the impulse of reflections arising from the place itself, upon some of the distinguishing characteristics supplied to Athenian oratory by the very locality in which it was exerted. Th. Pnyx, hem its position and its openness, supplied the orator who srhe there with sources of eloquence influencing himself, and objects of appeal acting on his audience, which no other place of a similar object, not even the Roman Forum ittelf, has ever paralleled in number or interest.

First of all, the Athenian orator, standing on the Berne of the Pnvx had the 'sutural elements at his service. There was the sky of Attica above' his head, the soil of Attica beneath his feet, and above all, the sea of Attica visible be- hind him. Appeals to the Ruling Powers of these elements, in other places vague and unmeaning, here were generally just, and sometimes necessary. Here, without any unnatural constraint, he could fetch the deities from those elements, and place them as it were on this platform before him. They would appear to answer his call, net like stage-deities, let.down ex machimi, but as stepping spontaneously from those visible elements in which they were believed to dwell. I here must, therefore, have been something inexpressibly solemn in the ejacu- lation ti r,xed esei! (0 Earth and Gods! ) uttered in his most sublime periods by Demosthenes in this place.

Nor was it merely that the sea and the sky, the vales and mountains of his native land, by which he was immediately surrounded, gave nerve and energy to the eloquence of the speaker here, which no other excitement could so well supply,—so that we seem still to inhale the air of Attica from the pages of Demosthenes; he had not merely the natural elements in his favour, but he had also those historical objects, boar of nature and art, immediately around him,

by which the imagination of his audience was most forcibly excited, and in which their affections were most deeply interested. Visible behind him, at no great distance, was the scene of Athenian glory, the is'and of Salamis. Nearer, was the Peiraeus, with its arsenals lining the shores and its fleets floating upon its bosom, before hint was the crowded city itself. In the city, immediately below him, was the circle of the Agora, planted with, plane-trees, adorned with statues of marble, bronze, and gilded, with painted. porticoes and stately edifices, monuments of Athenian gratitude and glory: a. little beyond it, WU the Areopagus; and, above all, towering to his right, rose the Acropolis itself, faced with its Propylwa as a frontlet, and surmounted with the Parthenon as a crown. Therefore, the Athenian orator was enabled to speak with a power and almost an exultation which the presence of such objects alone could give either to himself or his hearers. • Thence he could thus extol the gene' ous sacrifices made by his and their common state, as being the effi- cient CaUSeS ammo:a vetplevro•Til Mg/MS Ft T(7/1. ChtlefljUti Ted W:4 i X ;000 C4&I'fl/E)761P er0 %Caleb neeert;Xais line0 I ee'dy, m-aatl, NSZOOSICOI whence there still survive to her, ererhistiny possessions ; on the one hand, the memory of her eaploits, on the other, the splendour If the monuments consecrated in their days—that. Propyhea, there the Parthenon, porticoes, and Docks. These objects were all present before their eyes to witness the truth of this appeal. It is evident from the productions of eloquence of which this passage is a specimen, and from thexonsiderations above suggested, that much of the pecu- liar spirit which distinguishes Athenian oratory is to be ascribed not merely to the character of the speaker, and the physical quickness of his audience, but also, if we may so say, to the natural scenery ot that theatre on which that eloquence was displayed. What was said of their warriors in the field, might therefore be repeated of their statesmen in the Assembly—that they were sup- plied by a local power with peculiar resources which rendered them matchless.

A map of Attica and another of Athens, with several illustra- tive drawings from the pencil of Mr. COCKERELL, the well- known architect, accompany this volume. And as the tour of Mr. WORDSWORTH took place in 1832-1833, when Athens was a heap of ruins and Attica infested by robbers, he has published in an appendix a letter from his friend Mr. C. H. BRACEBRIDGE, of the date of April 1836, which gives a lively account of the an- tiquarian researches and the modern speculations going on at Athens; and throws out some hints for advantageous emigration. to young Englishmen, who have a capital of 15001. to 20001., a love of land management, and a disposition to learn Greek.