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J. G. Barnard, Printer, Skinner-Street.
Art. 1.-AILXTAOT TIPOMHOETE AEEMSTHE. Æs.
chyli Prometheus Vinctus, ad fidem Manuscriptorum emendavit, notas et glossárium adjecit Carolus Jacobus Blomfield, A. B. Collegii SS Trinitatis apud Cantabrigi, enses Socius. Cantabrigia. Typis ac Sumptibus Academicis MDCCCX. 8vo. · ini.'. · THE readers of Æschylus have a fourfold obligation to the scholars of the present day. We may be permitted to include Porson, whose relics are not yet edited, in the quartette. * To Person, then, they are primarily indebted for the earliest appearance of the text of Æschylys printed with any tolerable purity. It is indeed well known and sincerely deplored, that the two volumes which stand on our shelves lettered ÆSCHYLUS PORSONI, are little less than an unblushing counterfeit and imposture. The disagreement which deprived the Glasgow printers of the assistance of the intended editor, is universally regretted : still, hows ever, enough remains of the Porsonian hand even in these volumes, and more will accrue from scattered fragments of criticism in his relics, to equal, if not to surpass, all the body of unmeaning comment on Æschylus which preceded his chance conjecture or more mature research.
Dr. Burney has, in the second place, applied the aceumulated labour of many years to the elucidation of the choric metres of the earliest dramatic bard. Difficulties, apparently insurmountable, have impeded, but not checked bis zeal. To a thorough knowledge of his subject, collected from long experience and a minute acquaintance
Crit. Rev. Vol. 1, January, 1812.
with all topics on metre from the days of the metrical scholiasts to those of Herman ; he has added a diligence, a precision, a distrust of conjecture, which are attempted by few, and equalled by none. The metaphysical heaviness of Herman, and the pert intrusions of the editor of the Troades, are equally avoided by Dr. Burney's good sense. But alas! the corruptions of ages cannot be altogether purified by the assiduity of the most elaborate study. Stubborn and insulated lines, notwithstanding every amputation, will still refuse to be regularly arranged, and the liberal system of modern scanning, by which Demosthenes himself may almost be drilled into a poet, will occasionally fail in the more prosaic anomalies of Greek tragædians. As enthusiastic admirers of Greek tragedy, we sincerely thank Dr. Burney for what has been done: we applaud him for having adopted a much more rational and systematic plan of antispasts than has been arranged before, and boldly declare, that unless the Tentamen de metris is diligently perused and thoroughly digested, no scholar can be said to be a perfect master of Æschylus. · But of his labours, and those of Dr. Butler, whom we' no.w only cursorily mention, we shall seize on an early opportunity of entering into a full discussion. Dr. Butler, the learned head-master of Shrewsbury school, has undertaken, under certain most discouraging circumstances, for which the University of Cambridge must take the full blame, a new edition of Æschylus, which has already placed four plays before us, with a corrupt text, occasioned by the restrictions which bound him, but enriched with a commentary of the most abundant and diversified matter. It grieves us here to enter (and we shall only do so for a moment), into a literary controversy, which has been embittered by too much of the odium criticum. It was our original intention to have published separate critiques both on this dispute and on that of still greater magnitude and more caustic acrimony, between Mr. Copplestone and the Edinburgh reviewers, on the Oxford Strabo. But time has passed by: the mutual wounds of satire are cicatrized, and we feel unwilling to add to the triumph or defeat of those who should unite against the unwieldy grenadier writers of Germany, instead of wasting their strength in civil broils. It remains, therefore, for us merely to state, legt we should have to condemn ourselves for an hiatus of information to the public, that Mr. Blomfield having reviewed Dr. Butler's first volume of Æschylus rather sarcastically in a northern periodical journal, the doctor