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OCTOBER THIS month was under the protection of Mars. It retained its original name, notwithstanding various attempts to change it. The senate wished to denominate it Faustinus, in honour of Faustina, daughter of the Emperor Antoninus; Commodus gave it the name of Invictus; and Domitian that of Domitianus. The namers, however, were no sooner dead thau the name expired.
On the fifth the ceremony of the Mundus Patens was performed. This consisted in opening a small round temple, called Mundus, which was opened only thrice a year. During these times it was forbidden to give battle, hold assemblies, marry, or set about any public or private business; the infernal regions being believed to be then open. Sacrifices were offered on the sixth to the Manes The ideas of the ancients with respect to the manes do not appear to have been very accurately defined. The manes are sometimes spoken of as spirits separated from their earthly bodies, sometimes as the infernal deities, and sometimes merely as the deities or genii of the dead. Servius affirms that it was the opinion of some of the ancients, that the great celestial gods were the gods of the living, but that the gods of the second order, the manes in particular, were the gods of the dead, and that they exercised their sway only amidst the darkness of the night, over which they presided. Apuleius, in his book de Deo Socratis, is the writer who speaks most clearly on this subject. “The spirits of men,” says he, “after they have quitted their bodies, become a sort of demons, which the ancient Latins called Lemures : those of the dead who were good, and watched over their descendants, were called lares familiares; but those who were restless, turbulent, and malevolent, and terrified men hy nocturnal apparitions, were denominated larve. When it was uncertain whether the spirit of a deceased person was become a lar or a larva, it was termed mane.” The Meditrinalia was held on the eleventh. It was dedicated to Meditrina, the goddess of medicine, to whom liba. tions were made of new and old wine. The new wine was now first tasted, and some of the old was drank as
a medicine. On the first drinking of the new wine a particular form of words was used, the omission of which was considered as being an unlucky omen.The Augustalia, in honour of Augustus, was celebrated on the twelfth. This festival was instituted by the tribunes of the people, in memory of the happy return of Augustus to Rome, after having pacified Greece, Sicily, Italy, and the Parthians. An altar was erected to him with the inscription, Fortuna reduci. There were games on this day. The festival of the Fontinalia was on the thirteenth. It was devoted to the nymphs who presided over fountains and springs. On that day garlands were thrown into the wells and springs, and hung over them. Sacrifices were offered to Mercury on the fifteenth, by the shopkeepers. On the same day a horse, denominated the October horse, was sacrificed to Mars, in the Campus Martius. The people supposed this to be done in vengeance for the Trojans, from whom the Romans claimed their descent, having been surprized by the Greeks, who were concealed in the Trojan horse. The plebeian games were held in the circus, on the sixteenth, either in commemoration of the recovery of liberty by the expulsion of the kings, or of the reconciliation of the people with the senate after their retreat to the Aventine Hill. On the seventeenth was a sacrifice to Jupiter Liberator. The Armilustrium took place on the nineteenth. There was a general review in the Campus Martius on this occasion, the knights, centurions, and soldiers wore crowns, the soldiers danced in arms, and sacrifices were performed to the sound of trumpets. Offerings were made to Liber Pater, or Bacchus, on the twenty-third. On the twenty-eighth were the public games, instituted by Sylla, and called the games of victory. The Vertumnalia, a festival dedicated to Vertumnus, was held on the thirtieth.
The sun this month is in the signs Virgo and Scorpió. MY PORTFOLIO; Or, ORIGINAL HINTS, SKETCHES, and ANECDOTES.
"A thing of shreds and patches."
No. 9.-CRITICAL SAGACITY. THE Third Letter on the Regicide Peace having been left by Mr. Burke in an unfinished state, the editor, Dr. F. Laurence, was under the necessity of filling up the chasms. In the first edition he did not specify the parts which he had inserted, to connect the whole. His silence on this score was intended as a good-humoured stratagem to entrap the critics. It was quite successful. On the publication of the work, they opened upon him full cry. The temerity which ventured to touch with profane hands the compositions of Mr. Burke was censured in strong terms. One critic talked of a manufactory of pamphlets being established, under the name of Mr. Burke. According to the opinion of these sapient gentlemen, however, though the editor had been unpardonably silent on the subject, it was easy to distinguish his wretched interpolations from the genuine effusions of the deceased orator. “Here,” exclaimed one, producing a passage in which the produce of some taxes was stated in plain language," here we see the hand of the bungling interpolator! But here,” continued he, “here we recognize the brilliant eloquence of Mr. Burke;" and in proof of this he referred to another passage, which, undoubtedly, is written in a masterly style. It is that part* which begins with the words, “In turning our view from the higher to the lower classes," and ends with “wherever the British arms have been carried.” Unfortunately for the critic he was wrong in both cases. The first quotation I saw in the original manuscript, and in the hand-writing, too, of Mr. Burke. The second was the composition of Dr. Laurence. I took it down on paper, from his dictation, at the house of a friend, where we were then on a visit; and can, therefore, give conclusive evidence. A similar blunder, with respect to other passages, was committed by some others of the critical tribe. * Burke's Works, vol. viii. page 369.
SIR ROBERT CALDER. TO this gallant admiral, (who died a few days ago, at the advanced age of seventy-four) very flagrant injustice was done in the year 1805. It will, doubtless, be remembered by our readers that, with an inferior force, he defeated the combined squadrons of France and Spain, on the twenty-second of July, and captured two sail of the line. At some periods this would have been deemed a glorious achievement. A senseless and ungrateful clamour, however, was raised against him, for not having accomplished more. A court-martial, too, thought proper to find him guilty of an error in
dgment, and to sentence him to be severely reprimanded. This sentence deserves to be spoken of with no great portion of respect. On such subjects there are probably few persons who will venture to differ in opinion from Lord Nelson. Now the opinion of Lord Nelson was decidedly in favour of the calumniated admiral. A gentleman, who visited his lordship at Merton, and who communicated to me the conversation, took the opportunity of asking him, what he thought of Sir Robert Calder's conduct. His lordship's answer was, “Sir, I conceive Sir Robert to have done all that a brave and skilful commander could do, under such circumstances. He is a very ill-used man, and ought to have been rewarded, instead of being traduced and brought to trial.”
MR. PRATT. SOME people estimate the merit of a composition by the length of it, like Peter Pindar's burgomaster, who thought his brother a great poet, because he had written (von book as big as all dis cheese.” “Why do you write nothing but short pieces? Why do you not produce a long poem?” is their eternal cuckoo cry. The late Mr. Pratt seems, at least at one period of his life, to bave been infected with this folly. Many years ago, when it was the fashion at Bath to furnish verses for Lady Miller's famous vase at Batheaston, a friend of mine, afterwards an eminent civilian, had'obtained the sprig of myrtle, which was the prize of the best poem. Mr. Pratt walked up to him, and exclaimed, “Upon my word, sir, your's is a very pretty poem! Very pretty indeed for the length of it."",
*. *' D.
WITH THAT OF
BY THE REV. R. POLWHELE.
I have not upfrequently heard it remarked (though chiefly by the superficial or the austere), that we have no pretensions to the learning of Elizabeth's time, or the elegance of Queen Ame's. This observation on the depth of erudition in the first Augustan period (for such has it been termed), is partly owing to a mistaken notion, that all people of education were little less familiar with the Greek and Latin, than the queen herself. Elizabeth, no doubt, had cultivated an acquaintance with the classics. From the paucity of publications in her vernacular tongue, she had, necessarily, recourse to books in other languages; but I much question whether she could have read Greek with a boy of the first form in Westminster school.
We should also take this along with us, that the age of Elizabeth was, in every thing, an affected age; and, where affectation prevails, the fair sex are always strongly tinctured by it. 'A little learning may be swelled to an enormous size by artifice, ostentation, and pedantry; hence, perhaps, that wonderful display of erudition in another female personage. Roger Ascham tells us, that going to wait on Lady Jane Grey, at her father's house in Leicestershire, he found her reading Plato's work in the Greek, whilst the rest of the family were hunting in the park. He seemed surprised; but she assured him, that Plato was her highest amusement. Possibly the lady had no objection to be interrupted in her studies: she was hunting for applause. But I have no wish to detract from the merit of these illustrious females. · I will join issue with their panegyrists, I will do homage to their scho