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worked so much through necessity as he did through choice; and that it was to his perseverance alone he owed his greatness. The celebrated inventor of the power-loom, Dr. Cartwright, was spurred on to seek for fame by the reflection of wbat industry could do, as will be seen by the following four lines, written by himself :
Since even Newton owns that all he wrought
To forward, as I may, the public weal ? To what did Kirk White owe his reputation ? or Franklin, or Boyle,-Davy, or Parke ? We learn that all these never suffered a minute of their time to pass idly away. Where would have been the living monuments which eminent men have left behind them, had they spared the midnight oil ? And who is there amongst us can tell to what height he may elevate his own mind, by adopting a similar plan. Who is there can say to any one, such a height thou mayest raise thyself by study, but no higher! Time is continually passing away; and he who keeps adding fresh knowledge to his stock, is surely more likely to make advancement towards greatness than he, who, however naturally gifted, allows his minutes to be wasted. This our immortal King Alfred well knew; and to that knowledge was he indebted for his greatness,—and we, partially, for the advance we have made in civilisation. In the dark ages, were men in general gifted with less natural abilities than they are now ?—the idea is absurd. Then how is it there were so very few great men then, in comparison with the numbers now ? Can any one really suppose that there exist none with faculties equal to Watts, who are not engineers ? none equal to Franklin, who are not statesmen ? in short that there are not by far more unknown geniuses than known ? I cannot believe it. Is there one, who, while pondering over the tombstones in a country churchyard, could not exclaim, with Gray
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ;
Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre.
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear ;
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
The little tyrant of the fields withstood;
THE FALL OF ROME.
I HAVE now described how the northern barbarians sallied out of their forests—broke in upon the Roman provinces with irresistible violenceput all who opposed them to the sword-carried off immense numbers of captives—and returned in triumph, loaded with plunder, to their native wilds. Thus was the vast fabric of the Roman empire, which it had required ages to perfect, and which had extended itself over the whole civilized globe, in a short period completely overturned from its very foundation. These fierce and rapacious barbarians were the cause of mankind being inflicted with calamities which are altogether indescribable. “Famines and pestilences,” says Robertson, “ which were the necessary attendants of such unceasing wars and cruelties, raged in every part of Europe, and completed its sufferings. If any one was called upon to name a period in history during which the human race was most afflicted and debased, he must unhesitatingly answer,—from the reign of Valens, who was burnt to death by the Goths in 378, to the time of Charlemagne, about the year 800.” Historians are at a loss for terms sufficiently expressive of the horrors of that period. The barbarians who brought those evils on the world, they have distinguished by the dreadful epithets, « scourges of God, and destroyers of nations:” the havocks they occasioned, they have compared to the ruins caused by earthquakes, conflagrations, or deluges,—the most formidable and fatal the imagination of man can conceive. The consequences of the northern hordes being in possession of all the countries of the Roman empire, were, that hardly any vestiges of the Roman arts, laws, or literature, remained. New forms of governments, new manners, new names of men and countries, were every where introduced. All principles of society were dissolved. There was no longer either a common interest or public spirit. As they had reduced these nations to a state of slavery, it followed that empires, formed of a conquering and a vanquished people, united in their bosoms two classes of men essentially opposed to each other; accordingly, as a man was descended from this or that blood, he was born a vassal or tyrant—a live stock or
proprietor. The government which was estabIished is now called the Feudal System; and, as only could be expected from such a state of things, over Europe, at this time, the grossest ignorance and barbarity every where prevailed. With the decline of the Roman power, every thing that was great and civilized were included in one common destruction. All the splendid works of ancient art became a prey to barbarism and superstition, and were buried under the ruins of those forums, temples, and palaces, which they adorned. During the long interval after the fail of the empire,—which interval was, in fact, the night that separated the day of ancient civilization and glory from the day of modern civilization during that interval, letters and arts were equally neglected. As a proof of the completeness of the devastation, it is sufficient to observe, that on making excavations to get at the ancient buildings, the base of them has usually been found to be from ten to fifteen feet below the present surface,—the whole of the overlying mass being composed of fragments of buildings, columns, and statues. At this time, the fine architectural monuments of Rome were converted into fortresses by the contending barons. At the beginning of the fifteenth century the city was encumbered with ruined buildings, that two horsemen could scarcely pass abreast in any of the streets. Its state may be best understood in the lamentation of Petrarch, “ that Rome was in po place less known than in Rome itself.” Thus was the once proud mistress of the world reduced to the most deplorable situation, by the ravages of the barbarians;—her senate-her people—her
public edifices—her monuments of ancient grandeur,—were all lost, all swept away. Her fortresses, colleges, libraries, and monasteries, were demolished; and the language of Virgil and Horace was supplanted by the rude tones and jargon of the northern forests. What, in all these, could tend to promote the ultimate civilization of Europe ? Promote civilization, indeed! it was civilization that they destroyed, and barbarism that they substituted in its stead. These barbarians plunged the world into such a state of wretchedness and wickedness, that every sensible and sympathising individual could desire, that all remembrance of that period which is such a stain upon the page of history, and so degrading to our species, was perfectly obliterated,-or rather, that such scenes had never occurred. In this gloomy period, when learning suffered so intensely in the very centre of her exertions, what could be expected in more distant and ungenial situations ? Why, when the great luminary of learning was extinguished, all the surrounding countries, which had borrowed what light they had from it, were immediately cast into total darkness. Distress and ruin passed over all the provinces of her former empire. Spain was overrun by the Visigoths; France became a prey to feudal anarchy and civil commotions; and Germany was split into a variety of small independent states, which were convulsed by unremitting jealousies, and exhausted by diurnal wars. This was the melancholy state to which Europe was brought: no where could be found a spot favourable to the production of genius, or the cultivation of letters :—the leaden