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1792.]

deserve to be weighed rather than to be numbered. Come, come, he will now have the eupora of life, and to this stoical abundance of the raw let him add the Epicurean suuuía, and then he will have no reason to complain of the rà ow. Tell me, not in little broken sentences, but in detail, all the news about the professorship. The Cantab diva preferred his relation to Porson, and perhaps he might not wish Porson to interfere in college affairs as a fellow; but when these two points [the annuity and the professorship] are secured, he will find himself no longer disposed to do evil, or prevented from doing good. Undoubtedly he [ siva, Postlethwaite] is a man of sense, and, as times go, of virtue; and though I never can approve, nor suffer others to extenuate, his conduct, I hope to retain some esteem for the man himself."*

IIIS DESIRE TO GIVE LECTURES.

111

"The distinction of this appointment was grateful to Porson," says his biographer in the Gentleman's Magazine. "The salary is but 40l. a year. It was his wish, however, to have made it an active and efficient office; and it was his determination to give an annual course of lectures in the college, if rooms had been assigned him for the purpose. These lectures, as he designed, and had in truth made preparations for them, would have been invaluable; for he would have found occasion to elucidate the languages in general, and to have displayed their relations, their differences, their near and remote connexions, their changes, their structure, their principles of etymology, and their causes of corruption. If any one man was qualified for this

* Parr's Works, vol. vii. p. 414.

gigantic task, it was Mr. Professor Porson; but his wishes were counteracted." How many languages the writer thinks that Porson would have thus illustrated, in "this gigantic task," I know not; but he seems to have thought him much nearer to omniscience in language than he really was. Porson could have told much about etymology, but his encomiast appears to have fancied that he could have told everything.

That he intended to give lectures when he entered on the professorship, he assured Mr. Maltby, who afterwards asked him why he had not given them. Porson replied, "Because I have thought better on it; whatever originality my lectures might have had, people would have cried out, We knew all this before." This was probably only a jocular reason; among the real causes want of rooms might have had some influence, and Porson's own indolence, and reluctance to begin, had probably more. Lectures would doubtless have greatly increased the income of his professorship, but would have infinitely increased its labour.

It is no great honour to so wealthy a country as this, that it should provide for the Greek professor of one of its greatest universities, a man whom it necessarily acknowledges among the most eminent of its scholars, no larger an annual income than 40%. At that sum the salary still stands; but there has recently been attached to the office a canonry at Ely of 600l. a year, from a desire, apparently, that the professor should not again be a layman.

1793.]

REVIEWING.

CHAP. IX.

113

PORSON'S REVIEW OF EDWARDS'S EDITION OF THE TREATISE ON EDUCA-
TION ATTRIBUTED TO PLUTARCH.-REMARKS ON CORRECTION OF TEXTS
BY EDITORS.AN ACUTE EMENDATION.—LONDON EDITION OF HEYNE'S
VIRGIL; PORSON HAD LITTLE CONCERN WITH IT.-PARR'S PANEGYRIC
ON PORSON.
-- REVIEW OF PAYNE KNIGHT ON THE GREEK ALPHABET.
-CONSIDERATIONS ON VERBAL AND OTHER CRITICISM.

NOTHING more appeared from Porson's pen till July 1793, when he published in the "Monthly Review" a notice of Dr. Edwards's edition of the Treatise on Education attributed to Plutarch; a work which Muretus suspected, and which Wyttenbach pronounced, to be spurious. Dr. Edwards, however, without noticing these adverse opinions, published it as the genuine production of Plutarch.

The notes to this edition were partly in English and partly in Latin. On this mixture of languages Porson says, "This is a practice which we shall never fail to reprehend. When an editor produces any observations which merit the notice of the learned (and every editor ought to believe at least as much), let him converse in the common language of the learned; but when an author writes on a subject of learning chiefly for the benefit of his countrymen, let him compose wholly in his mother tongue. Perhaps Dr. Edwards was induced to write his notes in this piebald and patchwork man

I

ner by the example of his father's Theocritus; but it is a fault that we neither can nor will excuse in any of the family. Fallit te incautum pietas tua.”

He accuses Dr. Edwards of being somewhat too timid in admitting into the text certain readings which he acknowledges would be improvements; and adds the following remarks, well worthy of transcription, on the duty of an editor.

"It may naturally be asked, Who shall decide which reading is indubitably certain? This decision must be in a great measure left to the discretion of the editor. 'What are we to give to every man, who sets up for a critic, an unlimited right of correcting ancient books at his pleasure?' Not at his pleasure, but in conformity to certain laws well known and established by the general consent of the learned. He may transgress or misapply these laws, but without disowning their authority. No critic in his senses ever yet declared his resolution to put into the text what he at the time thought a wrong reading; and if a man, after perusing the works of his author perhaps ten times as often as the generality of readers, after diligently comparing manuscripts and editions, after examining what others have written relative to him professedly or incidentally, after a constant perusal of other authors with a special view to the elucidation of his own;if, after all this, he must not be trusted with a discretionary power over the text, he never could be qualified to be an editor at all. Whatever editor (one, we mean, who aspires to that title) republishes a book from an old edition, when the text might be improved from subsequent discoveries, while he hopes to show his modesty and religion, only exposes his indolence, his ignorance, or his superstition. Dr. Edwards, after having, in his note on p. 3, approved an emendation by Casaubon, ὑπειπόντες for ἐπειπόντες, rejects it in his Addenda with this grave remark: 'I grow daily more and more sensible of the great caution which is requisite in adopting emendations.' This emendation has at least the warrant of

1793.]

a manuscript. Now, if πELTÓVтes had been the common reading, which makes very good sense, and a manuscript gave ÜTTELTÓVтES, the same remark, inverted, would be equally just. The truth is, sometimes two readings have such equal claims, that it is very difficult to give a decisive preference to either. In this case, what blame can an editor deservedly incur, who inserts one in the text, if he faithfully informs us of the other?"

AN EXCELLENT EMENDATION.

115

This review presents us with one of Porson's admirable emendations. Not far from the beginning of the treatise, the author, speaking of parents committing their boys to incompetent teachers, says, as the text stands in Dr. Edwards's edition, 'Evíore yàp sidÓTES, αἰσθομένοις μᾶλλον αὐτοῖς τοῦτο λεγόντων, τὴν ἐνίων τῶν παιδευτῶν ἀπειρίαν ἅμα καὶ μοθχηρίαν, ὅμως τούτοις ἐπιτρέπουσι τοὺς παῖδας. For αἰσθομένοις some manuscripts have airbouévwv, of which Dr. Edwards, in his note on the passage, expresses approbation, and “ which," says Porson, he might more pardonably have admitted into the text than have left nonsense in its place. One manuscript," he continues, "gives aiotóμevo änλwv, whence Brunck reads, with the slight addition of a letter, εἰδότες ἢ αἰσθόμενοι ἄλλων:—this, however, has not the good luck to please Dr. Edwards: Friget Brunckii emendatio. In spite of this censure, we must own that we think the correction true, as far as it goes, but perhaps it conveys not the whole truth. The right rcading seems to be Ἐνίοτε γὰρ εἰδότες αὐτοί, ἢ αἰσθόμενοι ἄλλων τοῦτο λεγόντων.” Some praise is due to Brunck, who saw part of what was required, but Porson has the merit of having seen the whole.

In the same year came forth a London edition of

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