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PORSON'S PERSONAL APPEARANCE.
of which were filled with notes and emendations, the letter of Ruhnken to which we have previously alluded, and many other literary treasures.
With the resolution of Bishop Cooper, who, when his wife, in a fit of rage, set fire to the manuscript of his Thesaurus on which he had spent eight years' labour, sat calmly down to write it over again, Porson devoted himself to make a second transcript of Photius equally accurate with the first. How long he took to his task is not related. The manuscript, a handsome quarto volume, he deposited in the library of his College. It was not printed till 1822, fourteen years after his death, when it came forth in quarto and octavo. Meanwhile, in 1808, an edition had been published, perhaps chiefly with a desire to anticipate Porson, by Hermann, but from very incorrect copies, and consequently with numerous blunders, and with a kind of sneer in the preface at those who would prefer to see it printed from the "Codex Galeanus." The edition has been reviewed, with no injustice perhaps to Hermann, but with some rather flippant censures on Photius himself, in the "Edinburgh Review," in an article attributed to the late Bishop Blomfield.
Porson's personal appearance, at the time of his marriage, was, when he was well dressed, very commanding. "His very look," says Mr. John Symmons, impressed me with the idea of his being an extraordinary man; what is called, I believe, by artists, in the Hercules, the repose of strength,' appeared in his whole figure and face."+ "His head," says Pryse
* July 1813.
† Barker's Parriana, vol. i. p. 552.
Gordon*, "was remarkably fine; an expansive forehead, over which was smoothly combed (when in dress) his shining brown hair. His nose was Roman, with a keen and penetrating eye, shaded with long lashes. His mouth was full of expression; and altogether his countenance indicated deep thought. His stature was nearly six feet." Mr. Maltby, who became acquainted with him when he was under thirty, spoke of him as having been then a handsome man.† His ordinary dress, especially when alone, and engaged in study, was careless and slovenly, but, on important occasions, when he put on his blue coat, white waistcoat, black satin breeches, silk stockings, and ruffled shirt, "he looked," says Mr. Gordon, "quite the gentleman."
This description of Porson is supported by the portraits of him that are to be seen at Cambridge; one by Kirkby, a painter of some note in his day, in the diningroom of the Master's lodge at Trinity College; and another by Hoppner in the public library; of which an engraving is prefixed to this work. The marble bust of him, by Chantrey, in the chapel of Trinity College, is thought not to do him justice; a plaster bust, which was made from a cast taken immediately after his death, and of which an engraving by Fittler is given in the Adversaria, is considered to be a much better representation of him.
There was also a portrait of him at the Cider Cellars in Maiden Lane; but we believe it has been removed, and we know neither its author nor its merits.
* Personal Memoirs, vol. i. p. 288.
† Barker's Lit. Anecd. vol. ii. pp. 24, 186.
NURSERY SONG INTO GREEK.
GREEK VERSION OF THREE CHILDREN SLIDING ON THE ICE."-PORSON
PAPERS; SIR FREDERICK EDEN; JAMES BOSWELL; DR. PARR; DR.
IN 1796 Porson published in the "Morning Chronicle" a Greck version of the nursery song of "Three Children sliding on the Ice," with a short addition. It was prefaced by the following letter to the Editor.
"As a learned friend of mine was rummaging an old trunk the other day, he discovered a false bottom, which on examination proved to be full of old parchments. But what was his joy and surprise when he discovered that the contents were neither more nor less than some of the lost tragedies of Sophocles! As the writing is difficult, and the traces of the letters somewhat faded, he proceeds slowly in the task of deciphering. When he has finished, the entire tragedies will be given to the public. In the mean time I send you the following fragment, which my friend communicated to me, and which all critics will concur with me, I doubt not, in
determining to be the genuine production of that ancient dramatist. His characteristics are simplicity and sententiousness. For instance, what can be more simple and sententious than the opening of the Trachiniæ'? It is an old saying that has appeared among mankind, that you cannot be certain of the life of mortals, before one dies, whether it be good or evil.' These qualities, too, are conspicuous in the following iambics, which contain a seasonable caution to parents against rashly trusting children out of their sight. Though your paper is chiefly occupied in plain English, you sometimes gratify your learned readers with a little Greek; you may therefore give them this, if you think that it will gratify them. For the benefit of those whose Greek is rather rusty with disuse, I have added a Latin version, which, I hope, is as pure and perspicuous as Latin versions of Greek tragedies commonly are.
“ I am, Sir, &c.,
ΚΡΥΣΤΑΛΛΟΠΗΚΤΟΥΣ τρίπτυχοι κόροι ῥοὰς
Glacie-durata triplices pueri fluenta
Tempestate æstatis radentes pulchras-plantas-habentibus pedibus,
In vortices ceciderunt, ut sanè accidere solet,
san the Master
should see the bursar, Mr Smithies, but probably not Mr Nicholls. you could find out Mr Smithies, and have some discourse with
suppose, as well.
with Mr Nicholls,
to all friends,
is signed was exploded. I
From the original in the possession of the Rev. II. R. Luard, Frin. Coll. Cambridge