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lie? " This sketch of mountain scenery," cries Mr. Turner, after he has quoted the passage in English, “ comes appropriately from the pencil of a Cambrian, and is judiciously expressed in a style rumba ling, rough, and fierce, like the object described," a mountain torrent. “The ungrammatical Latin, the wildness of the parenthesis, and the careless disorder of the circumstances of the description, finely illustrate the view. An author less desirous to make the found an echo to the sense, might have expressed the effects of an impetuous torrent on the eyes of the spectator, which is a striking trait of description, more intelligibly; but then he would have robbed it of that fublimity which always arises from the obscure;" all this the Reviewer fancied to be « false criticism," because he did not see the design of it. He thought it to be all faid with a serious face, when it was all spoken with a laughing eye. He fancied it to be soberly true, when it was but Nyly ironical.“ He thus inverted the very nature of the criticism; and condemned in this inverte: position, what he must liave praised in the natural: nor can he be excused for the inversion, as the commencing words of the paragraph fo plainly point out the comniencing irony. “With that copious perspicuity of inexhaustible rhetoric,” says Mr. Turner, there concerning a writer, well known to be peculiarly lost in his cloud of words, “ which we must often admire in this polibed author," the most barbarous of a very barbarous age," he exclaims,"&. Can irony be plainer? Surely authors are not bound, for the sake of inattentive Reviewers, to put the finger-post of authority upon all their turns, and here to add, “ Nota Bene, this is all irony."
Mr. Turner “ought to have recollected,” says the Reviewer, as dogmatical now as he was inattentive before,' “ that it is very doubtful whether Sever'us erected any wall in Britain," and that " the wbole rests upon the weak authority of Spartian;" but the Reviewer is here as inattentive as he was before, and the dogmatism ends in a gross mistake. Four others, all historians, all antients, unite with Spartian to attest the construction of a wall hy Severus. These are Eutropius, Aurelius Victor, Orofius, and Caffiodorus. So egregiously has the Reviewer erred, in point of fact! Even Horsley, one of our best and most popular antiquarians, declares, in direct contradiction to the Reviewer, that the wall of Severus has better attestations in its favour, than either of the other two.
Portus Adurni, adds the Reviewer, while he is picking, petty ob jections against Mr. Turner, is not Portsmouth, but Old Shoreham: but, to thew the frivolousness of such an objection, we need only remark the uncertainty still subfifting concerning the place. Cam. den, at one time, thought it might be Arundel, yet at another, agreed with Selden in thinking it might be Aldrington, near Old Shoreham. Where he had no distances to conduct him, he could be led only by the found of names. Arundel seemed, at first, to red verberate the name, by a transposition of the letters; but Aldrington Teemed at last to reverberate it without any transposition. Horsley. pot satisfied with either position, selected Portsmouth as retaining at least the first half of the appellation. Dr. Henry followed Horsley, No. XXV. VOL. VI
A & the
and Mr. Turner went with him. If the Reviewer likes not their position, he is welcome to prove it'wrong, and to produce a better upon proof. But a mere recurrence to an old opinion, as if it had never been opposed, and never could be opposed, can only prove the inaker to be acquainted with the old, and to be ignorant of the new. ; The Reviewer intimates in his newly affumed pity for that very Gildas, whom he has just censured. Mr. Turner for praifing, as he thought, that Mr. Turner has attempted to make him ridiculous, « by depicting the poor Britons as sitting withinside the wall, to be caught like fith with the chained hooks of their adversaries." But the Reviewer is as spiteful in his pity for Gildas, as he was in cenfuring Mr. Turner's supposed praise of him ; only he is spiteful now to Mr. Turner alone, and was then spiteful to Gildas as well as him. Mr. Turner is now condemned for the folly of Gildas. Mr. Turner's account is Gildas's own; the whole is a literal translation from Gildas, and expressly rejected from hiftory, by Mr. Turner, as too burlesque in itself: but the Reviewer' muft come in for a share in the folly. He reprobated the passage as Mr. Turner's, for its ridiculous description of the Britons; yet then, to make them more ridiculous, and the passage more worrhy of reprobation, dexterously interpolated a couple of words. The Britons are thus represented by the Revicwer himself, and not by Mr. Turner or by Gildas, as perfons “ to be caught like fish with the chained hooks:" and the Reviewer is thus caught, like a filh, with his own hook.
The authors, whom Mr. Turner has quoted, in p. 154, note 27, says this booked Reviewer, “ are comparatively fo recent, that their · teitiniony cannot affect the queftion," whether the Saxons came hither by invitation or not. The first author quoted to prove they came not by invitation, is Treculphus, who lived in 823, The second is Sigebertus, who lived about the æra of the Norman conquest. If authors, of such a date as these, are to be reje&ted from history as recent, the Anglo-Saxolis will almost have no history at all. Yet Mr. Turner inight have adduced an authority older than
either of these; even Nennius the Britain, who expressly fays, “ vei nerunt tres chiulæ a Germaniâ in exilis pulfæ, in quibus erant Hors e t Hengife-Gortigernus autem suscepit eos benigné (c. xxvii).
And " three of the Saxon vetsels," said accordingly the hiftorian - whọ first noted the passage, “ laden with men and equipped for a
defcent, were accidentally hovering on the Kentifh coast." (History of Manchester, 11. 15. quarto.)
From particular criticisms the Reviewer flies off into general, · Here I cannot refute, becaufe I can barely deny. What I can do,
however, I will do for modeft merit assaulted, and for timid fenfibility insulted. “ Authors of great reputation and of none,” he tells
Mr. Turner and the public, « authors of veracity, falsehood, &c. ** are blended in one confused mafs.” This charge I do, ex animo, ; ceny, on a careful perusal of the work. For all the incidents in
the history, which are stated as true, by Mr. Turner, a reputable suthority is constantly produced ; he has carefully avoided to reft
any fact alledged upon a testimony discredited. I believe him, in. deed, to have been more careful in feparating the true from the false throughout our ancient history, than even any writer preceding him. So directly contrary is this charge to the fact. Mr Turner , indeed, has lometimes thought it necessary to expose antiquarian theorists or fabling chroniclers to ridicule! And then the better author has been put side by side with the worser, because in their Tace of absurdity they have only equal merit. But how different is this practice from that alledged by the Reviewer; and how dishoneft is it in any Reviewer, to found upon such a practice such a charge, in full opposition to the plain tenour of Mr. Turner's condua?
The Reviewer even descends to a censure so low, as a mere point of orthography. He censures Mr. Turner for adopting “ the recent mode of expressing the sound of tb by z, in preference to the former mode db." But the censure is as falsely stated as it is frivolously conceived. The former mode was not db, as this was not used generally; what was used was dd. For this Mr. Turner used %, I doubt not, because the last Lexicographer of Welsh had adopted it, and his Dictionary, from its larger compass, must exclude every Other : %, indeed, is a letter not used in Welth. It was, therefore, put as a character, to exprefs the Welsh tb. Nor can I fee that this is more incongruous in itself, and this is certainly more fan&tioned by authority now, than dd.
But the Reviewer mounts at once from that low employment of picking straws, to riding the clouds in general abuse of Mr. Turner. With equal injustice and illiberality, I believe, he intimates Mr.
Turner not to be “even in the smallest degree acquainted with the · Anglo-Saxon language or remains.” I think this very work it
felf demonstrates the contrary. Nor can I conceive any principle except the malignity of prejudice, capable of aflerting it does not. Yet even if it did not, no presumption could lie againft Mr. Turner, as if he was unacquainted with what he had no call to produce. He might have the knowledge, yet reserve all display of it for its proper place. The fact is, that any knowledge which he has shewni has escaped from him, and that he has avowedly reserved his display of it for a future volume. The prefent is only the first of three volumes, which he means to publish on the subject. In the third, as he tells us expressly in his Preface, "a review of their laws, manners, government, literature, and religion, will be requifite." Mr. Turner muft then, therefore, thew his acquaintance with, and will (I doubt not) Thew his intimate acquaintance with “ the AngloSaxon language and remains.” But all these promises in Mr. Turner's plan, though so explicitly avowed by him, and though fo grand in themselves, the Reviewer has, with an unpardonable negligence, overlooked, or with more unpardonable perverseness, fuppressed, and then abused the author for not doing what he even does do in part already, what he actually promises to do in wbole hereafter. "He blames the rising fun for not shining out with the fplendour of noon, pafles over all its assurances of a noon-day fplenAa 2
; dour hereafter, and reprehends the day-spring however bright as dark. ness itself.
With equal injustice and illiberality the Reviewer insinuates Mr. Turner to be ignorant, that or in the British Museum are hundreds of Saxon manuscripts." Whether Mr. Turner be ignorant, or not ignorant, of this, it is impossible for the Reviewer to know. He could only, in presumption, believe, and then in rashness pronounce, Mr. Turner ignorant of it. But the truth is, as I find from a friend of his, that Mr. Turner has long known of this treasure, and has not neglected it ; that he hopes in proper time to make the fruits of his application to it visible in the eyes of the public ; but that then these manuscripts will be seen not to furnish the important information, which the Reviewer seems so much at random to promise from them.
The Reviewer, however, descends from his clouds again; and stoops · once more to his petty employ of picking straws. Mr. Turner's hesi
tation concerning Offa's Queen, he says, shows him to be a stranger to the Saxon coins. This is extraordinary indeed. The bolt was soon Thot, and missed its aim. Does he think Mr. Turner should have quoted a coin for a name, when he had before him a charter with the Queen's own signature upon it? If the Reviewer himself doubted the orthography of his Majesty's name, would he look at a guinea in preference to his royal signature? The Reviewer muft, in conformity to his own argument, but Mr. Turner, with common-sense, conducting him, certainly would not.
Yet the Reviewer, in picking straws, finds one fo like what he had picked before, that he takes it up for mere love of trifles, and produces what I have rejected before. He now produces, however, one a little different. Mr. Turner was branded before, as not “ even in the smallest degree acquainted with the Anglo-Saxon---remains," and as ignorant that “in the British Museum are hundreds of Saxon ma. nuscripts.” But a cold iron only is now pafled over his brow, and he is charged merely with non-application of a coin to his argument. In proof that Mr. Turner is “un-acquainted with the public treasures of Saxon lore,” the Reviewer say's Mr. Turner might have illus. trated his argument, P. 367, by a coin of Athelitan intcribed “ Rex totius Britanniæ.” The charge, however, is too heavy, and the piece recoils violently. Mr. Turner might have forgotten or might have neglected, to alledge the coin ; and yet not be un-acquainted with the public treasures of " Saxon lore.” To inser the one from the other, indeed, is the extreme of folly. I have hitherto noted only the malignity of the Reviewer; but I now see his foolishness. This will be even more apparent as I proceed with him on the point. Mr. Turner's argument was a rejection of the tale, that Egbert was formally crowned and entitled King of England. Alfred, he says, was more properly the first Monariba; or, in greater ftri&iness, AthelItan was. Now if he has proved his affertion without this coin, he had no occasion to alledge it. And, if he has not proved without the coin, to alledge the coin would not have helped him an atom in the proof. The coin could not weigh a grain in the balance, becaufe it
does not call Athelftarı ; “ Rex primus totius Britanniæ," but calls hiin simply. “ Rex lotius Britanniæ.” The question therefore, who was the King so called first, remains all un-resolved by the coin. If Egbert had the title first, Athelitan would be sure to have it after him. Yet whether Athelstan or Egbert had it first, the coin announces : no more, than whether the one was a bastard and the other legitimate. And nothing but folly, reflected from a mirror of malignity, height. ,ened in its glare, and redoubled in its force, could have blinded the il eyes of the Reviewer so much, as to make him produce such an accu. fation of ignorance upon evidence so ridiculous in itself.
The Reviewer at lait, like a dying snake, collects all his strength into one exertion, darts upon his prey, and fixes his fangs on the fleih. But his fangs have lost their poison and their power. He loses his hold, and drops harmless to ihe ground. He assails Mr. Turner thus, in affailing the antient Welch bards cited by him. He affirms them to be spurious. To a general accufation, however, a vindication equally general is all that is requisite in reply. Such I now make, ascribing his want of belief to his want of knowledge, and attribut. ing his accusation to his ignorance, But as he comes out of his covert, and advances into open day-light, I encounter him hand to hand ar'i once. All the pieces, assigned to the early poets of Wales, he then.... says, are unknown equally to Nennius, Geoffry, and Caradoc. Here mark the boldness of presumptuous ignorance. The assertion is abfo. lutely false in every point. Caradoc had no occasion to mention the poets of Wales, because his history commences after their deaths; yet even he, as appears from the only copy of his work known, the transa lation, mentions expressly the poems of one of them, Myrddin or Myrzin Wylt. Yet tlie Reviewer has the hardiness to aver, that all the early bards of Wales were unknown to Caradoc. Geoffry also has actually left a poem in elegant versification, addressed to his pa. trop the Bishop of Lincoln, upon Myrddin and Talieslin. Yet this is the man, whom the Reviewer affirms to have known neither of them. And Nennius, the last of the Reviewer's three witnesses, though the first cited by him as ignorant of all these bards, in a paffage pretty plain of itself, but very plain as corrected by Evans, mentions a number of them together. I recite the passage as in the printed copy of Nennius, and subjuin the corrections of Evans in hooks. «Talhaern Talanguen” (Talhaiarn “ Tatangwn," a bard cited by. Talieslin himself], " in poemate claruit; et Nuevin (Aneurin,” whose poems are still existing), er Talieffin" a poet well known] et Blachbar (Llywarch, a poet as well known] "et Cian qui vocatur Gueinchguant (Gwyngweon,” a poet mena tioned both by Aneurin and by Talieffin), somnul uno tempore," [in the sixth century), sin poenate Britannico claruerunt." * Thus does Nennius, who was alledged by the Reviewer to be ignorant of all these bards, actually show himself to be very familiar with no less than five of them, all his contemporaries wholly or nearly, and all
* Nennius, c. ixiv, and Evans, Pp. 66-68.