STOP Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in the world byJSTOR. Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial purposes. Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.istor.org/participate-istor/individuals/early- journal-content . JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com. 1837.] Mrs. Child's Philothea. 77 Art. V. — Philothea, a Romance. By Mrs. Child, Author of " The Mother's Book," &c. Boston ; Otis, Broaders, & Co. 1836. 12rao. pp. 284. The early writings of Mrs. Child gave brilliant promise of future eminence in the path of imaginative literature. The lit- tle tale of "Hobomok" contains passages of pathos and power, which are certainly extraordinary, coming from so young and untried an, hand. Notwithstanding some serious defects in the plot, the numerous excellences of the work, its copious, vig- orous, and eloquent style, and the rare descriptive talent it manifested, placed its gifted and youthful authoress, at once, among our most promising writers of fiction. This romance was followed, at a considerable interval, by the tale of " The Rebels " ; and public curiosity was strongly excited, to know if this second appearance would sustain the reputation won by the first. If we remember rightly, the reading circles were some- what disappointed ; but still the same vigorous expression, lively fancy, and copious eloquence, which charmed the readers of " Hobomok," were undeniably exhibited. It was naturally supposed that a career, so auspiciously commenced, in the fascinating pursuit of literary renown, would be followed out, until the authoress's fully developed powers had assumed their rightful station in the literature of the country. In this, our expectations were not fulfilled. With the exception of a few short tales and poems, — a few slender veins that served only to show the riches of the mine beneath the surface, — Mrs. Child added nothing to the elegant literature of the day. It was a subject of some surprise and more regret, that one so well qualified to adorn the path she liad apparently chosen, should have deserted it so soon. " The practical tendencies of the age," she remarks, in an elegantly written preface, " and particularly of the country in which I lived, have so continually forced me into the actual, that my mind has sel- dom obtained freedom to rise into the ideal." Mrs. Child's works, subsequent to the publication of "The Rebels," hardly come within the scope of this Journal, and we therefore pass at once to the new novel, the title of which stands at the head of this article. We cannot, however, allow the occasion to pass by, without expressing our pleasure at meeting Mrs. Child again in the calm and gladsome light of literature. 78 Mrs. Child's Phihthea. [Jan. This novel, as its title indicates, is an attempt to paint the manners and life of Grecian classical times. The attempt is a bold one, and of a kind rarely attended with much success. Mr. Lockhart's "Valerius" is a splendid and powerful delin- eation of the first age of the Christian religion. But there was an element at work among the fragments of the institutions of early classical times, which connected the feelings of that period with the predominant feelings of later ages. It was not, therefore, so hard a task to give a living picture of that period, as Mrs. Child has undertaken in her romance. Mr. Bulwer's" Pompeii "has the advantage of describing a wonder- ful and terrible event in the physical world, of which an eye- witness has left us a striking memorial. He too deals with the sufferings of the early Christians, and his work is but slightly tinctured with the coloring of classical antiquity. It is a bril- liant and gorgeous succession of pictures, but has none of the calm and majestic strength of the old masters. Indeed, to revive the scenes of historical or classical interest, with a fidelity which shall satisfy the imagination and heart, demands a power of intellect, that few novel-writers possess. A Mil- ton, a Goethe, a Talfourd can do it. Original genius is not the only thing needed ; to that must be added minute and thorough learning, and a power of keenly searching into the spirit of other days. Critical skill must yield the treasures of its long and painful investigations ; imagination must summon the forms of the departed, and the severest taste must represent them in the shapes of historical truth. The classical novelist must know how to go beyond the circle of his daily associations, and lay aside the feehngs of the modern. He must contem- plate life, art, society, and religion under an aspect wholly dif- ferent from that, to which his mind has been accustomed from his boyish days. He must renounce himself, and transform his being, for the time, into the great original he draws. He must be able to contemplate the scenes he describes objective- ly, as the Germans call it. An egotist, like Lord Byron, would find it utterly impossible to write a classical novel. In- deed, the universal uproar of this age of new things, in which every individual is fighting under his own banner, and means to make the most of his chance to better his condition, renders the attempt to recall the serene spirit of beauty, which, in our imaginations at least, is breathed over the manners, arts, and literature of the classical world, peculiarly hazardous, and any 1837.] Mrs. Child's Philothea. 79 degree of success peculiarly honorable to the genius of the aspirant after that kind of literary fame. Mrs. Child has some intellectual traits, which are well suit- ed to success in this field of literary enterprise. She has a vigorous and exuberant imagination, and an accurate eye for beauty of form. She understands the harmonious construction of language, and can describe both nature and society with liveliness and truth. Her style, in its general character, is rich and eloquent ; abounding in brilliant turns and fanciful illustrations. It is generally simple, energetic, and impressive, but sometimes it is too dazzling. In fact, the copiousness of her imagination, and the ardor of her feelings, which lend such power to her enthusiastic eloquence, in a measure injure her style for classical novel-writing. It is de- ficient in repose ; we must use that word for want of a better. Classical scholars feel that ancient literature is deeply impress- ed with the peculiar quality, which can be described in its effect by that word alone. The study of the best classics soothes and solemnizes the mind like the contemplation of na- ture, or the presence of a gallery of ancient statues, standing before us in the marble stillness of centuries ; and our imagi- nation craves the same impressive effect in a work that essays to recall the spirit of classical times. In this point of view, it appears to us that Mrs. Child has not been entirely success- ful. She has not gone out of her peculiar feelings and opin- ions far enough to give us something thoroughly Greek. We trace distinctly enough certain ways of thinking, that belong, not merely to modern times, but to Mrs. Child herself. Through the whole work, we are threading the mazes of an imaginative faith, and a transcendental philosophy, partly Pla- tonic, partly Swedenborgian. This influence has guided her in forming the leading characters, and in constructing the dis- courses and dialogues, in which their peculiarities are unfolded. The time selected by Mrs. Child is the most brilliant pe- riod in the history of Athens. Pericles, the master statesman of the ancient world, is at the head of affairs, swaying the des- tinies of the tumultuous republic. Plato teaches philosophy in the Academy, and Phidias builds the temples and carves the statues of the gods. Aspasia captivates the gravest sages by her beauty, wit, and eloquence, and well nigh overthrows the ancient severity of female manners, by introducing among the matrons and maidens of the violet-crowned city, the unheard-of 80 Mrs. Child's Philothea. [Jan. freedom of appearing unveiled at the symposia of the wits. Tragedy and Comedy have arrived at the highest point of cultivation, and all the arts connected with them are elaborated till the hand of genius can go no further. The courts of jus- tice and the assemblies of the people are thronged by busy, inquisitive crowds, for whose entertainment, instruction, or corruption, the orators and demagogues are continually at work. Swarms of Sophists teach the young men the subtil- ties of their pernicious art, against which the keen dialectic weapons, forged in the Socratic workshop, ban scarcely avail. Strangers throng to Athens from every part of the world, to gaze on her wondrous citadel, and the majestic forms of her gods. Ambassadors lay the pompous homage of de- pendent colonies and semibarbarous nations at her feet. Such is the splendid age, in which the scene of Mrs. Child's novel is laid. Such are the gorgeous but somewhat indefinite pic- tures which the page of history unfolds to us ; and so far the character of the age is sufficiently intelligible. But to go be- neath this gay and glittering surface, and detect the elements at work there ; to follow the statesman from the agora or the courts, to the scenes of domestic life ; to accompany the phi- losopher from his walk beneath the grove, to his private resi- dence, or nightly revel ; to detect beneath the plausible exterior of pompous religious rites, the lurking imposture, or the sneer of skepticism ; to unravel the threads of apologue, irony, playfulness, and symbolical expression in the discourses of the philosophers, and learn the almost hidden truth they would teach ; to judge truly and delineate strongly the influ- ence of woman, both in the strict seclusion of the austere lovers of the olden times, and in the free circles of the Aspa- sias ; to unfold the secret of that amazingly rapid growth of art and letters, which has made Athens and the age of Peri- cles for ever illustrious, — were a task for the mightiest genius, the profoundest knowledge, the most delicate taste. To say that Mrs. Child has not done all this, is far enough from calling in question either her ability or learning. The main interest of the tale centres in the fortunes of Phi- lothea, the heroine, and a subordinate interest is kept up by an underplot, in which are developed the character and ad- ventures of Eudora, Philothea's friend and companion. The heroine is the granddaughter of the philosopher Anaxagoras, and is represented as having been educated by him with sedu- 1837.] Mrs. Child's Philothea. 81 lous care. Eudora is a member of the family of Phidias, the sculptor, having been purchased by him in early childhood, and trained up in his own household. Paralus, the son of Pericles, has been under the instruction of Anaxagoras, and an attachment has been formed between him and Philothea. The young man is compelled to subdue his affections to the bidding of parental ambition, and resign all thoughts of marry- ing Philothea. An attachment has also sprung up between Eudora and a wealthy young Athenian, Philaemon, whose mother is a Corinthian by birth. Philaemon is summoned be- fore the court of Cynosarges, and condemned to lose his es- tates and the privileges of an Athenian citizen, in consequence of a slight taint of foreign blood in his veins. The tale opens with a scene in which the two maidens are watching the return of Philaemon and his friends from the court. Meantime the witty and wicked Lothario of Athens, Alci- biades, has been struck with the beauty of Eudora, and deter- mines to win her to his base purposes. The splendor of his name and rank, the grace of his person, and the captivating power of his eloquence, have already partially dazzled the imagination of the simple-hearted maiden, before her firmer friend, Philothea, is aware of the danger. This is the source of distress in the plot. To facilitate his libertine designs, Alcibi- ades persuades Aspasia to have both Philothea and Eudora present at one of her symposia. The description of this re- union is one of the most striking portions of the book. The characters that figure in it are among the most illustrious of that period of Athenian history. Pericles and Aspasia, Plato, Anaxagoras, and Alcibiades, with numerous others ; an Ethio- pian of distinction ; the Persian ambassador ; Phidias the sculptor, and the two maidens, are present and partake of the conversation and festivities of the night. Alcibiades per- suades the credulous Eudora that he will repudiate his wife and marry her ; and Philothea finds it impossible at first to dispel the delusion. She grants him an interview, which is interrupted accidentally by Philaemon, her lover. The infat- uated damsel is only aroused to a sense of her danger by over- hearing a conversation at the house of Aspasia, between her and Alcibiades, in which her own name is coupled with that of Electra, a courtezan of Corinth. In the mean time, Philae- mon, shocked at the discovery he has accidentally made, and disgusted with the unjust treatment to which he has been sub- VOL. XLIV. — NO. 94. 11 82 Mrs. Child's Philothea. [Jan. jected by the court of Cynosarges, prepares to leave his country and seek a refuge at the Persian court. A prosecution is now instituted against the most confiden- tial friends of Pericles, by the enemies of the great statesman. Anaxagoras, Phidias, even Aspasia herself, are summoned be- fore the people to answer to various charges, brought against them by the intrigues of a powerful faction, who aimed at the political destruction of Pericles. The issue of the prosecu- tion is the banishment of Phidias, who retires to Elis, and of Anaxagoras, who takes up his abode in Lampsacus. Soon after, the plague breaks out in Athens, and rages through the city, sparing neither high nor low, neither age nor sex. Among other illustrious victims is Paralus, the son of Pericles, and lover of Philothea. He is left by the awful disease in a state of utter helplessness. He retains no recollection of the past, save the memory of his lost Philothea. He has no per- ception of the objects of sense around him, but is perpetually visited with delightful visions from the land of spirits. The haughty spirit of Pericles is subdued by these domestic calamities ; and he forthwith sends Plato on an embassy, to express his earnest wish that Philothea will return to Athens and marry his now helpless son. She readily, nay joyfully consents, in the hope that she may assist in restoring his shat- tered intellect to a healthy tone. She arrives in Athens, and is united to Paralus with due solemnities. Pericles, with Paralus and Philothea, accompanied by Plato and others, journey to Olympia, hoping to benefit the 'health of the suffer- er by the stirring scene of the games, and the old associations of which they may touch the chord. At Elis they encounter Eudora, living in seclusion after the death of Phidias her pro- tector. The experiment is unsuccessful, and Paralus dies. The mourning party return to Athens, where the funeral honors are completed, and the urn, containing the ashes of the best beloved son of Pericles, is deposited in his ancestral tomb. Philothea gradually wastes away, and soon dies. Eudora is again exposed to the persecution of Alcibiades, by whose hirelings she is seized and carried forcibly to Salamis. She is rescued from this perilous prison by her faithful Geta, but is so swiftly pursued that she is compelled to take refuge in Creusa's grot- to, where she remains some time. Here she receives a super- natural visitation from Paralus and Philothea, and is warned by them to seek Artaphemes the Persian. She obeys the celes- 1837.] Mrs. Child's Philothea. 83 tial intimation, and finds in Artaphernes her father. After this developement she returns with him to Persia, and is at length united to her lover, who is in high favor at the Persian court. This very brief sketch will give some idea of the ground- work, on which Mrs. Child has raised the superstructure of her story. It is obvious that she has introduced upon her can- vass the figures of mighty historical characters, who will task all the vigor of her pencil. How has she succeeded .' We have already spoken in general terms of her style. In this book it has all its characteristic beauty and force. It is mu- sical and significant. The glories of Athens are described in language fresh and sparkling, like the radiant forms of art, which filled the proud city. The imagery she draws around her scenes, and the associations she awakens, are in strict keep- ing with the time, the character, and the place. She has mas- tered all the learning requisite to the preserving of the outward proprieties, and the allusions and scenery are fastidiously cor- rect. Indeed, it may justly be said, that she is too laboriously classical in minute details ; in her Atticism, she is hyper- Attic, and might be known for a foreigner on classic ground, as Theo- phrastus was hailed " Stranger " by a fishwoman of Athens, in consequence of the elaborate finish of his pronunciation. The general idea of each of her historical characters seems to us historically correct ; but the details are not always so. The picture of the age is in the main truly colored ; yet there are many features, in the character of the times, which are not suf- ficiently brought out. Thus the plague, of which Thucydides has given so true and masterly a description, opens scenes and presents contrasts that might have been used with great effect ; and the trial of the friends of Pericles might have been describ- ed at greater length, and with more fulness of detail. In the course of the story, we think that love, in the modern accep- tation of the word, plays far too conspicuous a part. The gallantries of Alcibiades are too much like the intrigues of a modern rake ; and the perils and rescue of Eudora, would be in place in a novel of the last century. The two characters on which Mrs. Child has expended the most care and labor, are evidently those of Plato and Philo- thea. So far as her portrait of the philosopher goes, it is un- questionably correct ; but, led by some elective affinity, she has selected a few of Plato's philosophical doctrines, and re- presented his character only through their medium. The conse- 84 Mrs. Child's Philothea. [Jan. quence is, that the Sage of the Academy appears but in one light. He is for ever the mystic and the moralizer, with a dash of sentiment that almost unmans him. Whether discoursing with the carousers at the Symposium, or with the young ladies, on a journey, or at Lampsacus, he perpetually arrays his har- angues with fanciful analogies, and mystic intimations, and poetical rhapsodies. He drags in, seasonably and out of sea- son, his strange notions about preexisteuce and the connex- ion between the spiritual and outer world ; but he never ap- pears like a man engaged with the actual business of life, or capable of discussing the high themes of policy ; never as a master for statesmen, or teacher of science to vigorous-minded youth. But this is a partial view of Plato's character ; true as far as it goes, and false in its general effect. The themes he is made to touch upon exclusively, he did discuss occasion- ally ; they formed a part, but not the whole of his philosophy. He indulged his imagination, it is true, with an occasional flight into an ideal world ; but he was at times a severe logician, and a practical dealer with stubborn facts. In the exuberance of his genius, he would even run riot in beautiful visions, and fantastic theories ; but he could come down to the elaborate discussion of scientific principles, and many of the weighti- est arguments, on the most solemn questions of the destiny of man, are wrought out by him with an amazing vigor of under- standing. Now, as in his writings Plato is often full of plain practical common sense, it is a fair inference that his common conversation partook largely of the same character ; and in this respect we think that our author has not given a full and complete view, or even a justly proportioned view, of his intel- lectual consdtution. Philothea is a beautiful creation. A woman of great per- sonal loveliness, educated in the midst of all the influences that can refine the imagination, deeply imbued with the more spirit- ual part of the Platonic philosophy, in daily communion with all of wit and genius that the best portion of Athenian society could offer, she rises before us, a being of such pure beauty, that we think of her not as of a daughter of this world, but as a child of the skies. The character is drawn with a deli- cate perception of the minutest proprieties and the finest shades. No discordant act breaks the harmony of her being ; no harsh or violent sentiment, no wild passion, mingles with the gentlr tone of her daily thoughts. The supernatural incidents thi . 1837.] Mrs. Child's Philothea. 85 occur after her death, are a beautiful finale to the rich music of her life. But can we realize the character r does it belong to human life, and Attic life ? No. It is a lovely dream of Mrs. Child's imagination. We might go on still further, but our readers will be better satisfied with some specimens of the book. We cannot leave it, however, without expressing our persuasion that it will take a permanent place in our elegant literature ; for, though deficient in some points of execution, it has the vital qualities that will save it from the common doom. Every page of it breathes the inspiration of genius, and shows a high- ly cultivated taste, in literature and art. The structure of its style is such as belongs only to a mind of fresh and vigorous powers ; and the greatest fault of its plot, — its tendency to an excessive idealism, — will perhaps scarcely abate its popu- larity. " The room in which the guests were assembled, was furnish- ed with less of Asiatic splendor than the private apartment of As- pasia; but in its magnificent simplicity, there was a more perfect manifestation of ideal beauty. It was divided in the middle by eight Ionic columns, alternately of Phrygian and Pentelic marble. Between the central pillars stood a superb statue from the hand of Phidias, representing Aphrodite guided by Love and crowned by the goddess of Persuasion. Around the walls were Phoebus and Hermes in Parian marble, and the nine Muses in ivory. A fountain of perfumed water from the adjoining room dilTused coolness and fragrance as it passed through a number of con- cealed pipes, and finally flowed into a magnificent vase, support- ed by a troop of Naiades. " In a recess stood the famous lion of Myron, surrounded by infant loves, playing with his paws, climbing his back, and deco- rating his neck with garlands. This beautiful group seemed actually to live and move in the clear light and deep shadows derived from a silver lamp suspended above. " The walls were enriched with some of the choicest paintings of Apollodorus, Zeuxis, and Polygnotus. Near a fine likeness of Pericles, by Aristolaus, was Aspasia, represented as Chlo- ris scattering flowers over the earth, and attended by winged Hours. " It chanced that Pericles himself reclined beneath his portrait, and though political anxiety had taken from his countenance something of the cheerful freshness which characterized the pic- ture, he still retained the same elevated beauty, — the same deep, 86 Mrs. Child's Philothea. [Jan. quiet expression of intellectual power. At a short distance, with his arm resting on the couch, stood his nephew Alcibiades, de- servedly called the handsomest man in Athens. lie was laugh- ing with Hermippus, the comic writer, whose shrewd, sarcastic, and mischievous face was expressive of his calling. Phidias slowly paced the room, talking of the current news with the Per- sian Artaphernes. Anaxagoras reclined near the statue of Aph- rodite, listening and occasionally speaking to Plato, who leaned against one of the marble pillars, in earnest conversation with a learned Ethiopian. " The gorgeous apparel of the Asiatic and African guests, contrasted strongly with the graceful simplicity of Grecian cos- tume. A saffron-colored mantle and a richly embroidered Me- dian vest glittered on the person of the venerable Artaphernes. Tithonus, the Ethiopian, wore a skirt of ample folds, which scarcely fell below the knee. It was of the glorious Tyrian hue, resembling a crimson light shining through transparent purple. The edge of the garment was curiously wrought with golden palm leaves. It terminated at the waist in a large roll, twined with massive chains of gold, and fastened by a clasp of the far- famed Ethiopian topaz. The upper part of his person was un- covered and unornaraented, save by broad bracelets of gold, which formed a magnificent contrast with the sable color of his vigorous and finely-proportioned limbs. " As the ladies entered, the various groups came forward to meet them ; and all were welcomed by Aspasia with earnest cordiality and graceful self-possession. While the brief saluta- tions were passing, Hipparete, the wife of Alcibiades, came from an inner apartment, where she had been waiting for her hostess. She was a fair, amiable young matron, evidently conscious of her high rank. The short blue tunic, which she wore over a lemon- colored robe, was embroidered with golden grasshoppers ; and on her forehead sparkled a jewelled insect of the same species. It was the emblem of unmixed Athenian blood ; and Hipparete alone, of all the ladies present, had a right to wear it. Her man- ners were an elaborate copy of Aspasia ; but deprived of the pow- erful charm of unconsciousness, which flowed like a principle of life into every motion of that beautiful enchantress." — pp.34- 36. " At a signal from Plato, slaves filled the goblets with wine, and he rose to propose the usual libation to the gods. Every Grecian guest joined in the ceremony, singing in a recitative tone: Dionysus, this to thee, God of warm festivity ! Giver of tlie fruitful vine. To thee we pour the rosy wine ! 1837.] Mrs. Child's Philothea. 87 "Music, from the adjoining room, struck in with the chorus, and continued for some moments after it had ceased. " For a short time, the conversation was confined to the courte- sies of the table, as the guests partook of the delicious viands before them. Plato ate olives and bread only ; and the water he drank was scarcely tinged with Lesbian wine. Alcibiades ralli- ed him upon this abstemiousness ; and Pericles reminded him that even his great pattern, Socrates, gave Dionysus his dues, while he worshipped the heaven-born Pallas. " The philosopher quietly replied, ' I can worship the fiery God of Vintage, only when married with Nymphs of the Fountain.' " ' But tell me, O Anaxagoras and Plato,' exclaimed Tithonus, ' if, as Hermippus hath said, the Grecian philosophers discard the theology of the poets ? Do ye not believe in the gods ? ' " Plato would have smiled, had he not reverenced the simpli- city that expected a frank and honest answer to a question so dangerous. Anaxagoras briefly replied, that the mind which did not believe in divine beings must be cold and dark indeed. " ' Even so, ' replied Artaphernes devoutly ; ' blessed be Oro- masdes, who sends Mithras to warm and enlighten the world ! But what surprises me most is, that you Grecians import new divinities from other countries as freely as slaves, or papyrus, or marble. The sculptor of the gods will scarcely be able to fash- ion half the images.' "'If the custom continues,' rejoined Phidias, 'it will indeed require a life-time as long as that conferred upon the namesake of Tithonus.' " ' Thanks to the munificence of artists, every deity has a rep- resentative in my dwelling,' observed Aspasia. " ' I have heard strangers express their surprise that^he Athe- nians have never erected a statue to the principle of Modesty,' said Hermippus. " ' So much the more need that we enshrine her image in our own hearts,' rejoined Plato. " The sarcastic comedian made no reply to this quiet re- buke. Looking toward Artaphernes, he continued : ' Tell me, O servant of the great king, wherein the people of your country are more wise in worshipping the sun, than we, who represent the same divinity in marble 1 ' " ' The principles of the Persian religion are simple, steady, and uniform,' replied Artaphernes; 'but the Athenian are always changing. You not only adopt foreign gods, but some- times create new ones, and admit them into your theology by solemn act of the great council. These circumstances have led me to suppose that you worship them as mere forms. The Per- 88 Mrs. Child's Philothea. [Jan. sian Magi do indeed prostrate themselves before the rising Sun ; but they do it in the name of Oromasdes, the universal Princi- ple of Good, of whom that great luminary is the visible symbol. In our solemn processions, the chariot sacred to Oromasdes pre- cedes the horse dedicated to Mithras ; and there is deep meaning in the arrangement. The Sun and the Zodiac, the Balance and the Rule, are but emblems of truths, mysterious and eternal. As the garlands we throw on the sacred fire feed the flame, rather than extinguish it, so the sublime symbols of our religion are intended to preserve, not to conceal, the truths within them.' " ' Though you disclaim all images of divinity,' rejoined Aspa- sia, 'yet we hear of your Mithras pictured like a Persian king, trampling on a prostrate ox.' "With a smile, Artaphernes replied, 'I see, lady, that yoti would fain gain admittance to the Mithraic cave ; but its secrets, like those of your own Eleusis, are concealed from all save the initiated.' " ' They tell us,' said Aspasia, ' that those who are admitted to the Eleusinian mysteries die in peace, and go directly to the Elysian fields ; while the uninitiated wander about in the infer- nal abyss.' " ' Of course,' said Anaxagoras, ' Alcibiades will go directly to Elysium, though Solon groped his way in darkness.' " The old philosopher uttered this with imperturbable gravity, as if unconscious of satirical meaning; but some of the guests could scarcely repress a smile, as they recollected the dissolute life of the young Athenian. " ' If Alcibiades spoke his real sentiments,' said Aspasia, ' I venture to say he would tell us that the mystic baskets of Deme- ter, covered with long purple veils, contain nothing half so much worth seeing, as the beautiful maidens who carry them.' " She looked at Pericles, and saw that he again cautioned her, by raising the rose toward his face, as if inhaling its fragrance. " There was a brief pause ; which Anaxagoras interrupted, by saying, 'The wise can never reverence images merely as ima- ges. There is a mystical meaning in the Athenian manner of supplicating the gods with garlands on their heads, and bearing in their hands boughs of olive twined with wool. Pallas, at whose birth we are told gold rained upon the earth, was unques- tionably a personification of wisdom. It is not to be supposed that the philosophers of any country consider the sun itself as any thing more than a huge ball of fire ; but the sight of that glo- rious orb leads the contemplative soul to the belief in one Pure Intelligence, one Universal Mind, which, in manifesting itself. 1837.] Mrs. Child's Fhilothea. 89 produces order in the material world, and preserves the uncon- fused distinction of infinite varieties.' " ' Such, no doubt, is the tendency of all reflecting minds/ said Phidias; ' but in general, the mere forms are worshipped, apart from the sacred truths they represent. The gods we have introduced from Egypt are regarded, by the priests of that learn- ed land, as emblems of certain divine truths brought down from ancient times. They are like the HerraiE at our doors, which outwardly appear to rest on inexpressive blocks of stone ; but when opened, they are found to contain beautiful statues of the gods within them. It is not so witii the new fables which the Greeks are continually mixing with their mythology. Pygmali- on, as we all know, first departed from the rigid outline of an- cient sculpture, and impressed life and motion upon marble. The poets, in praise of him, have told us tliat his ardent wishes warmed a statue into a lovely and breathing woman. The fable is fanciful and pleasing in itself; but will it not hereafter be believ- ed as reality 1 Might not the same history be told of much that is believed ? It is true,' added he, smiling, ' that I might be excused for favoring a belief in images, since mortals are ever willing to have their own works adored.' " ' What does Plato respond to the inquiries of Phidias ? ' asked Artaphernes. "The philosopher replied; 'Within the holy mysteries of our religion is preserved a pure and deep meaning, as the waters of Arethusa flow uncontaminated beneath the earth and the sea. I do not presume to decide, whether all that is believed has the inward significancy. I have ever deemed such speculations unwise. If the chaste daughter of Latona always appears to my thoughts veiled in heavenly purity, it is comparatively unimportant wheth- er I can prove that Acteon was torn by his dogs, for looking on the goddess with wanton eyes. Anaxagoras said wisely, tiiat material forms lead the contemplative mind to the worship of ideal good, which is in its nature immortal and divine. Homer tells us, that the golden chain resting upon Olympus reaches even to the earth. Here we see but a few of the last links, and those imperfectly. We are like men in a subterranean cave, so chain- ed that they can look only forward to the entrance. Far above and behind us is a glowing fire ; and beautiful beings, of every form, are moving between the light and us poor fettered mortals. Some of these bright beings are speaking, and others are silent. We see only the shadows cast on the opposite wall of the cavern, by the reflection of the fire above ; and if we hear the echo of voices, we suppose it belongs to those passing shadows. The soul, in its present condition, is an exile from the orb of VOL. XLIV. — NO. 94. 12 90 Mrs. Child's Philothea. [Jan. light ; its ignorance is forgetfulness ; and whatever we can per- ceive of truth, or imagine of beauty, is but a reminiscence of our former more glorious state of being. He who reverences the gods, and subdues his own passions, returns at last to the blest condition from which he fell. But to talk, or think, about these things with proud impatience, or polluted morals, is like pouring pure water into a miry trench; he who does it disturbs the mud, and thus causes the clear water to become defiled. When Odys- seus removed his armour from the walls, and carried it to an inner apartment, invisible Pallas moved before him with her gold- en lamp, and filled the place with radiance divine. Telema- chus, seeing the light, exclaimed, " Surely, my father, some of the celestial gods are present." With deep wisdom, the king of Ithaca replied, " Be silent. Restrain your intellect, and speak not." ' "'lam rebuked, O Plato,' answered Phidias; 'and from henceforth, when my mind is dark and doubtful, I will remem- ber that transparent drops may fall into a turbid well. Nor will I forget that sometimes, when I have worked on my statues by torch-light, I could not perceive their real expression, because I was carving in the shadow of my own hand.' " ' Little can be learned of the human soul, and its connexion with the Universal Mind,' said Anaxagoras. ' These sublime truths seem vague and remote, as Phoeacia appeared to Odysseus like a vast shield floating on the surface of the distant ocean. " ' The glimmering uncertainty attending all such speculations, has led me to attach myself to the Ionic sect, who devote them- selves entirely to the study of outward nature.' " • And this is useful,' rejoined Plato : ' The man who is to be led from a cave will more easily see what the heavens contain by looking to the light of the moon and the stars, than by gazing on the sun at noonday.' " — pp. 43 - 49.