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THE

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE,

AND

LITERARY MISCELLANY,

BEING A NEW SERIES OF
The Scots Magazine.

AUGUST 1820.

· CONTENTS. Life of the Wizard Michael Scott, Extract from Mrs Opie's Tales of the (Concluded.) ...moocomm..............99 | Heart ...

............152 Origin of the Venetian Festivals ........104 | On Impersonal Verbsanom.mmmmmmmmmm.. 155 Remarks on Keats's Poems mo....107 | Description of a Roman Villa near Account of the Discovery of New South Blenheim ...........................159

Shetland ; with Observations on its | Poetry cover.co. ..commemorenommen... 160

Importance mo....common annansowan1101 LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC Specimens of a New Translation of the

INTELLIGENCE. Comedies of Terence.--The Fair An

University of Edinburgh-New Metal drian.—The Arts of Phormio com... 113 - Diamond-Steam Brig-Carriage Remarks on Crawfurd's History of the

with Sails -Scientific Voyage Indian Archipelago, (Continued.)...120 |

French Clergy - Sour-Krout, &c. Description of a Storm." From Marci

&c. &c. moms.com .........como com.161 an Colonna sonora...ammarmow123 Works Preparing for Publication.com.164 Correspondence of the De Coverley Fa- Monthly List of New Publications.....166

mily. No. III. mamamman.comm.124 Historical Notices of the Popular Su

MONTHLY REGISTER. perstitions, Traditions, and Customs Foreign Intelligence amonmuraman... 170 of Tiviotdale. No. III. ..meman... 128

Parliamentary Intelligence .. ..... 173 Living Authors. A Dream. camcom..133

British Chronicle orase.com.woma.. 174 Establishment of a General Board of British Legislation memoran.......178

Health for Ireland mamma.com.mm.141 Appointments, Promotions, &c.m.... 179 Second Letter from the Author of Es. Meteorological Table manancaman maww..181

says on Phrenology i nnow.143 | Agricultural Report mom.....manoma. ib. On the English Dramatic Writers who

Commercial Report macamanan.com...183 preceded Shakespeare. No. VIII...148 | Births, Marriages, and Deaths.wow..... 188

EDINBURGH:
FOR ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND COMPANY.

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TO CORRESPONDENTS.' :. We hope no accident has befallen the BYSTANDER. If he does not pay us a visit next month, we shall be under a serious alarm. Perhaps he is only " in love, or in the gout." Either of these maladies may afford him an amusing subject for a paper, when the fit is over.

The Critique on the Drama of the Legend of Montrose is too sublimely composed for our humble pages.

*** The Correspondents of the EDINBURGH MAGAZINE AND LITERARY MISCELLANY are respectfully requested to transmit their Communications for the Editor to ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE and COMPANY, Edinburgh, or LongMAN and COMPANY, London; to whom also orders for the Work should be particularly addressed. i

Printed by George Ramsay & Co.

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LIFE OF THE WIZARD

of the fantastic and puerile philosoMichael Scott.

phy of the thirteenth century.

At the particular request of Frede(Concluded from p. 499, Vol. VI.) ric, Micliael, during his residence at Before their eyes the Wizard lay,

his court, composed his treatise on As if he had not been dead a day ;

physiognomy, entitled Phisionomia His hoary beard in silver rolled,

et de Hominis Procreatione. He has He seemed some seventy winters old.

divided this singular and absurd disA palmer's amice wrapt him round,

sertation into three parts. In the With a wrought Spanish baldric bound first he treats De Generatione HomiLike a pilgrim from beyond the sea : nis, founding his doctrines regard. The lamp was placed beside his knee : ing this mysterious subject upon His left hand held his book of might, the principles of Aristotle and Galen. A silver cross was in his right,

In the second part are enumerated High and majestic was his look,

the various signs which enable us to At which the fellest fiends had shook,

form a judgment of the different disAnd all unruffled was his face,

positions of men and women ; and in They trusted his soul had gotten grace. Lay of the Last Minstrel. Canto II.

the third division of the work, he has

laid down certain rules by which we We left the Wizard engaged in may discern, from an examination of translating Aristotle at the court of the various parts of the body, the parFrederic the Second. A particular ticular mental qualities and ruling inaccount of all the treatises of this phi- clinations of the individual. This losopher, which he presented in a La- treatise of the magician's is not only tin dress to his patron the Emperor, absurd in its principles, but indecent would be unnecessarily dry and fa- to a high degree in its descriptions tiguing. He who is curious in trac- and illustrations. It commences with ing the early history of the peripatetic a laboured and dignified proemium to philosophy, will find his translations Frederic, of which it is one remarkaenumerated by Dempster, Tanner, ble feature, that he addresses this reand Pitseus. * His original works are presentative of the Cæsars more in more worthy of notice, although it the familiar style of a sage who in, must be allowed that they give a structs a disciple, than of an author strange and rather revolting picture who lays his work at the feet of an • The list of his works given by Mac

emperor. If we are to give credit to kenzie in his Lives, Vol. I. p. 214, is very

another part of this dedication, he had imperfect, nor is Niceron, Vol. XV. p.

not only managed to insinuate him101, to be relied on. Roger Bacon, in his

self into the confidence of this warOpus Majus, p. 36, 37, seems to ascribe

like prince, but it was by his particu. a great portion of Aristotle's fame amongst

lar advice that the emperor encourthe philosophers of his day to the transla. aged the resort of so many ingenious tion of his works by Michael Scott.

philosophers and learned doctors to his court, and that he was wont laying booke,” says the English translator, aside the pomp and terror of a con- " is to make a man able to judge of queror, to engage with them in friend- the disposition and state of his own ly argument and familiar discourse. body; of the effects, natures, and dis• Herice," says he, “ it is by my ad- positions of those things wherewith vice and counsel that learned men, we daily feed our bodies. The next and grave and ingenious doctors, are is to give us a general insight and found around thee at thy court, and brief notice of histories, and men of that thou art often induced to enter greatest fame and note; and the next into discourse with them, engaging is, that here we may recreate and them in conversation with wisdom and make merry ourselves at our tables.” urbanity."*

He adds, that it is a work of " speAccording to Michael's definition, cial notice in this kind, and written physiognomy is a science of a very first in Latin by Michal Scotus." high character, embracing within its From this sketch of the contents and range some of the noblest subjects on nature of the Philosopher's Banquet, which the human intellect can be em- we may believe that the discussions it ployed. " It is the doctrine of safe-. contains are somewhat heterogeneous ty, the election of good, ihe avoidance and dissimilar. It treats of Ram's of evil. It is the comprehension of Flesh in one chapter, and of the Bi* virtue, the detestation and prætermis- shops of the Gentiles in another of sion of vice. The knowledge of this Pot Herbs, and Wicked Women. Its science is induced and created by the investigates the actions of kings and true love of God, and the fear of the emperors, and explains the causes why devil-by the meritorious principle of some eggs crack in the fire, and others faith, and the hope of the imperisha- do not. It treats of the nature and ble reward of eternal life.” t

properties of friendship, and endea- When we compare this high wrought vours to determine whether fishes definition with the shallow and trif- chew their meat or no. Last of all, ling opinions, and the indecent ribaldry it contains certain honest and merry which, under the name of philosophy, jests, “ to exhilarate our bodies and compose the greatest part of the work, minds at our tables, which are to be it is difficult to say whether we should served in, like carawayes, at the end be most surprised at the folly of the of our feast.” This could scarcely be author who could write, or of the pub- written by Michael Scott-we must lic which could greedily swallow, no believe it to have been the work of less than thirteen editions of so dis- some philosophic cook, or some very gusting a production.

cookish philosopher, although it must Another work which has been as- be allowed that the frequent quota; cribed to Michael Scott, although it tions from the volumes of Arabiam is not to be found in the pages of physicians and sages, from Rases, A. Dempster, or the catalogue of Tanner, verroes, and Avicenna, give some is the “Mensa Philosophica,” a trans- countenance to the supposition of its lation of which was published in Eng- having been the performance of the land in the year 1609, entitled, “ The Wizard. Philosopher's Banquet, furnished with In addition to these, Gesner ina few Dishes for Health, but large forms us that he composed, for the Discourse for Pleasure.” This is a recreation of the Emperor, a Treatise very whimsical performance, and if on the Sphere of Sacrobosco,-a work we look to a passage at the commence- entitled Astronomical Diagranıs, -a ment of the 'thirtieth chapter, a book on the Opinions of Astrologers, strong presumption arises, that it was a dissertation on Chiromancy,--and not written by our Scottish philo- another book on the Signs of the Pla. sopher. This supposition will be nets. * strengthened by a reference to the The dissertation on the Sphere, very ludicrous subjects of several of written by John de Sacrobosco, amahis chapters, and the culinary remarks thematical doctor of the thirteenth which are thrown in to garnish and century, who has been highly praised enrich the style. “ The use of this by Regiomontanus and Melancthon,

was one of the most popular works of Phisionomia, p. !, edit. 1477. . + Ibid. p. 2.

* Gesner, Biblioth. p. 607.

this age. *. It has run through in would happen at a certain castle named numerable editions-it kept posses. Fiorenzola. The prophecy, accordsion of the schools for four centuries ing to Granger, in his Commentary : -and, during this long period, it has, on Dante, in due time was strictly in the words of Leland, been sought fulfilled. Frederic, as he was praying out, studied, and painfully handled by in the chapel of the castle of Fiorenthe whole-herd of mathematicians.” zola, at the time when the bell was, Upon this mathematical treasure Mi- ringing, was struck on the head by a chael Scott composed the work en- stone which had been loosened by the titled Super autorem Sphæræ Ques- rope; the wound proved mortal; and tiones. Justinian de Rubeira, à his death, of course, imparted addi. printer of Bologna, in the year 1495, tional lustre to the supernatural enabout two hundred years after the dowments of his late astrologer. * death of its author, published an edi. After a residence of many years 'in tion of this treatise, with the follow. Gerinany, Michael passed over into ing title, showing that the lapse of England, on his return to his native two centuries, so far from impairing, country. Edward I. then filled the had added freshness to the scientific throne, and was employed at this pereputation of our Scottish astronomer. riod in those able and treacherous “ The work of Michael Scott, that schemes for the subjugation of Scotmost excellent and inimitable investi- land, in which he spared neither gator of the motions of Nature and blood nor money, and regarded neithe courses of the Stars, upon the au- ther truth nor honour, provided he thor of the Sphere, with the Mathe- accomplished his purpose. It was matical questions most diligently cor- one part of his policy to endeavour to recied.”+

lower and brutalize the character of the - Frederie, however, whose time was Scottish people, by compelling all the now occupied by schemes of ambition, learned scholars of the nation to reside and his exchequer drained by conti- at the universities of England. “This nual and expensive wars, could pro- year," (1302) says Antony Wood, bably afford to give little else than the King compelled all such Scotch empty praise to his philosophic in- men as were of singular knowledge in structor; and although Michael, in learning or literature to be resident in the spirit of the age, had become an Oxford, doubting lest the Scotch noexperienced alchymist, this delusive bility, increasing in politic prudence science must rather have impoverish- by their instructions, should seek to ed than enriched him.

throw off the yoke of bondage." + The It is likely that these reasons in- celebrated John Duns Scoius was one duced him to bid farewell to the court of those scholars who suffered under of the emperor, and to devote him- this persecution. Along with eleven self seriously to the study of medicine other ecclesiastical prisoners, he was as a profession. In this art he soon led chained and a captive into Engarrived at the greatest reputation, and land. I Michael Scott's destiny was possessed, if we may believe an able, though anonymous, author, the most miraculous skill. I “ Dira illa (says

* Naude Apologie, p. 497. he) lepram podagram, hydropsin,

It ought not to be concealed, that Chris

toforo Landini, in his Commentary on aliaque insanabilia corporis contagia

Dante, published at Florence in 1482, tells arte sua mirifice,'et nullo ut videatur

the story somewhat differently. Michael, negotio sustulit.”

according to him, told Frederic that he Michael, as a last service to the

would die at Florence ; but the similarity emperor, predicted to him the place of the name, says he, deceived the wizard, in which he was fated to finish his for the emperor died at Fiorenzola, a royal career, asserting that his death stone from the belfry falling upon his head

when he was praying, " which, when he • See Tanner, Biblioth. p. 370 ; Bruck. had taken up and weighed, he found it waser, VOL. III. p. 868.

of the exact weight which had been foretold, + Panzeri, Annales Typog. Vol. I. p. and knew that he would die, which happens 231.

ed accordingly.* MS. Anonymi de claris Doctrina Scop' + Hist. Oxf. Vol. I. p. 366. tis.' In Sir R. Sibbald Ms. Hist. Litera. Vita Joan. Dunsii, a Mathco Veglen. ria Gentis Scotorum, prescrved in thc Ad- se, a very rare book, published at Padua vocates' Library.

in 1671.

7.

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