previous next
[42] sketch of Mr. Jeffrey, in the letter to Mr. Daveis, will be recognized as an admirable pen-portrait, especially for so young an artist. The power of drawing characters with a firm and discriminating touch does not usually come till later in life. Mr. Jeffrey came to America in a cartel, in the depth of winter. Having, in Edinburgh, made the acquaintance of Miss Wilkes, of New York, he crossed the ocean to seek her for his wife, and won her.

To Edward T. Channing.

Essex St., April, 1812, 11 P. M.
dear Ned,—By Jove, you are a rare one! Nature may run over all the old spoons in her mint, and never make two ninepences like you. Two such as you don't come in one generation. ‘Non terra duos soles, neque Asia, duos reges tolerare pbtest’; and if two Ned Channings should fall together, the world would not know which end it stood upon. Only an hour ago you went off, convincing me that I was a fool, and did not know my Horace. You shut up my mouth, when I was right, by a sleight of hand peculiar to yourself; and these presents are to let you know that I shall understand you for the future.

Touching that passage,—Sat. 1, line 100,—the facts are these. Horace, in conversation with a miser, endeavors to dissuade him from parsimony, by telling him that one Numidius had his brains beat out for it by his servant. This wench he calls ‘fortissima Tyndaridarum,’ not because she was one of the descendants of Tyndarus, but because she was more brave than the daughters of Tyndarus, Helen and Clytemnestra, who had murdered their husbands, Deiphobus and Agamemnon. The same objection, therefore, lies against this, which meets us in Paradise Lost, Book IV.; for Horace had no more right to say that this liberta was the boldest of the daughters of Tyndarus— when she was none of them—than Milton had to call ‘Adam the goodliest man of men since born his sons.’

The cases, you must confess, are parallel, and, to save your feelings, literary vanity, etc., etc., I will acknowledge that the case of Milton is the strongest and most obvious.

Homer, however, settles the whole question. He says that Thetis went to heaven and implored Jupiter to honor her son, telling him, as a motive, that his life would be very short. But, on your ground, how could he be the most short-lived of the rest?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Milton (2)
Francis Jeffrey (2)
John Wilkes (1)
Thetis (1)
Numidius (1)
Ned (1)
Paradise Lost (1)
Jupiter (1)
Homer (1)
Deiphobus (1)
Charles S. Daveis (1)
Ned Channings (1)
Edward T. Channing (1)
Agamemnon (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April, 1812 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: