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[p. 100] Religion and Philosophy in Central Asia, in French, by a Count Gobineau, resident French Ambassador in Athens, giving a wonderful account of the Babs, modern reformers of Islamism in Persia. Besides, a new translation of the seven tragedies of Sophocles, by Mr. Plumtree. This sent me to Greek again, and I have really turned off, after my slipshod fashion, two hundred lines this morning of the Philoctetes, which I pronounce, as far as I know, the most human, Christian, and modern of all the dramas of the great tragedian. Young Neoptolemus appears as a thoroughly honorable high-born youth, with an instinctive honesty which loathes and despises the arts and management of the crafty Odysseus. I have read too, again, with attention, Lessing's Miss Sara Sampson, and it seems to me one of the most touching lovely portraits ever drawn of a woman made up of love.

Letter June 14, 1863.

I am reading with deep interest as much as I can understand of Sir Chas. Lyell's on the Antiquity of the Human Race. Once admit his statements, all of which seem drawn from the older irrefragable scripture of Nature, and what is to be done with all the Mosaic chronicles and poetic myths concerning the golden age, man's original perfections and subsequent fall, and the fabulous chronology which makes the human race to be comparatively of yesterday? Then again, how awful it is to contemplate the far-off depths of time, and ask, where now are the countless generations who slowly crawled upwards through the cycles of ages, first of stone implements, next of bronze, and lastly of iron, till at last the glorious being which man now is, with all his imperfections, stands forth lord of the material world in which he has so long grovelled. The brain aches with meditating upon such problems.

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