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eloquent and ingenious man; but he who lives piously and morally can alone be entitled to our confidence. In this sense I understand the lines of Pope as referring to religious disputes among men of no moral principle
For modes of faith let graceless bigots fight;
Essay on Man, epist. iii. line 305.
Garrulity. Who has not observed that the longest stories are the most insignificant and dull. In fact, blockheads tell very long stories. Whatever the matter of them may be, they have no condensing powers, no "skill in intellectual distillation,” by which the essence of their tales might be extracted. Quam multa quam paucis, is a very good description of a pleasing style. As Tacitus has too much matter for his few words, the contrary is true of prosers. Cowper, in his Task, calls them, humorously,
Sedentary weavers of long tales. Indeed the tales of such men seem rather manufactures, than natural productions.
Theory and Practice often at Variance. Boccalini * wrote a treatise on government, so much approved of, that Pope Paul V. appointed him to rule over a city in Italy, but soon recalled him, from an incapacity to govern. M. Boileau wrote a very excellent art of poetry, and many very dull, and now forgotten poems; and John Locke, with all his powers of reasoning, wrote on government with such questionable principles, that only one party has adopted them, and his laws for the government of Carolina were never put in practice.
* Warton's Notes to Pope,
This very singular practice in Greece set all the evil passions of envy and jealousy among the
many” against their superiors, and kept the minds of the people in a continual state of real or imaginary jealousies, and fears of being tyrannized over by their great generals, and others in hig power. Miltiades, though a man famed for his virtues and his conquests, found, as Horáce says, that envy submits only to death.
Supremo fine do mari.
And Cornelius Nepos, at the end of the life of that hero, says, “ the people, reflecting upon these things, were more willing that he should be punished, than that they themselves should continue under their apprehensions from his power.
Where opposite interests prevail, we do not wonder that two of a trade cannot agree; but it might be expected that, in regard to our amuse. ments, if we were unanimous, we should not be litigious, yet the huntsman ridicules the fisherman; the musician laughs at them both; and, like rude boys at play, we seem eager to snatch the playthings from each other's hands, and prove the truth of Dryden's well-known apothegna
Men are but children of a larger growth.
Anecdote of Timanthes, the famous Greek painter,
considered in the sacrifice of Iphigenia. It was an instance, indeed, of the ingenuity of the artist, to cast o er the face of Agamemnon a veil, but it surely confesses the imperfection of the art or his skill. “ The praises," says a late great painter,,“
on this invention of Timanthes were bestowed by persons* wbo themselves were not painters. They used it only as an illustration of their own art (oratory). It served their purpose, and it certainly was not their business to enter into the objections that lie against it in another art.”Sir J. Reynolds, discourse 8. See also Fuseli's Lectures, 4to.
Cicero and Quintilian.
Poetry and Music. These have been, by some theorists, considered as sister arts; and indeed this analogy of relation is striking, wben we consider, that their different modes of obtaining their common end (viz. exciting pleasure) often produce the same jealousy which two sisters may be supposed to feel, who are attached to one and the same lover. The poet is jealous of the composer, lest he should render the lines of the poem flat or unintelligible by the nice divisions and subdivisions peculiar to his art; and the musician is afraid that strong sense and nervous language should impede the fluency of his notes, or render the melody feeble and confused. So the two sister arts seldom agree, or look for any compromise where mutual jealousy so strongly operates. It may be a question, whether in some parts* Milton would have approved of Handel's composing his L'Allegro.
Cowley and Milton's Prose Style. It seems very singular that Milton, who had a very high opinion of the literary genius of his predecessor in the tuneful art, should yet so far overlook the simple, elegant, and melodious style of Cowley in his prose works, and adopt the reverse of all these good qualities in writing, when he was employed on his own prose essays. Nothing but the most inveterate pedantry could have led so great a man into so foul an error; for it requires all our reverence for the genius of Milton in his poetry to induce the reader to plod in the prose of this illustrious bard,
* The attempts at imitating, by musical notes, the poetic imagery.
And through the palpable obscure, find out
Par. L. b.ii.i. 405.
A Critic described in the Fashionable_Style
of Antithesis. A respectable and sensible, though no literary, man asked his friend M. Fontenelle what he should say of some poems that were brought him frequently to give his opinion of their merits. Say
stuff,' said the philosopher drily, and nine times out of ten your criticism will be just.' This easy mode of judging of literary merit is from facility become popular. Mr. G- without learning is pedantic, without wit satirical, diffuse without being perspicuous, minute without precision, and dogmatical without the powers of instruction. Yet is Mr. G-a formidable critic on Fontenelle's plan, and finds it easy to censure en masse, when the true analytical process of balancing the good, bad,