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humour, it is in vain for bim to be in a huff: he must move and kindle them by degrees, otherwise lie will be in danger of setting his own stubble on fire, and burning out himself, without burning the company."-Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy, Dryden's prose works, vol. ii.
N.B. It is singular that Dryden, who, in his tragedies, often sets his own stubble on fire, should quote this passage from J. Dennis with appro. bation “ Lee was not madder in some cases than the great Dryden.”
To combine great crimes and vices with eminent virtues in the same character, as in the
Robber," the “ Stranger,” &c. and to conciliate the audience to a vicious character, is too often the blemish of the German drama. . However a sentimental reader, English or Gerinan, may weep tenderly at such representations, yet the man of principle and sound intellect will read such attempts to confound virtue and vice with just indignation, and fully concur with the sentiments of our great Dramatist
Force would prevail, or rather right and wrong
Troilus and Cressida, scena 5
Grief and Joy. The cups of sorrow and happiness seem to have their limited capacities, and to contain a given quantity; after which the contents overflow, and are lost on the ground. A man full of sorrows has no feeling of the fresh miseries of his friends around him. The author of the “ Shipwreck" (a fine but neglected poem) describes strongly and justly the state of men of a crew in danger of seeing their vessel and their companions wrecked, and fearing their destruction :
Those who remain their fearful doom await,
The Shipwreck, canto 3,
Chemistry, its Difficulties. As the pursuit of this science is now so popular, that the idle' and the busy man seem equally zealous in the toils of the laboratory, a caution from an eminent writer and cliemist on the subject will no doubt be acceptable to the modest student in this branch of philosophy. “ There is far greater trouble in making experiments, than those who have not been accustomed to the business can readily conceive; many niceties are to be
attended to, the least of which being omitted, the conclusion becomes doubtful. The mind, more. over, having once acquired the striking outlines of knowledge, bas not always patience to attempt filling up the minuter part of the design, especially if its attention can be but accidentally employed on the subject."— Chemical Essays, by R. Watson, D.D. F. R. S. vol. ii. 12 mo.
Hirts to Novelists, Poets, and Sentimentalists.
“There is something amusing to the imagination in the idea of a lonely cottage : in a woody country, it can hardly fail to be more or less picturesque, and seclusion is apt to excite a soothing notion of a freedom from the vices of society. Innocence, it is to be hoped, may be found in all situations ; but there are vices of solitude as well as of crowded cities, and those who have had opportunity for observation will not believe that lonely cottages are generally the abodes of innocence. A dwelling out of the view of men has a tendency to promote far more the predatory character of the night-prowling fox, than the quiet temper of the gregarious sheep, or the valuable industry of the swarming bee."-- Principles of Design in Architecture; printed for Cadell and Davies, 1809.
Study. The following sentences, from Mr. Locke's Thoughts concerning Reading, cannot be too deeply impressed on the mind of the student. Having just before recommended a strict examination of all propositions laid before us, and declaring that without this process a man doth bat talk after the books which he hath read, collecting learning instead of knowledge, he goes on,-“ the Jast step therefore in improving the understanding is to find out upon what foundation any proposition advanced bottoms, and to observe the connection of the intermediate ideas by which it is joined to that foundation or that principle from which it is derived. This, in short, is right reasoning, and by this way alone true knowledge is to be got by reading and studying.”—Collection of several Pieces of John Locke, not extant in his works. 1724.
Locke on the Human Understanding. It was objected by a friend to Mr. Locke, that this celebrated treatise was too diffuse in its style, by the admission of frequent repetitions of the same ideas in various modes of expression. Mr. Locke answered, that these repetitions were intentionally inserted, in order that some readers might have the opportunity of apprehending the subject by its being put into a variety of ways. Had this great writer brought several illustrations, instead of different forms of expressions, the method would have been more satisfactory. To this diffuseness of style, if the controversial nature of the subject be added, considerable difficulties arise among young readers of this profound inquiry into the origin of our ideas. Abridgements of this treatise were published in 1808, London, 1 vol. 8vo. "more suitable to the patience of the younger student; and Wynne's, published, 1 vol. 8vo. London, 1696.
This author is a singular instance of a man of talents and learning being without the power, or but in a small degree, of interesting his reader. His tragedies few can read; and his comedies are not only unentertaining, but abound in characters which the “ earth owns not." In Every Man in his Humour, there is a character, Master Mathew, which is composed of excessive folly and imbecility. Such a personage Jonson knew himself, on the authority of the ancient critics,* was not admissible on the stage, and common sense confirms the decree. Master Mathew is a dead weight
* See Aristotle's Poetics.