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thoughtful, melancholy, and raving for divers days, who forthwith grew worderfully easy, lightsome, and cheerful
, upon a discharge of the peccant humour in exceeding purulent metre. Nor can I question, but abundance of untimely deaths are occafioned for want of this laudable vent of unruly passions ; yea, perhaps, in poor wretches (which is very lamentable), for mere want of pen, ink, and
pa. per ! From herce it follows, that a fupprestion of the ve ry worst poetry is of dangerous consequence to the state. We find by experience, that the same humours which yent themselves in luinmer in ballads and sonnets, are condeo. sed, by the winter's cold, into pamphlets and speeches for and against the ministry : nay, I know pot, but many times a piece of poetry may be the most innocent compo. Gtion of a minister hiinself.
It is therefore manifeft, that mediocrity ought to be al. lowed, yea, indulged, to the good subjects of England. Nor can I conceive how the world has swallowed the contrary maxiin upon the single authority of Horace *, W by should the golden mean, and quintessence of all virtues
, be deemed so offensive in this arı? or coolness or medio. crity be fo amiable a quality in a man, and so detestable in a poet?
However, far be it from me to compare these writers with those great spirits, who are born with a vivacité de pefantenr, or (as an English author calls it) an alacri
ty of Ginking +;" and who by strength of nature alone, can excel. All I mean, is to evince the necellity of rules to these of lesser geniuses, as well as the ule ulocis of them to the greater.
CH A P. IV,
Fhut there is an art of the bathos, or profund.
E come now to prove, that there is an art of finking in poetry. Is there pot an architecture of
Mediocribus effe poetis Non dii, son bomines, &c. -HOR. Popr. t Spoken by Falltaff of himselt in Shakespear's Merry Wives of Windsur. Hawkefworlh.
vaults, and cellars, as well as lofty domes and pyramids? Is there not as much skill and labour in making ditches, as in raising mounts? Is there not an art of diving as well as of Aying ? and will any sober practitioner affirm, that a diving engine is not of lingular use in making hiin long wieded, affitting his descent, and furnishing him with more ingenious means of keeping under water?
If we search the authors of antiquity, we shall find as few to have been distinguished in the true profund, as in the true sublime. And the very fame thing (as it appears from Longinus) had been imagined of that, as now of this : Dainely, that it was entirely the gift of nature. I grani, thai, 10 excel in the bathos, a genius is requisite ; yet the rules of art must be a Howed so far utetul, as lo add weight, or, as I may fay, hang on lead to facilitate and enforce our descent, to guide us to the most advantageous declivities, and habituate our iinagination to a depth of thinking. Many there are that can full, but few can arrive at the felicity of falling gracefully; much more for a man, who is amongst the lowest of the creati. on, at the very bottom of the atmosphere ; to descend beneath himlelf, is not so ealy a task, unless he calls in art to his assistance. It is with ihe büthos as with Imall beer, which is indeed vapid and insipid, if left at large and let abroad; but being, by our rules, confined and well stopt, nothing grows fo frothy, pert, and bouncing.
The sublime of nature is the sky, the fun, moon, stars, &c. The profund of nature is gold, pearls, precious stones, and the treasures of the deep, which, arel ivesti. mable as unknown. But all that lies between these, as corn, fowers, fruits, animals, and things for the mere use of man, are of mean price, and lo common as not to be greatly esteemed by the curious. It being certain that any thing, of which we know the true ule, cannot be invaluable : which affords a solution, why common sense bath either beer totally delpiled, or held in linall repute, by the greatest inodern critics and authors.
CH A P. V.
of the true genius for the profund, and by what it is com
ND I will venture to lay it down, as the first max.
im and corner-stone of this our art ; that whoever would excel therein, must studiously avoid, detest, and turn his head from all the ideas, ways, and workings of that peftilent foe to wit, and destroyer of fine figures, which is known by the name of common sense. His bufiness must be to contract the true gout de travers; and to acquire a most happy, uncommon, unaccountable way of thinking
He is to consider hintelf as a grotesque painter, whose works would helpoiled by an initation of nature, or unis formity of design. He is to mingle bits of the most vari. ou, or discordant kinds, landscape, history, portraits, a. nimals, and connect them with a great deal of Rourishing, by head or tail, as it Mill please his imagination, and con. tribute to bis principal end, which is to glare by strong oppositions of colours, aod furprize by contrariety of images.
Serpentes avibus geminentur, tigribus dgni. Hor..
His design ought to be like a labyrinth, out of which no body can get clear but bimfelf. And since the great art of all poetry is to mix truth with fiction, in order to join the credible with the surpriziug.; our author shall. produce the credible, by painting nature in her lowest simplicity, and the surprizing, by contradicting common opinion. In the very inanners be will affect the marvelozis; he will draw Achilles with the patience of Job; a prince talking like a jack-pudding ; a maid of honour selling bargains; a footman speaking like a philosopher ; and a fine gentleman like a scholar. Whoever is converfant in inodern plays, may make a most noble collection of this kind, and at the same time förın a complete body. of modern ethics and morality.
Nothing seemed more plain to our great authors, than that the world hach long been weary of natural things..
How much the contrary are formed to please, is evident, from the universal applause daily given to the admirable entertainments of harlequins and magicians on our stage. When an audience behold a coach turned into a wheel. barrow, a conjuror into an old woman, or a man's head where his heels should be; how are they struck with transport and delight? which can only be imputer to this cause, that each object is changed into that which hath been suggested to thern by their own low ideas before.
He ought therefore to render himself master of this hapo py and anti-natural way of thinking, to such a degree, as to be able, on the appearance of any object, to furnishi; hit imagination with ideas infinitely below it. And bis eyes should be like unto the wrong end of a perspective glass, by which all the objects of vature are lessened.
For example ; when a true genius looks upon the sky, he immediately catches the idea of a piece of blue luetefring, 'or a child's mantle.
The skies, whore spreading volumes scarce have room,
If he looks - upon a tempeft, he shall have an image of a tumbled bed, and describe a fucceeding calm in this manner s
The ocean, joyed to see the tempel fled,
The triumphs and acclamations of the angels at the creation of the universe, present to his imagination " the “ rejoicings on the Lord Mayor's day ;” and be beholds those glorious beings celebrating their creator, by huzzaing, making illuminations, and Anging fquibs, crackers, '* and My rockets.
Glorious illuminations; made on high
# Prince Arthur, P: 41, 42•
In just degrees, and shining order placed,
If a man, who is violently fond of wit, will facrifice to that passion his friend or his God, would it not be a shame, if he who is smit with the love of the buthos, should not facrifice so it all other transitory regards ? You shall hear a zealous protestant deacon invoke a faint, and mo. destly belceech her to do more for us than Providence.
Look down, blef saint, with pity then look down,
In which we pray ti Neither will he, if a gooully fimile come in his way, scruple to affirm himself an eye-witness of things bever yet beheld by man, or dever in existence ; as thus;
Thus have I feen in Araby the bief,
But to convince you, that nothing is fo great, whichi a marvellous genius, prompted by this laurlable zeal,is poc able to leren; hear how the most subiime of all beings is represented in the following images.
Prince Arthur, p. 50. W. B. In order to do justice to these great poets, our citations Are taken from the best, the lart, and most correct editions of their works. That which we ufe of Prince Arthur, is in duodecimo, 1734, the fourth edition revised. Pope. † A. Philips on the death of O. Mary. Avon.