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“ As for this book of Aphorisms, it is
lord Bacon's of the same title, a “ book of jefts, or a grave collection of trite “ and triding observations; of which though
many are true and certain, yet they signify nothing, and
may afford diversion, but no “ inftruction; most of them being much in“ ferior to the sayings of the wise men of
Greece, which yet are so low and mean, " that we are entertained every day with
more valuable sentiments at the table-con“ versation of ingenious and learned men.'
I am unwilling however to leave him in total disgrace, and will therefore quote from another Preface a passage less reprehensible.
“ Some gentlemen have been disingenuous 5 and unjust to me, by wresting and forcing my meaning in the Preface to another book,
if I condemned and exposed all learning, though they knew I declared that I greatly “ honoured and esteemed all men of superior s literature and erudition; and that I only “ undervalued false or superficial learning, " that signifies nothing for the service of Vol. III.
“ mankind; and that, as to physick, I ex« pressly affirmed that learning must be joined " with native genius to make a physician of
the first rank; but if those talents are fepa~ rated, I asserted, and do still insist, that a
man of native fagacity and diligence will
prove a more able and useful practiser, " than a heavy notional scholar, encumbered “ with a heap of confused ideas,”?
He was not only a poet and a physician, but produced likewise a work of a different kind, A true and impartial History of the ConSpiracy against King William, of glorious Memory, in the Year 1695.' This I have never feen, but suppose it at least compiled with integrity. He engaged likewise in theological controversy, and wrote two books against the Arians; Just Prejudices against the Arian Hypothesis; and Modern Arians unmasked. Another of his works is Natural Theology, or Moral Duties considered apart from Positive; with some Observations on the Desirableness and Necessity of a supernatural Revelation. This was the last book that he published. He left behind him The accomplished Preacher, or an
Ejay upon Divine Eloquence; which was printed after his death by Mr, White of Nayland in Effex, the minister who attended his deathbed, and testified the fervent piety of his last hours. He died on the eighth of Odober, 1729
BLACKMORE, by the unremitted enmity of the wits, whom he provoked more by his virtue than his dulness, has been exposed to worse treatment than he deferved; his name was so long used to point every epigram upon dull writers, that it became at last a bye-word of contempt: but it deserves observation, that malignity takes hold only of his writings, and that his life passed without reproach, even when his boldness of reprehension naturally turned upon
many eyes desirous to espy faults, which many tongues would have made haste to publish. But those who could not blame, could at least forbear to praise, and therefore of his private life and domestick character there are no memorials,
As an author he may justly claim the ho.. nours of magnanimity. The incessant attacks of his enemies, whether serious or merry, are never discovered to have disturbed his quiet, or to have lessened his confidence in himself; they neither awed him to silence nor to caution; they neither provoked him
to petulance, nor depressed him to complaints While the distributors of literary fame were endeavouring to depreciate and degrade him, he either despised or defied them, wrote on as he had written before, and never turned aside to quiet them by civility, or repress them by confutation.
He depended with great security on his own powers, and perhaps was for that reason less diligent in perusing books. His literature was, I ,
I think, but small. What he knew of antiquity, I suspect him to have gathered from modern compilers: but though he could not boast of much critical knowledge, his mind was stored with general principles, and he left minute researches to those whom he considered as little minds.
With this disposition he wrote most of his poems. Having formed a magnificent design, he was careless of particular and subordinate elegancies; he studied no niceties of versification; he waited for no felicities of fancy; but caught his first thoughts in the first words in which they were presented: nor does it appear that he saw beyond his own perform