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is not,

“ does he express a savage nature, in fastening upon

the celebrated author, dwelling upon “ his imaginary defects, and passing over his “ conspicuous excellences. He treats all “ writers upon the same impartial foot; and « is like the little critics, taken up entirely “ in finding out only the beauties of the an

cient, and nothing but the errors of the mo“ dern writers. Never did anyone express more “ kindness and good nature to young and unfi“ nished authors; he promotes their interests, “ protects their reputation, extenuates their

faults, and sets off their virtues, and by his can“ dour guards them from the severity of his “ judgement. He is not like those dry critics, “ who are morose because they cannot write

themselves, but is himself master of a good vein “ in poetry; and though he does not often em

ploy it, yet he has sometimes entertained « his friends with his unpublished perform


The rest of the Lay Monks seem to be but feeble mortals, in comparison with the gigantic Johnson; who yet, with all his abilities, and the help of the fraternity, could drive the publication but to forty papers, which were



afterwards collected into a volume, and called in the title a Sequel to the Spectators.

Some years afterwards (1716 and 1717) he published two volumes of Essays in prose, which can be commended only as they are written for the highest and noblest purpose, the promotion of religion. Blackmore's profe is not the profe of a poet ; for it is languid, sluggish, and lifeless; his diction is neither daring nor exact, his flow neither rapid nor easy, and his perioda neither smooth nor strong: His account of Wit will shew with how little clearness he is content to think, and how little his thoughts are recommended by his lan. guage.

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“ As to its efficient cause, Wit owes its pro$c duction to an extraordinary and peculiar “ temperament in the constitution of the pof$ fessor of it, in which is found a concur

rence of regular and exalted ferments, and

an affluence of animal spirits, refined and “ rectified to a great degree of purity; whence,

being endowed with vivacity, brightness, “ and celerity, as well in their reflexions as direct motions, they become proper in

" ftruments

« struments for the spritely operations of the “ mind; by which means the imagination can " with great facility range the wide field of

Nature, contemplate an infinite variety of objects, and, by observing the fimilitude and disagreement of their several qualities, single

out and abstract, and then suit and unite “ those ideas which will best serve its purpose. “ Hence beautiful allusions, surprising meta

phors, and admirable sentiments, are always ” ready at hand: and while the fancy is full

of images collected from innumerable ob

jects and their different qualities, relations, " and habitudes, it can at pleasure dress a

common notion in a strange but becoming

garb; by which, as before observed, the " same thought will appear a new one, " to the great delight and wonder of the hear5. er, What we call genius results from this “ particular happy complexion in the first “ formation of the person that enjoys it, and " is Nature's gift, but diversified by various

specific characters and limitations, as its “ a&tive fire is blended and allayed by differ

ent proportions of phlegm, or reduced and “ regulated by the contrast of cpposite fer” ments. Therefore, as there happens in the




“ composition of a facetious genius a greater

or less, though still an inferior, degree of

judgement and prudence, one man of wit f" will be varied and distinguished from ano" ther.'


In these Essays he took little çarę to propitiate the wits; for he scorns to avert their malice at the


of virtue or of truth,

“. Several, in their books, have many fara " castical and spiteful strokes at religion in “ general; while others make themselves pleaço fant with the principles of the Christian, “ Of the last kind, this age has seen a most « audacious example in the book intituled, “ A Tale of a Tub, Had this writing been “ published in a pagan or popish nation, who

are justly impatient of all indignity offered

to the established religion of their country, " no doubt but the author would have received “ the punishment he deserved. But the fate “ of this impious buffoon is very different; “ for in a protestant kingdom, zealous of their “ civil and religious immunities, he has not

only escaped affronts and the effects of pub“ lic resentment, but has been caressed and “ patronized by persons of great figure, and

" of

« of all denominations. Violent party-men, “ who differed in all things besides, agreed in “ their turn to shew particular respect and “ friendship to this infolent derider of the “ worship of his country, till at last the re“ puted writer is not only gone off with im“ punity, but triumphs in his dignity and

pre« ferment. I do not know that any inquiry

or search was ever made after this writing,

or that any reward was ever offered for “ the discovery of the author, or that the in« famous book was ever condemned to be “ burnt in public: whether this proceeds “ from the excessive esteem and love that

men in power, during the late reign, had for “ wit, or their defect of zeal and concern for “ the Christian Religion, will be determined “ best by those who are best acquainted with s their character.'

In another place he speaks with becoming abhorrence of a godless author who has burlesqued a Pfalm. This author was supposed to be Pope, who published a reward for any one that would produce the coiner of the accusation, but never denied it; and was after



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