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One of his Essays is upon the Spleen, which is treated by him fo much to his own fatisfaction, that he has published the same thoughts in the same words ; fuft in the Lay Monaflery; then in the Essay; and then in the Preface to a Medical Treatise on the Spleen. ". One paffage, which I have found already twice, ! will here exhibit, because I think it better imagined, and better expressed, than could be expected from the common tenour of his profes
c "As the feveral combinations of splenes utic madness and folly produce an infinite * variety of irregular understanding, so the amicable accommodation and alliance be
tween several virtues and vices produce an “ equal diversity in the dispositions and man
ners of mankind; whence it comes to pass, " that as many monstrous and absurd pro9, ductions are found in the moral as in the in" tellectual world. How furprising is it to
observe among the least culpable men, fome “ whose minds are attracted by heaven and " earth, with a seeming equal force; some
" who are proud of humility; others who are “ cenforious and uncharitable, yet felf-deny
ing and devout; some who join contempt “ of the world with sordid avarice; and others, “ who preserve a great degree of piety, with “ ill-nature and ungoverned pafsions : nor are “ instances of this inconsistent mixture less
frequent among bad men, where we often, “ with admiration, see persons at once gene
rous and unjust, impious lovers of their
country, and flagitious heroes, good-natured co
sharpers, immoral men of honour, and li
bertines who will sooner die than change “ their religion; and though it is true that
repugnant coalitions of so high a degree are found but in a part of mankind, yet
none of the whole mass, either good or * bad, are intirely exempted from some ab" surd mixture."
He about this time (Aug. 22, 1716) became one of the Elects of the College of Phy, sicians; and was soon after (Oct. 1) chosen Cenfor. He seems to have arrived late, whatever was the reason, at his medical honours.
Having succeeded so well in his book on Creation, by which he established the great
principle of all: Religion, he thought his undertaking imperfect, unless he likewise enforced the truth of Revelation; and for that purpose added another poem on Redemption. He likewife wrote, before his Creation, three books on the Nature of Man.
The lovers of musical devotion have always wished for a more happy metrical verfion than they have yet obtained of the book of Psalms; this with the piety of Blackmore led him to gratify, and he produced (1721) a new Version of the Psalms of David, fitted to the tunes used in Churches; which, being recommended by the archbishops and many bishops, obtained a license for its admission into public worship; but no admission has it yet obtained, nor has it any right to come where Brady and Tate have got possession, Blackmore's name must be added to those of many others, who, by the same attempt, have obtained only the praise of meaning well.
He was not yet deterred from heroick poëtry; there was another monarch of this island, for he did not fetch his heroes from foreign countries, whom he considered as worthy of the
Epic Muse, and he dignified Alfred (1723) with twelve books. But the opinion of the ñation was now fettled ; a hero introduced by Blackmore was not likely to find either respect ør kindness ; Alfred took his place by Eliza in silence and darkness : benevolence was ashamed to favour, and. malice was weary of insulting. Of his four Epic Poems, the first had such reputation and popularity as enraged the critics; the second was at least known enough to be ridiculed; the two laft had heither friends nor enemies.
Contempt is a kind of gangrene, which if it seizes one part of a character corrupts all the rest by degrees. Blackmore, being de spised as a poet, was in time neglected as a physician; his practice, which was once invidiously great, forsook him in the latter
of his life ; but being by nature, or by principle, averse from idleness, he employed his unwelcome leisure in writing books on physic, and teaching others to cure those whom he could himself cure no longer. I know not whether I can enumerate all the treatises by which he has endeavoured to diffuse the art of healing; for there is scarcely any distemper, of dread
ful name, which he has not taught his reader how to oppofe. He has written on the small-pox, with a vehement invective against inoculation; on consumptions, the spleen, the gout, the rheumatism, the king's-evil, the dropsy, the jaundice, the stone, the diabetes, and the plague.
Of those books, if I had read them, it could not be expected that I should be able to give a critical account. I have been told that there is something in them of vexation and discontent, discovered by a perpetual attempt to degrade phyfick from its sublimity, and to represent it as attainable without much previous or concomitant learning. By the transient glances which I have thrown upon them, I have observed an affected contempt of the Ancients, and a supercilious derision of transmitted knowledge. Of this indecent arrogance the following quotation from his Preface to the Treatise on the Small-pox will afford specimen; in which, when the reader finds, what I fear is true, that when he was censuring Hippocrates he did not know the difference between aphorism and apophthegm, he will not pay much regard to his determinations concerning ancient learning.