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what was clear before becomes enveloped in mist and obscurity; and, after thus confounding, what he attempts to analyse, he subjoins with a hence, or whence, or therefore, what he imagines to be the result of the process. Thus, in the Song of Mopas, from Prince Arthur, which Molineaux so much ad. mired, we are told,
- How earth's wide ball, at Jove's command,
Having, thus, as he thinks, satisfactorily deve. loped the process of germination, he proceeds to his conclusions :
Hence springs the oak the beauty of the grove,
* The Cave of Æolus was one among the multiplicity of thoughts, which overwhelmed the author's intellect.
Illi indignantes magno cum murmere montis
Circum claustra frement. The motto of his Creation contains these lines, from another part of Virgil :
-Spiritus intus alit, totumque infusa per artus
Hence the white lily in full beauty grows;
The same species of deduction characterizes his prose. “As to its efficient cause, (says be,) Wit owes its production to an extraordinary and peculiar temperament in the constitution of the possessor of it, in which is found a concurrence of regular and exalted ferments, and an affluence of animal spirits, refined and rectified to a great degree of purity; whence, being understood with vivacity, brightness, and celerity, as well in their reflections as direct motions, they become proper instruments for the sprightly 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 similitude and agreement of their several qualities, single out and abstract, and then suite and unite those ideas which will best serve its purpose. Hence beautiful allusions, surprising metaphors, and admirable sentiments, are always ready at hand: and, while the fancy is full of images, collected from innumerable objects and their different qualities, relations and habitudes, it can at pleasure dress a common no. tion 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 hearer.'
There is no doubt, that Blackmore honestly supposed this to be a philosophical and clear account of Wit. “What we call Genius (he then proceeds) results from this particular happy complexion in the first formation of the person who enjoys it, and is Nature's gift, but diversified by various specific characters and limitations, as its active fire is blended and allayed by different proportions of phlegm, or reduced and regulated by the contrast of opposite ferments. Therefore, as there appears in the
composition of a facetious genius a greater or less, though still inferior, degree of judgment and prudence, one man of wit will be varied and distinguished from another.' We will transcribe a part of one more passage, which, in the opinion of Dr. Johnson, is better imagined, and better expressed, than could be expected from the common tenour of his prose.' What is ‘imagined,' or what 'expressed,' we have tried in vain to discover. • As the several combinations of splenetic madness and folly produce an infinite variety of irregular understanding, so the amicable accommodation and alliance between several virtues and vices produce an equal diversity in the dispositions and manners of mankind; whence it comes to pass, that as many monstrous and absurd productions are found in the moral as in the intellectual world.' Here may be a glimpse at meaning ; but it is smothered with a heap of words.
It is impossible, however, to have a general contempt for Blackmore, after reading his books upon Creation; and it is one of the numerous debts we owe to Dr. Johnson, that he has rescued that poem from the common fate of the author's productions. It is, in almost every respect, an exception to his other works. His arguments are acute, his descriptions rich, his expressions clear, and his numbers harmonious. The parts follow each other with logical order; and the philosophy is so intermingled with description, that the mind is led from sentence to sentence, and from book to book, with little irksomeness or fatigue. There is now and then, indeed, a bad line, or a flat allusion, which keeps us reminded of Blackmore; but occasional failure is lost in general success; and it is peculiarly in the perusal of such an author, that one feels disposed to excuse the blemishes of a part, when the work pleases him as a whole. We shall transcribe a spe. cimen both of the didactic, and descriptive pas.
sages. The author grants, for the sake of argument, that the earth might be composed, and placed where it is, without the aid of a Supreme Being; yet, what he asks, will set itin motion ? and, if not set in motion, what would it become, but an interminable desart? One half must be in endless night; and the other in perpetual day.
This ne'er would see one kind refreshing ray;
The following description well speaks its own
See how sublime th' uplifted mountains rise,
The party colour'd flowers of various hue !
Not eastern monarchs, on their nuptial day,
* We except this line, which, to be sure, is a most frigid para. phrase of the verse in St Luke: Consider the lilies, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet, I say unto you, that Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of those.' It is to Blackmore's credit, that he undertook to imitate so beauti: ful a passage; and, if we except the last line, he has imitated it with tolerable success. Milton had set him the example:
Sonnet to Mr. Lawrance.