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possible for us, who live in the latter ages of the world, to make observations in criticism, morality, or in any art or science, which have not been touched upon by others. We have little else left us, but to represent the common sense of mankind in more strong, more beautiful, or more uncommon lights. If a reader examines Horace's Art of Poetry, he will find but very few precepts in it, which he may not meet with in Aristotle, and which were not commonly known by all the poets of the Augustan age. His way of expressing and applying them, not his invention of them, is what we are chiefly to admire.

For this reason I think there is nothing in the world so tiresome as the works of those critics, who write in a positive dogmatic way, without either language, genius, or imagination. If the reader would see how the best of the Latin critics writ, he may find their manner very beautifully described in the characters of Horace, Petronius, Quintilian, and Longinus, as they are drawn in the essay of which I am now speaking.

Since I have mentioned Longinus, who in his reflections has given us the same kind of sublime which he observes in the several passages that occasioned them, I cannot but take notice, that our English author has, after the same manner, exemplified several of his precepts in the very precepts themselves. I shall produce two or three instances of this kind. Speaking of the insipid smoothness which some readers are so much in love with, he has the following verses:

These equal syllables alone require,

Tho' oft the ear the open vowels tire,
While expletives their feeble aid do join,

And ten low words oft creep in one dull line.

The gaping of the vowels in the second line, the expletive do in the third, and the ten monosyllables

in the fourth, gives a beauty to this passage, that would have been very much admired in an ancient poet. The reader may observe the following lines in the same view.

A needless Alexandrine ends the song,

That like a wounded snake drags its slow length along.

And afterwards,

"Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows;
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse rough verse should like the torrent roar.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow:

Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,

Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main.

The beautiful Distich upon Ajar in the foregoing lines, puts me in mind of a description in Homer's Odyssey. It is where Sisyphus is represented lifting his stone up the hill, which is no sooner carried to the top of it, but it immediately tumbles to the bottom. This double motion of the stone is admirably described in the numbers of these verses; as in the four first it is heaved up by several spondees intermixed with proper breathing-places, and at last trundles down in a continued line of Dactyles.

Καί μέν Σίσυφον ἐισεῖδον, κρατέρ ἀλγὲ ἔΧονία,
Λάαν βαςάζοντα πελώριον ἀμφοτέρησιν.
Ητοι ὁ μὲν, σκηριπλόμενος χερσίν τε ποσίν τε,
Λᾶαν ἄνω ώθεσκε ποτὶ λόφον, ἀλλ ̓ ὅτε μέλλοι
*Ακρον ὑπερβαλέειν, τότ ̓ ἀποςρέψασκε κραταιές
Αὖτις, ἔπειτα πέδονδε κυλινδεῖο λᾶας ἀναιδής.

It would be endless to quote verses out of Virgil which have this particular kind of beauty in the numbers; but I may take an occasion in a future

paper to shew several of them which have escaped the observation of others.

. I cannot conclude this paper without taking notice, that we have three poems in our tongue, which are of the same nature, and each of them a masterpiece in its kind; the Essay on Translated Verse, the Essay on the Art of Poetry, and the Essay upon Criticism.

No. 255. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22.

Laudis amore tumes? sunt certa piacula que te
Ter pure lecto poterunt recreare libello.

HOR.

THE Soul, considered abstractedly from its passions, is of a remiss and sedentary nature, slow in its resolves, and languishing in its executions. The use therefore of the passions is to stir up and put it upon action, to awaken the understanding, to enforce the will, and to make the whole man more vigorous and attentive in the prosecution of his designs. As this is the end of the passions in general, so it is particularly of ambition, which pushes the soul to such actions as are apt to procure honour and reputation to the actor. But if we carry our reflections higher, we may discover further ends of Providence in implanting this passion in mankind.

It was necessary for the world, that arts should be invented and improved, books written, and transmitted to posterity, nations conquered and civilized : now, since the proper and genuine motives to these and the like great actions, would only influence virtuous minds, there would be but small improvements in the world, were there not some common principle of action working equally with all men ; and such a principle is ambition, or a desire of fame, by which great endowments are not suffered to lie idle, and useless to the public, and many viVOL. II. E

cious men over-reached, as it were, and engaged, contrary to their natural inclination, in a glorious and laudable course of action. For we may For we may further observe, that men of the greatest abilities are most fired with ambition: and that, on the contrary, mean and narrow minds are the least actuated by it; whether it be that a man's sense of his own incapacities makes him despair of coming at fame, or that he has not enough range of thought to look out for any good which does not more immediately relate to his interest or convenience; or that Providence, in the very frame of his soul, would not subject him to such a passion as would be useless to the world, and

a torment to himself.

Were not this desire of fame very strong, the dif ficulty of obtaining it, and the danger of losing it when obtained, would be sufficient to deter a man from so vain a pursuit.iyoid

How few are there who are furnished with abilities sufficient to recommend their actions to the admiration of the world, and to distinguish themselves from the rest of mankind! Providence for the most part sets us upon a level, and observes a kind of proportion in its dispensations towards us. If it renders us perfect in one accomplishment, it generally leaves us defective in another, and seems careful rather of preserving every person from being mean and deficient in his qualifications, than of making any single one eminent or extraordinary.

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And among those who are the most richly endowed by nature, and accomplished by their own industry, how few are there whose virtues are not obscured by the ignorance, prejudice, or envy, of their beholders! Some men cannot discern between a noble and a mean action. Others are apt to attribute them to some false end or intention; and others purposely misrepresent, or put a wrong interpretation on them.

.. But the more to enforce this consideration, we may observe, that those are generally most unsuccessful in their pursuit after fame, who are most. desirous of obtaining it. It is Sallust's remark upon Cato, that the less he coveted glory, the more he acquired it.

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Men take an ill-natured pleasure in crossing our inclinations, and disappointing us in what our hearts are most set upon. When therefore they have dis covered the passionate desire of fame in the ambitious man, (as no temper of mind is more apt to shew itself,) they become sparing and reserved in their commendations, they envy him the satisfaction of an applause, and look on their praises rather as a kindness done to his person, than as a tribute paid to his merit. Others, who are free from this natural perverseness of temper, grow wary in their praises of one who sets too great a value on them, lest they should raise him too high in his own imagination, and by consequence remove him to a greater distance from themselves.

But further, this desire of fame naturally betrays the ambitious man into such indecencies as are a lessening to his reputation. He is still afraid lest any of his actions should be thrown away in private, lest his deserts should be concealed from the notice of the world, or receive any disadvantage from the reports which others make of them. This often sets him on empty boasts and ostentations of himself, and betrays him into vain fantastic recitals of his own performances: his discourse generally leans one way, and whatever is the subject of it, tends obliquely either to the detracting from others, or the extolling of himself. Vanity is the natural weakness of an ambitious man, which exposes him to the secret scorn and derision of those he converses with, and ruins the character he is so industrious to advance by it. For though his actions are never so

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