Изображения страниц

has likewise be many military eng make parts and the way to riches Eive than idlenes it. A fog, who

enters interest

it, not questitie: his way will do is self. When

lar graces inte hearing, she p hal she observe ■y other part too much

not to be til orld of ex hich have bet

a man with de

that I am

ale undertake arrival of a dom, will for ad to foot,

ay of marg

uish betwest


coming at

It is certainly the proper education we should give ourselves to be prepared for the ill events and accidents we are to meet with in a life sentenced

No 312. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1711-12. to be a scene of sorrow: but instead of this ex

Quod huic officium, quæ laus, quod decus erit tanti, quod adipisci
cum dolore corporis velit, qui dolorem summum malum sibi
persuaserit? Quam porro quis ignominiam, quam turpitudi-
nem non pertulerit, ut effugiat dolorem, si id summum malum
esse decreverit?


pectation, we soften ourselves with prospects of constant delight, and destroy in our minds the seeds of fortitude and virtue, which should support us in hours of anguish. The constant pursuit of pleasure has in it something insolent, and improper for our being. There is a pretty sober liveliness in the What duty will a man perform, what praise, what honour will ode of Horace to Delius, where he tells him, loud he think worth purchasing at the expense of his case, who is mirth, or immoderate sorrow, inequality of beha persuaded that pain it the greatest of evils? And what igno-viour either in prosperity or adversity, are alike miny, what baseness will he not submit to in order to avoid pain, if he has determined it to be the worst of misfortunes? ungraceful in man that is born to die. Moderation in both circumstances is peculiar to generous Ir is a very melancholy reflection, that men are minds. Men of that sort ever taste the gratifications usually so weak, that it is absolutely necessary for of health, and all other advantages of life, as if they them to know sorrow and pain, to be in their right were liable to part with them; and when bereft senses. Prosperous people (for happy there are of them, resign them with a greatness of mind none) are hurried away with a fond sense of their which shows they know their value and duration. present condition, and thoughtless of the mutability The contempt of pleasure is a certain preparatory of fortune. Fortune is a term which we must use for the contempt of pain. Without this the mind in such discourses as these, for what is wrought by is, as it were, taken suddenly by an unforeseen the unseen hand of the Disposer of all things. But event; but he that has always, during health and methinks the disposition of a mind which is truly prosperity, been abstinent in his satisfactions, engreat, is that which makes misfortunes and sorrows joys, in the worst of difficulties, the reflection, that little when they befal ourselves, great and lament- his anguish is not aggravated with the comparison ploy the viable when they befal other men. The most unpar- of past pleasures which upbraid his present condonable malefactor in the world going to his death, dition. Tully tells us a story after Pompey, which and bearing it with composure, would win the pity gives us a good taste of the pleasant manner the of those who should behold him; and this not be- men of wit and philosophy had in old times, of cause his calamity is deplorable, but because he alleviating the distresses of life by the force of seems himself not to deplore it. We suffer for him reason and philosophy. Pompey, when he came who is less sensible of his own misery, and are in- to Rhodes, had a curiosity to visit the famous phing made sclined to despise him who sinks under the weight losopher Possidonius; but finding him in his sick With ins of his distresses. On the other hand, without any bed, he bewailed the misfortune that he should touch of envy, a temperate and well-governed not hear a discourse from him: But you may,' mind looks down on such as are exalted with suc-answered Possidonius; and immediately entered cess, with a certain shame for the imbecility of into the point of stoical philosophy, which says, human nature, that can so far forget how liable it pain is not an evil. During the discourse, upon is to calamity, as to grow giddy with only the every puncture he felt from his distemper, he suspense of sorrow, which is the portion of all men. smiled, and cried out, Pain, pain, be as impertiHe therefore who turns his face from the unhappy nent and troublesome as you please, I shall never he wider man, who will not look again when his eye is cast own that thou art an evil.” Will it upon modest sorrow, who shuns affliction like a s found contagion, does but pamper himself up for a sacrifice, and contract in himself a greater aptitude to misery by attempting to escape it. A gentleman, where I happened to be last night, fell into a disas not course which I thought showed a good discerning

d taken his
led underd

nares for
he practisi

last sm

but died

to bear. A

[ocr errors]

ub, that fe

eath of On his ban



young t


HAVING Seen in several of your papers, a concern for the honour of the clergy, and their doing every thing as becomes their character, and particularly performing the public service with a due zeal and

these in him. He took notice, that whenever men have devotion; I am the more encouraged to lay before

rts, and

re such

y be lef

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

looked into their heart for the idea of true excel. them, by your means, several expressions used by lence in human nature, they have found it to con- some of them in their prayers before sermon, which sist in suffering after a right manner, and with at am not well satisfied in; as their giving some good grace. Heroes are always drawn bearing titles and epithets to great men, which are indeed sorrows, struggling with adversities, undergoing all due to them in their several ranks and stations, kinds of hardships, and having in the service of but not properly used, I think, in our prayers. Is mankind a kind of appetite to difficulties and it not contradiction to say, illustrious, right revedangers. The gentleman went on to observe, that rend, and right honourable poor sinners? These it is from this secret sense of the high merit which distinctions are suited only to our state here, and there is in patience under calamities, that the have no place in heaven; we see they are omitted writers of romances, when they attempt to furnish in the liturgy; which, I think, the clergy should out characters of the highest excellence, ransack take for their pattern in their own forms of devonature for things terrible; they raise a new crea- tion. There is another expression which I would tion of monsters, dragons, and giants; where the danger ends, the hero ceases: when he won an • In the original publication of this paper in the Spectator in empire, or gained his mistress, the rest of his story folio, was the following passage, which, however, was left out when the papers were collectively printed in volumes in 1712. is not worth relating. My friend carried his dis[Another expression which I take to be improper, is this, the course so far as to say, that it was for higher be- whole race of mankind,' when they pray for all men; for race ings than men to join happiness and greatness in used for the present generation (though, I think, not very fitly), signifies lineage or descent; and if the race of mankind may be the same idea; but that in our condition we have the whole race takes in all from the beginning to the end of the no conception of superlative excellence, or hero-world. I do not remember to have met with that expression, in ism, but as it is surrounded with a shade of distress. those men, I suppose, have but little esteem for. And some, their sense, any where but in the old version of Psalm xiv, which

not mention, but that I have heard it several times son at home, he is in danger of becoming my young before a learned congregation, to bring in the last master; if I send him abroad, it is scarce possible petition of the prayer in these words, "O let not to keep him from the reigning contagion of rude. the Lord be angry, and I will speak but this once;" ness and vice. He will perhaps be more innocent as if there was no difference between Abraham's at home, but more ignorant of the world, and more interceding for Sodom, for which he had no war-sheepish when he comes abroad." However, as rant, as we can find, and our asking those things this learned author asserts, that virtue is much which we are required to pray for; they would more difficult to be obtained than knowledge of therefore have much more reason to fear his anger the world, and that vice is a more stubborn, as well if they did not make such petitions to him. There as a more dangerous fault than sheepishness, he is is another pretty fancy. When a young man has altogether for a private education; and the more a mind to let us know who gave him his scarf, he so, because he does not see why a youth, with right speaks a parenthesis to the Almighty. "Bless, as I management, might not attain the same assurance am in duty bound to pray, the right honourable the countess;" is not that as much as to say, "Bless her, for thou knowest I am her chaplain ?" 'Your humble servant,

[blocks in formation]

in his father's house, as at a public school. To this end, he advises parents to accustom their sons to whatever strange faces come to the house: to take them with them when they visit their neighbours, and to engage them in conversation with men of parts and breeding.

313. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1711-12. measure their equals in parts

Exigite ut mores teneros seu pollice ducat,
Ut si quis cera vultum facit—

JUV. Sat. vii. ver. 237.

Bid him besides his daily pains employ,
To form the tender manners of the boy,
And work him like a waxen babe, with art,
To perfect symmetry in ev'ry part.



"It may be objected to this method, that conversation is not the only thing necessary; but that unless it be a conversation with such as are in some and there can be no room for emulation, contention, and several of the most lively passions of the mind; which, without being sometimes moved by these means, may possibly contract a dulness and insensibility.

'One of the greatest writers our nation ever produced, observes, that a boy who forms parties, and makes himself popular in a school or a col lege, would act the same part with equal ease in a senate, or a privy council; and Mr. Osborne, speaking like a man versed in the ways of the world, I SHALL give the following letter no other recom-affirms, that the well laying and carrying on of a mendation than by telling my readers that it comes design to rob an orchard, trains up a youth insenfrom the same hand with that of last Thursday.*sibly to caution, secrecy, and circumspection, and


fits him for matters of great importance.

'In short, a private education seems the most I SEND you, according to my promise, some fur- natural method for the forming of a virtuous man; ther thoughts on the education of youth, in which I a public education for making a man of business. intend to discuss that famous question, Whether The first would furnish out a good subject for the education at a public school, or under a private Plato's republic, the latter a member for a comtutor, is to be preferred?"

[ocr errors]


As some of the greatest men in most ages have munity overrun with artifice and corruption. 'It must, however, be confessed, that a person been of very different opinions in this matter, I the head of a public school has sometimes so many shall give a short account of what I think may be boys under his direction, that it is impossible he best urged on both sides, and afterwards leave should extend a due proportion of his care every person to determine for himself.

On the contrary, the Greeks seemed more in clined to public schools and seminaries.


of them. This is, however, in reality, the fault of the age, in which we often see twenty parents, who, though each expects his son should be made a scholar, are not contented altogether to make it worth while for any man of a liberal education to take upon him the care of their instruction.

It is certain from Suetonius, that the Romans thought the education of their children a business properly belonging to the parents themselves; and Plutarch, in the life of Marcus Cato, tells us, that as soon as his son was capable of learning, Cato would suffer nobody to teach him but himself, In our great schools indeed this fault has been though he had a servant named Chilo, who was an of late years rectified, so that we have at present excellent grammarian, and who taught a great not only ingenious men for the chief masters, but many other youths. them. I must nevertheless own, that for the want such as have proper ushers and assistants under A private education promises, in the first place, have many a promising genius spoiled and abused of the same encouragement in the country, we virtue and good-breeding; a public school manly in those little seminaries. assurance, and an early knowledge in the ways of 'I am the more inclined to this opinion, having Mr. Locke, in his celebrated treatise of educa-ters, each of them very unfit for the trust they myself experienced the usage of two rural mas tion, confesses, that there are inconveniences to be took upon them to discharge. The first imposed feared on both sides: "If," says he, "I keep my much more upon me than my parts, though none of the weakest, could endure; and used me barba when they have prayed for all schools and nurseries of good learning and true religion, especially the two universities, add rously for not performing impossibilities. The lat these words, Grant that from them, and all other places dedicated to thy worship and service, may come forth such persons, &c. But what do they mean by all other places? It seems to me, that this is either a tautology, as being the same with all schools and nurseries before expressed, or else it runs too far; for there are several places dedicated to the divine service, which cannot properly be intended here.]

the world.

No. 307. See also No. 337.

ter was of quite another temper; and a boy who would run upon his errands, wash his coffee-pot, of ring the bell, might have as little conversation with any of the classics as he thought fit. I have known lad at this place excused his exercise for assisting the cook-maid; and remember a neighbouring gen


of becoming

d, it is scarce pa ng contagion of haps be mere

of the world, az road" Howeve that virtues ed than knowle more stubbart. an sheepishes cation; and the

by a youth, a

in the same Dublic school I custom ther to the house t isit their re rsation w



hsuch as

and year

tention, d

the ma ed by the sand insest TS OUT DE who form

a scholz

with equ Ir. Ogbozza ays of


up a Fac rcumspecs



of a virt

man of s


=mberi Corruger theres

tleman's son was among us five years, most of
which time he employed in airing and watering
our master's grey pad. I scorned to compound No 314.
for my faults by doing any of these elegant offices,
and was accordingly the best scholar and the worst
used of any boy in the school.

'I shall conclude this discourse with an advan-
tage mentioned by Quintilian as accompanying a
public way of education, which I have not yet)
taken notice of; namely, that we very often con-
tract such friendships at school, as are a service to
us all the following parts of our lives.

'I shall give you, under this head, a story very well known to several persons, and which you may depend upon as real truth.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 1711-12.

Tandem desine matrem
Tempestiva sequi viro.

HOR. Od. xxiii. I. 1. ver. 11:

Attend thy mother's heels no more,
Now grown mature for man, and ripe for joy.


'Feb. 7, 1711-12.

and have been in love with a young woman of the I AM a young man about eighteen years of age, same age about this half-year. I go to see her six Every one, who is acquainted with Westmin-days in the week, but never could have the happister-school, knows that there is a curtain whichness of being with her alone. If any of her friends used to be drawn across the room, to separate the are at home, she will see me in their company; upper school from the lower. A youth happened, but if they be not in the way, she flies to her by some mischance, to tear the above-mentioned chamber. I can discover no signs of her aversion: curtain. The severity of the master* was too but either a fear of falling into the toils of matri well known for the criminal to expect any pardon mony, or a childish timidity, deprives us of an infor such a fault; so that the boy, who was of a terview apart, and drives us upon the difficulty of meek temper, was terrified to death at the thoughts languishing out our lives in fruitless expectation. of his appearance; when his friend who sat next Now, Mr. Spectator, if you think us ripe for ecoto him bade him be of good cheer, for that he nomy, persuade the dear creature that to pine would take the fault on himself. He kept his word away into barrenness and deformity, under a moaccordingly. As soon as they were grown up to be ther's shade, is not so honourable, nor does she apmen, the civil war broke out, in which our two pear so amiable, as she would in full bloom. friends took the opposite sides; one of them fol[There is a great deal left out before he conlowed the parliament, the other the royal party. cludes.]

[ocr errors]

"Your humble servant,


'As their tempers were different, the youth who had torn the curtain endeavoured to raise himself on the civil list: and the other, who had borne the blame of it, on the military. The first succeeded so well, that he was in a short time made a judge Ir this gentleman be really no more than eighteen, under the protector. The other was engaged in I must do him the justice to say, he is the most the unhappy enterprise of Penruddock and Grove knowing infant I have yet met with. He does not, in the west. I suppose, sir, I need not acquaint I fear, yet understand, that all he thinks of is anyou with the event of that undertaking. Every other woman; therefore, until he has given a furone knows that the royal party was routed, and ther account of himself, the young lady is hereby all the heads of them, among whom was the cur-directed to keep close to her mother. tain champion, imprisoned at Exeter. It happened to be his friend's lot at that time to go the western circuit. The trial of the rebels, as they I CANNOT Comply with the request in Mr. Trot's were then called, was very short, and nothing now letter; but let it go just as it came to my hands for remained but to pass sentence on them; when the being so familiar with the old gentleman, as rough This judge hearing the name of his old friend, and ob- as he is to him. Since Mr. Trot has an ambition serving his face more attentively, which he had to make him his father-in-law, he ought to treat not seen for many years, asked him, If he was not him with more respect; besides, his style to me formerly a Westminster-scholar? By the answer might have been more distant than he has thought here he was soon convinced that it was his former gene-fit to afford me: moreover his mistress shall conrous friend; and without saying any thing more at tinue in her confinement until he has found out that time, made the best of his way to London, which word in his letter is not rightly spelt. where, employing all his power and interest with

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


are the protector, he saved his friend from the fate of his unhappy associates. 'I SHALL ever own myself your obliged humble 'The gentleman whose life was thus preserved servant, for the advice you gave me concerning my by the gratitude of his school-fellow, was after-dancing; which, unluckily, came too late: for, as wards the father of a son, whom he lived to see I said, I would not leave off capering until I had promoted in the church, and who still deservedly your opinion of the matter. I was at our famous fills one of the highest situations in it.'t


• Dr. Busby.


assembly the day before I received your papers, and there was observed by an old gentleman, who was informed I had a respect for his daughter. He told me I was an insignificant little fellow, and said, that for the future he would take care of his The gentleman alluded to was Colonel Wake, whose son child; so that he did not doubt but to cross my was Dr. Wake, Bishop of Lincoln, and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. The judge is supposed to have been Mr. Justice amorous inclinations. The lady is confined to her Nicholas.

chamber, and for my part I am ready to hang myself with the thoughts that I have danced myself out of favour with her father. I hope you will pardon the trouble I give; but shall take it for a mighty favour, if you will give me a little more of your advice to put me in a right way to cheat the

old dragon, and obtain my mistress. I am once had a very happy influence over the adult part of

[blocks in formation]

our sex; but as many of us are either too old to learn, or too obstinate in the pursuit of the vanities which have been bred up with us from our infancy, and all of us quitting the stage whilst you are prompting us to act our part well; you ought,

'Let me desire you to make what alterations you please, and insert this as soon as possible. methinks, rather to turn your instructions for the Pardon mistakes by haste.'

[blocks in formation]

To be a very well-bred man.


N. B.'


benefit of that part of our sex who are yet in their native innocence, and ignorant of the vices and that variety of unhappiness that reign amongst


'I must tell you, Mr. Spectator, that it is as much a part of your office to oversee the education of the female part of the nation as of the male; and to convince the world you are not partial, pray proceed to detect the mal-administration of governesses as successfully as you have exposed that of pedagogues; and rescue our sex from the prejudice and tyranny of education as well as that of your own, who, without your seasonable interposition, are like to improve upon the vices that are now in vogue.

'I am, SIR, 'Your constant admirer,

[ocr errors]

'I who know the dignity of your post as Spectator, and the authority a skilful eye ought to bear in the female world, could not forbear consulting You are to know that I am naturally brave, and you, and beg your advice in so critical a point, as love fighting as well as any man in England. This is that of the education of young gentlewomen. gallant temper of mine makes me extremely de- Having already provided myself with a very conlighted with battles on the stage. I give you this venient house in a good air, I am not without hope trouble to complain to you, that Nicolini refused but that you will promote this generous design. I to gratify me in that part of the opera for which must further tell you, sir, that all who shall be I have most taste. I observe it is become a cus- committed to my conduct, besides the usual ac tom, that whenever any gentlemen are particularly complishments of the needle, dancing, and the pleased with a song, at their crying out" Encore," French tongue, shall not fail to be your constant or "Altro Volto," the performer is so obliging as to readers. It is therefore my humble petition, that sing it over again. I was at the opera the last you will entertain the town on this important subtime Hydaspes was performed. At that part of it ject, and so far oblige a stranger, as to raise a where the hero engages with the lion, the graceful curiosity and inquiry in my behalf, by publishing manner with which he put that terrible monster to the following advertisement. death gave me so great a pleasure, and at the same time so just a sense of that gentleman's intrepidity and conduct, that I could not forbear desiring a repetition of it, by crying out "Altro Volto," in a very audible voice; and my friends flatter me that I pronounced those words with a tolerable good accent, considering that was but the third opera I The boarding-school for young gentlewomen, which had ever seen in my life. Yet, notwithstanding all was formerly kept on Mile-End-Green, being laid this, there was so little regard had to me, that the down, there is now one set up almost opposite to it, lion was carried off, and went to bed, without be- at the Two Golden Balls, and much more convenient ing killed any more that night. Now, sir, pray in every respect; where, besides the common instruc consider that I did not understand a word of what tions given to young gentlewomen, they will be taught Mr. Nicolini said to this cruel creature; besides, I have no ear for music; so that, during the long dispute between them, the whole entertainment I had was from my eyes. Why then have not 1 as much right to have a graceful action repeated as another has a pleasing sound, since he only hears, as I only see, and we neither of us know that there is any reasonable thing a doing? Pray, sir, This is to give notice, that the Spectator has taken settle the business of this claim in the audience, upon him to be visitant of all boarding-schools where and let us know when we may cry, "Altro Volto," young women are educated; and designs to proced Angelice, "Again, Again," for the future. I am in the said office after the same manner that the visi an Englishman, and expect some reason or other tants of colleges do in the two famous universities of this to be given me, and perhaps an ordinary one may land. serve; but I expect your answer.

'I am, SIR,
'Your most humble servant,

[blocks in formation]


the whole art of pastry and preserving, with what ever may render them accomplished. Those who please to make trial of the vigilance and ability of the persons concerned, may inquire at the Two Golden Balls on Mile-End-Green, near Stepney, where they will receive further satisfaction.

All lovers who write to the Spectator, are desired to forbear ome expression which is in most of the letters to him, either out of laziness or want of inventon, and true of not above two thousand women in the whole world: viz." She has in her all that is valuable in woman.



[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[blocks in formation]

HORACE advises a poet to consider thoroughly the nature and force of his genius. Milton seems to have known perfectly well wherein his strength lay, and has therefore chosen a subject entirely conformable to those talents of which he was master. As his genius was wonderfully turned to the sublime, his subject is the noblest that could have entered into the thoughts of man. Every thing that is truly great and astonishing, has a place in it. The whole system of the intellectual world; the chaos, and the creation; heaven, earth, and hell; enter into the constitution of his poem.

Having in the first and second books represented the infernal world with all its horrors, the thread of his fable naturally leads him into the opposite regions of bliss and glory.

About him all the sanctities of heav'n
Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd
Beatitude past utt'rance. On his right
The radiant image of his glory sat,
His only Son. On earth he first beheld
Our two first parents, yet the only two
Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love;
Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love,
In blissfu! solitude. He then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Coasting the wall of heav'n on this side night,
In the dun air sublime; and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings and willing feet
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Firm land imbosom'd without firmament:
Uncertain which, in ocean, or in air,"
Him God beholding from his pro pect high,
Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.'


Satan's approach to the confines of the creation which immediately follows. The effects of this is finely imaged in the beginning of the speech speech in the blessed spirits, and in the divine permind of the reader with a secret pleasure and son to whom it was addressed, cannot but fill the complacency :

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd
All heav'n, and in the blessed spirits elect
Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd.
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious; in him all his Father shone
Substantially express'd; and in his face
Divine compassion visibly appear'd,

Love without end, and without measure grace.'

If Milton's majesty forsakes him any where, it this in those parts of his poem where the divine persons are introduced as speakers. One may, I think, observe that the author proceeds with a kind of fear and trembling, whilst he describes the the sentiments of the Almighty. He dares not give stance wherein the whole host of Angels are reI need not point out the beauty of that circumhis imagination its full play, but chooses to confine presented as standing mute; nor show how proper himself to such thoughts as are drawn from the the occasion was to produce such a silence in heabooks of the most orthodox divines, and to such ven. The close of this divine colloquy, with the expressions as may be met with in scripture. The hymn of angels that follows upon it, are so wonbeauties, therefore, which we are to look for in derfully beautiful and poetical, that I should not these speeches, are not of a poetical nature, nor forbear inserting the whole passage, if the bounds so proper to fill the mind with sentiments of gran- of my paper would give me leave:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"No sooner had th' Almighty ceas'd, but all
The multitude of angels with a shout
(Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
As from blest voices) utt'ring joy, heav'n rung
With jubilee, and loud Hosannas fiil'd
Th'eternal regions, &c. &c.

deur, as with thoughts of devotion. The passions, which they are designed to raise, are, a divine love and religious fear. The particular beauty of the speeches in the third book, consist in that shortness and perspicuity of style, in which the poet has couched the greatest mysteries of Christianity, and drawn together, in a regular scheme, the whole dispensation of Providence with respect to Satan's walk upon the outside of the universe, man. He has represented all the abstruse doctrines which at a distance appeared to him of a globular of predestination, free-will and grace, as also the form, but upon his nearer approach looked like an great points of incarnation and redemption, (which unbounded plain, is natural and noble; as his naturally grow up in a poem that treats of the fall roaming upon the frontiers of the creation be! of man) with great energy of expression, and in a tween that mass of matter, which was wrought into clearer and stronger light than I ever met with in a world, and that shapeless unformed heap of mateany other writer. As these points are dry in them rials, which still lay in chaos and confusion, strikes selves to the generality of readers, the concise and the imagination with something astonishingly great clear manner in which he has treated them is very and wild. I have before spoken of the Limbo of much to be admired, as is likewise that particular Vanity, which the poet places upon this outermost art which he has made use of in the interspersing surface of the universe, and shall here explain myof all those graces of poetry which the subject was self more at large on that, and other parts of the capable of receiving. poem, which are of the same shadowy nature. The survey of the whole creation, and of Aristotle observes, that the fable of an epic every thing that is transacted in it, is a prospect poem should abound in circumstances that are both worthy of Omniscience, and as much above that credible and astonishing; or, as the French critics in which Virgil has drawn his Jupiter, as the choose to phrase it, the fable should be filled with Christian idea of the Supreme Being is more ra- the probable and the marvellous. This rule is as tional and sublime than that of the heathens. The fine and just as any in Aristotle's whole Art of particular objects on which he is described to have Poetry. cast his eye, are represented in the most beautiful and lively manner:

Now had th' Almighty Father from above
(From the pure Empyrean where he sits
High thron'd above all height) bent down his eye,
His own works and their works at once to view.

If the fable is only probable, it differs nothing from a true history; if it is only marvellous, it is no better than a romance. The great secret, therefore, of heroic poetry is, to relate such circumstances as may produce in the reader at the same time both belief and astonishment. This is brought

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »