Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

"Thus I have heard (if what I have heard "in this cafe may deferve credit) that the "cafes in which dwarfs are kept, not only prevent the future growth of those who are "inclofed in them, but diminish what bulk they already have, by too close constriction "of their parts. So flavery, be it never fo "eafy, yet is flavery still, and may deservedly "be called, the prison of the foul, and the public dungeon." Here I interrupted.

"

[ocr errors]

.

"Such complaints, as

yours against the prefent times, are generally "heard, and eafily made. But are you fure, "that this corruption of genius is not owing to "the profound peace, which reigns through" out the world? or rather, does it not flow "from the war within us, and the fad effects "of our own turbulent paffions? Those pas"fions plunge us into the worst of flaveries, "and tyrannically drag us wherever they pleafe. Avarice (that disease, of which the "whole world is fick beyond a cure) aided "by voluptuoufnefs, holds us faft in chains "of thraldom, or rather, if I may fo exprefs "it, overwhelms life itself, as well as all that "live, in the depths of mifery. For love of money is the difeafe, which renders us "most abject; and love of pleasure is that, " which

СС

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

"which renders us moft corrupt. I have in
"deed thought much upon it, but after all
judge it impoffible for the purfuers, or, to
speak more truly, the adorers and wor-
shippers of immense riches, to preserve their
"fouls from the infection of those vices, which
are firmly allied to them. For profufe-
"nefs will be, wherever there is affluence.
They are firmly link'd together, and constant
"attendants upon one another. Wealth un-
"bars the gates of cities, and opens the doors
"of houses: Profufeness gets in at the fame
"time, and there they jointly fix their refi-
"dence.
After fome continuance in their
"new establishment, they build their nefts (in
"the language of philofophy) and propagate
"their fpecies. There they hatch arrogance,
pride, and luxury, no fpurious brood, but
"their genuine offspring. If these children of
"wealth be foftered and fuffered to reach ma-

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

turity, they quickly engender the most in"exorable tyrants, and make the foul groan " under the oppreffions of infolence, injustice, " and the most fear'd and harden'd impudence. "When men are thus fallen, what I have " mentioned must needs refult from their depravity. They can no longer endure a fight "of any thing above their grov'ling felves; and

cc

P 2

as

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

& as for reputation, they regard it not. When once fuch corruption infects an age, it gradually spreads, and becomes univerfal. The "faculties of the foul will then grow ftupid, "their spirit will be loft, and good sense and genius must lie in ruins, when the care and study of man is engaged about the mortal "the worthless part of himself, and he has ceased to cultivate virtue, and polish his no"bler part, the foul.

<C

[ocr errors]

cr

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"A corrupt and dishoneft judge is incapable "of making unbiaffed and folid decifions by "the rules of equity and honour. His habit "of corruption unavoidably prevents what is " right and juft, from appearing right and just

cr

"c

to him. Since then, the whole tenor of "life is guided only by the rule of intereft, to promote which, we even defire the death of others, to enjoy their fortuues, after having, by base and difingenuous practices, crept into their wills; and fince, we frequently hazard our lives for a little pelf, the "miferable flaves of our own avarice; can we expect, in fuch a general corruption, fo contagious a depravity, to find one generous " and

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

(2) We come now to the Paffions, &c.-] The learned world ought certainly to be condoled with, on the great loss they have fuftained, in Longinus's Treatife on the Paffions. The

<c

<<

n "and impartial foul, above the fordid views "of avarice, and clear of every felfifh Pfion, that may distinguish what is truly great, what works are fit to live for ever? "Is it not better, for perfons in our fituation, to fubmit to the yoke of government, rather "than continue mafters of themselves, fince "fuch headstrong paffions, when fet at liberty, "would rage like madmen, who have burft "their prisons, and inflame the whole world " with endless diforders? In a word, an infenfibility to whatever is truly great has "been the bane of every rifing genius of the prefent age. Hence life in general (for the exceptions are exceeding few) is thrown away in indolence and floth. In this deadly lethargy, or even any brighter intervals " of the disease, our faint endeavours aim "at nothing but pleasure and empty oftenta"tion, too weak and languid for those high

<<

acquifitions, which take their rise from noble "emulation, and end in real advantage and "fubftantial glory."

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

Here perhaps it may be proper to drop this fubject, and pursue our business. (2) We come

now

excellence of this on the Sublime, makes us regret the more the lofs of the other, and infpires us with deep resentments of the irreparable depredations committed on learning and the

now to the Paffions, an account of which I have promised before in a distinct treatise, fince they not only conftitute the ornaments and beauties of discourse, but (if I am not mistaken) have a great share in the SUBLIME.

the valuable productions of antiquity, by Goths, and monks, and time. There, in all probability, we should have beheld the secret springs and movements of the foul disclosed to view. There we should have been taught, if rule and obfervation in this cafe can teach, to elevate an audience into joy, or melt them into tears. There we should have learned, if ever, to work upon every paffion, to put every heart, every pulse in emotion. At prefent we must fit down contented under the lofs, and be fatisfied with this invaluable Piece on the Sublime, which with much hazard has escaped a wreck, and gained a port, tho' not undamaged. Great indeed are the commendations, which the judicious bestow upon it, but not in the leaft difproportioned to its merit. For in it are treasured up the laws and precepts of fine writing, and a fine tafte. Here are the rules, which polifh the writer's invention, and refine the critic's judgment. Here is an object propofed at once for our admiration and imitation.

Dr. Pearce's advice will be a feasonable conclufion, "Read "over very frequently this golden treatife (which deferves "not only to be read but imitated) that you may hence "understand, not only how the best authors have written, "but learn yourself to become an author of the first rank. Read it therefore and digeft it, then take up your pen in "the words of Virgil's Nifus ;

Aliquid jamdudum invadere magnum

Mens agitat mihi, nec placidâ contenta quiete est.

FINI S.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »