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viii PRË F A CE.
many folid talents the charm of the finest “ verses that could possibly be written, we cannot “ sufficiently admire or praise him.”
Hear him speak of Longinus. is This matchless writer at once gives the
precept and example *. He read with enthusiasm, “ he wrote with enthusiasm, and he conveys en66 thusiasm into the soul of his reader. Other cri. " tics will make you see the beauties of a poet : “ he makes you feel them; he does not demon
strate, he does not persuade, he entrances, he “ elevates, and, like the sublime which he paints, " he subdues the foul, and transports it whither " hepleases. Woe to the reader, who, while he reads
Longinus, can stop to judge him! But after- wards, when in cool blood he analyses his “ ideas, he there discovers the refined and exqui“ site touch of Horace, the sure and folid judg“ment of Boileau, the vigour and sensibility of " the citizen of Geneva. Such are his leading “ features. Some one has well entitled his book, " The book of Gold. It is the most valuable of all “ the treatises that are in being. It has only one .“ fault, that of being too short. Learn him there“ fore by heart, all ye Mæcenases and poets.
* His own example strengthens all his laws,
And is himself the great sublime he draws. Pope.
P R E F A Ć E.
ix ** Hie murus aheneus esto! Learn him also,
who “ endeavour to read with sentiment and feeling, “and, if I may so say, with judgement. Ye ad“ mirers of Dantè and Ariosto, read him not.
Longinus, the Homer of critics, is all good si fense; he will break your idols. A lover of “ truth, and of bold but judicious fallies, he suf« fers not the starts of a disordered imagination. ** But this great man, who would have condemn"ed to the flames that
Monstrum horrèndum, informe, ingens, “ the Divina Comedia, would have read some of “ its verses with transport. On perusing the “ canto of Count Ugolino *, the sentimental soul “ of Longinus would have exclaimed, Homer “ has 'nothing so fublime;' and his infallible “ judgement would afterwards have confirmed the o decree. When I styled Longinus a great man, " it was with reason. To superior talents he ad« ded an elevated heart. He was a man of learn
ing, and at once poffeffed (what are very sel“ dom united) genius and taste. As a statesinan, “ he maintained with a noble spirit the glory of “ his queen. To the enlightened understanding “ of a philosopher' he added the constancy of a “ hero; and, if he had not composed his divine " treatise, his death alone would have immorta.
* Thig flocking but picturesque fubject now speaks to all nationis in the universal language of Sir Joshua Reynolds, English Translatur.
E FACE. “ lized him ; a death as glorious to him as " it was in famous to Zenobia and Aurelian.'
The following passage is a farther striking proof of the taste and impartiality of Mr. Sherlock:
“ If I have not named the great Corneille, it is “ not that I by any means deny his claim to that “ title. I did not propose to discuss the French
literature, but only to point out the models of “ good taste; and Corneille does not belong to “ this class. The taste must be formed before he " is read: but here you ask me, must Shak
speare therefore be studied as a model of good “ taste?' The question is severe, and I will not “ answer it-But, o Truth, thou art my only “ idol. I sacrifice on thy altar my darling poet, « and I answer, No."
The style of this little work will please some, and will displease others. Such as it is, it is the author's, and not mine. I have not only considered it as my duty to translate his thoughts with the utmost exactness; but I have carried my
scruples so far as to preserve, as far as the difference of languages would allow it, the arrangement of his words, the turn of his phrase, and, if I may so express it, the physiognomy of his style *. Thus, whatever opinion may be formed of it, I ought to have no share either in the praises or in the censures. If the object reflected by a faith* The English translator may strictly say the same.
P R E F A C E.
It was my first intention to have given a com-
* Volume II ; of which an English translation was printed, for the author, by Mr. Nichols.