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devout lover of poetry may yet build him a monu
“Since Spencer hath a stone ; and Drayton's browes
“ If some please their patrons with hyperboles, or mysterious nonsense, and then complain, if they are not noticed, that the state neglects men of parts; and seem to think all other kinds of excellence unworthy of reputation, let us set so just a value on knowledge, that the world may trust the sentence of a poet.
“ I write to you, Sir, on this theame, because
But age doth dote without philosophic." The ist part closes at pp. 65–67, with a poem so simple, so chaste, so elegant, harmonious, and happy, as to exceed my powers of praise.
“ The Description of Castara.
For shee's to herselfe untrue,
She her throne makes reason climbe,
All her vows religious be,
[To be continued.]
Difference between Thought and Action. Elevated
sentiments not to be taxed with want of sincerity, nor as useless, because not always followed by practice.
Every one is aware of the difference between thought and action. To conceive a plan, and to execute it, requires talents so dissimilar, that they but rarely concentre in the same person.
He whose mind is exercised in discriminating the varieties of the human character, will every day meet with men, who, without the power of reasoning, are capable of fixing upon a practical result not inconcordant at least with worldly wisdom. Many may call this an intuitive sagacity; and it sometimes deserves the
But its appearance of force often, I suspect, proceeds from the weight of its materiality; from its being addressed to the senses, rather than to the intellect.
Men of this cast judge of every thing only by its execution. “ Act,” they cry, “ and do not talk; words are only wind !” Ideas they consider as vapoury
as the fantastic shapes of the clouds, and as liable to pass away: they judge of the visions of theory as of the imaginations of the insane. Nay, they deem that there is a kind of falsehood and deceit in the expression of sentiments and convictions, which are not instantly followed up by practice.
For the ordinary purposes of life, the gracious decrees of Providence have ordered that this low sort of understanding should be sufficient. As long as it keeps within its province, and does not aspire to insult or decry those of higher endowments, it may be pitied, and now and then even approved. But when it ventures to despise “ the shadowy tribes of mind ;" and to refuse all credit to the eloquence of the head, or the sensibilities of the heart, because action cannot always keep pace with the rapid travels of the soul, it must not complain if it draw down the indignation due to its groveling nature.
It is almost inconceivable how little understanding is necessary to enable a man to preserve the appear. ance of a coarse rectitude of conduct through life. If he never venture to reason; if he keep a solemn reserve; and occasionally pronounce a decision on the pending topic in an oracular tone, - nd act with prudential caution, he will have the credit of possessing good sound common sense : while the most brilliant talents will be thought frothy and superficial, if they are sometimes too refined for the routine of vulgar business, and sometimes evaporate in speculation.
These narrow and illiberal censurers indeed go much further; they even suspect and accuse of want of integrity, those whose conceptions and expressions are sometimes too abundant, or ioo visionary for action,
But what can be more ignorant, or more unjust than this stigma?
The contempt of stupidity is, it must be confessed, very provoking. Why should the dull soppose that nothing is good but according to their own model? Why should they endeavour to lower us down to mere materialism?
It is among the evils which mix themselves in this world with all good, that the very superiority to which acute and highly-cultivated minds are raised, exposes them to many keen disgusts and inortifications, to which those of a coarser cast are insensible. The former are of a temperament too nice for the common intercourse of society. The rudeness and insults of the obtuse-headed and the hard-hearted, make too deep an impression on them. The finer mechanism of their internal emotions is deranged by rough and brutal behaviour. Otherwise, such pitiful and illfounded animadversions would not for a moment give pain to a well-regulated intellect.
a It is a mark of the divine part of our nature, to be constantly aspiring at some excellence beyond our practical reach; and to indulge a thousand virtuous visions, which, if they have vanished with the clouds, have yet not fitted across our fancies in vain!
Whoever is in the habitual practice of accusing the eloquent and richly-gifted, of an hypocritical want of integrity, because they cannot always act up to their own theories and expressions, ought to be despised for his ignorance, and branded for his defect of charity.
That beings of this low and base conformation should hate poetry, and all the charms of fiction, can excite no wonder : indeed the contrary would be