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ever: considerable our own lofs is, yet bition. When one sees a person in the wih respect to himself, it scarce deserves full bloom of life, thus destroyed by one to be lamented that he arrived so much Sudden blaft, one cannot but confider tarlier at the grave than his years and all the distant schemes of mankind as his health seemed to promise? For who, the highest folly. my friend, that has any expertence of It is amazing indeed that a creature the world, would wish to extend his du- such as man, with so many memorials ration to old age? What indeed is length around him of the shortness of his duraof days, but to survive all one's enjoy tion, and who cannot ensure to himielf ments, and, perhaps, to survive even even the next moment, should yet plan one's very felf? I have somewhere met designs which run farinto futurity. The with an ancient infcription founded upon business however of life must be carried this fentiment, which infinitely pleased on, and it is necessary for the purposes me. It was fixed upon a bath, and con- of human affairs, that mankind should tained an iinprecation, in the following resolutely act upon very precarious conterms, again't any one who should at tingencies. Too much reflection, there.' tempt to remove the building:
fore, is as inconsistent with the appoint.
ed measures of our station, as too little; QISQUIS. HOC. SVSTVLERIT.
and there cannot be a less desirable turn AVT. JYSSERIT.
of mind, than one that is infljenced by VLTIMVS. SYOR VM. MORIA TVR.
an over-refined philofophy. . At least it The thought is conceived with great de- is by confiderations of this fort, that I licacy and juttness; as there cannot, endeavour to call off my thoughts from perhaps, be a sharper calamity to a ge- pursuing too earnestly those reasonings, nerous mind, than to see itself hand which the occasion of this letter is apt to fingle amidst the ruins of whatever ren- fuggelt. This use, however, one inay dered the world inolt desirable.
justly make of the present accident, that Instances of the fort I am lamenting, whilft it contracts the circle of friendwhile the impressions remain freth npon thip, it should render it so much the more the mind, are fufficient to damp the valuable to us who yet walk within it's gayest hopes, and chill the warmelt am- limits. Adieu. I am, &c.
MAY 4, 1740. F the ingenious piece you communis result (if I am not misinformed) of touches of your pencil; I must acknow. who undertook to transcribe one of the ledge the truth to be, what you are in noblest performances of the finest genius clined to fuspect, that my friendship has that this, or perhaps any age can boalt, imposed upon my judgment. But though has often assured me, that there is not in the present instance your delicacy a single line, as it is now publihed, seems far too refined, yet, in general, which stands in conformity with the oriI must agree with yol, that works of ginal manuscript. The truth is, every the most permanent kind are not the sentiment has it's peculiar expression, effects of a lucky moment, nor Itruck and every word it's precife place, which out at a fin le heat. The best perform- do not always immediately present them ances, indeed, have generally cost the felves, and generally demand frequent molt labour ; and that ease, which is so trials before they can be properly adessential to fine writing, has seldom been justed: not to mention the more iinattained without re eated and severe cor- portant difficulties, which necessarily ocrections: Ludentis speciem dabit et tor- cur in settling the plan and regulating quebitur is a motto that may be ap- the higher parts which compose the plied, I believe, to most successful au. Atructure of a finished work. thors of genius. Witb as much facility Those, indeed, who know what pangs as the numbers of the natural Prior seem it cost even the most fertile genius to be to have lowed from him, they were the delivered of a just and segular produce
tion, might be inclined, perhaps, to cry quisite judgment conceived to be still out with the most antient of author's necessary, he directed his friends Tucca • Obl that mine adversary bad written and Varius to burn the noblest poem that * a book! A writer of refined taste has ever appeared in the Roman language. the continual mortification to find him. In the lame spirit of delicacy Mr. Dryfelf incapable of taking entire poffeffion den tells us, that had he taken more time of that ideal beauty which warms and in translating this author, he might poffills his imagination. His conceptions fibly have succeeded better; but never, ftill rise above all the powers of his art, he assures us, could he have succeeded and he can but faintly copy out those so well as to have satisfied hiinfelf. images of perfection which are im- In a word, Hortenfius, I agree with prefied upon his mind, Never was you, that there is nothing more difficult
any thing,' says Tully,' more beau. than to fill up the character of an au. • tiful than the Venus of Apelles, or thor who proposes to raise a just and • the Jove of Phidias; yet were they by lasting admiration; who is not contented
no mcans equal to those high notions with those little transient flashes of ap• of beauty which animated the geniuses plause which attend the ordinary race • of those wonderful artists. In the of writers, but considers only how he fame manner, he observes, the great may shine out to posterity; who extends malters of oratory imaged to themelves his views beyond the present generation, a certain perfection of eloquence, which and cultivates those productions which they could only contemplate in idea, but are to flourish in future ages. What in vain attempted to draw out in ex- Sir William Temple observes of poetry, preffion. Perhaps no author ever per- may be applied to every other work petuated his reputation, who could write where taste and imagination are conup to the full itandard of his own judg- cerned. It requires the greatest conment: and I am persuaded that he, who traries to compose it; a genius both upon a survey of his compositions can penetrating and folid; an expression with entire complacency pronounce them both strong and delicate. There must good, will hardly find the world join • be a great agitation of mind to inwith him in the same, favourable sen- ' vent, a great calm to judge and cortence.
rect: there must be upon the fame tree, The most judicious of all poets, the ' and at the same time, both flower and inimitable Virgil, used to resemble his fruit.' But though, I know, you productions to those of that aniinal who would not value yourself upon any agreeabiy to the notions of the antients, performance, wherein these very oppowas supposed to bring her young into fite and very singular qualities were not the world a mere rude and shapeless conspicuous; yet I must remind you at mals: he was obliged to retouch them the same time, that when the file ceases again and again, he acknowledged, be to polish, it muft neceffarily weaken. fore they acquired their proper form and You will remember therefore, that there beauty. Accordingly we are told, that is a medium between the immoderate after having spent eleven years in com- caution of that orator, who was three posing his Æneid, he intended to have olympiads in writing a single oration; set apart three more for the revifal of and the extravagant expedition of that that glorions performance. But being poet, whose funeral pile was composed prevented by his last sickness from giving of his own numberlels productions. thote finishing touches which his ex- Adieu. I am, &c.
I the gaiety of youth, and
my fide, under the shade of a spread- beauty; while ing elm that hangs over the banks of
Gentle gales, our river. A nightingale, more har. Fanning their odorif'rous wings, dispense monious even than Strada's, is serenad. Native perfumes,andwhisper whencethey fole ing us from a hawthorn buh which Those balmy (poils..
Whilst I am thus enjoying the inno- and innocently gratify, and to banish cent luxury of this vernal delight, I all the rest as so many bold in truders look back upon those scenes of turbu. upon my repofe. I endeavour to praclence, wherein I was once engaged, with tile the maxim of a French poet, by more than ordinary distaste; and despise considering every thing that is not with myself for ever having entertained to in my possession, as not worth having. mean a thought as to be rich and great.
Pour m'afürer le seul bies One of our monarchs used to say, That he looked upon those to be the happiest Tout ce que je n'ai pas, je le compte pour rier.
Que l'on doit estimer au monde, men in the nation, whose fortune had placed them in the country, above a high- Is it not possible, Palemon, to recon• conftable, and below the trouble of a cile you to these unaspiring sentiments, justice of peace. It is in a mediocrity and to lower your flight to the humble of this happy kind that I here pass my level of genuine happiness? Let me at life: with a fortune far above the neces. least prevail with you to spare a day or lity of engaging in the drudgery of busi- two from the certamina divitiarum, (as Dess, and with desires much too humble Horace I think calls them) from those 'to have any relish for the splendid baits splendid contests in which you are enof ambition.
gaged, just to take a view of the sort of You must not, however, imagine life we lead in the country. If there is that I affe&t the Stoic, or pretend to have any thing wanting to complete the haperadicated all my passions: the sum of piness I here find, it is that you are la my philosophy amounts to no more than seldom a witness to it. Adieu. I am, to cherith none but such as I may easily &c.
JULY 3, 1744 THE beauties of style seem to be he wrote upon this subject, is perished attention both of an author and a readage? But though we are deprived of er. I know not, therefore, whether I the benefit of his observations, we are may venture, to acknowledge, that happily not without an instance of their among the numberless graces of your effects; and his own memoirs will ever late performance, I particularly admir. remain as the best and brightest exemed that strength and elegance with which plar, not only of true general/hip, but you have enforced and adorned the no. of fine writing. He published them, blest sentiments.
indeed, only as materials for the use of There was a time however (and it was those who should be disposed to enlarge a period of the truest refinements) when upon that remarkable period of the Roan excellence of this kind was efteemed man story; yet the purity and gracefulin the number of the politest accomplish- ness of his style were such, that nojuments; as it was the ambition of some dicious writer durst attempt to touch the of the greatest names of antiquity to diso subject after him. tinguish themselves in the improvements Having produced so illustrious an inof their native tongue. Julius Cæsar, stance in favour of an art, for which I who was not only the greatest hero, but have ventured to admire you; it would the finest gentleman that ever, perhaps, be impertinent to add a fecond, were I appeared in the world, was desirous of to cite a less authority than that of the adding this talent to his other most immortal Tully. This noble author, lining endowments: and we are told in his dialogue concerning the celebrathe studied the language of his country ed Roman orators, frequently mentions with much application; as we are sure it as a very high encomium, that they he possessed it in it's highest elegance. poffefled the elegance of their native lanWhat a loss, Euphronius, is it to the guage; and introduces Brutus as deliterary world, that the treatise which claring, that he should prefer the ho