moral art, is itself too, in every instant, confummate and complete ; is neither heightened nor diminished by tle quantity of its duration, but is the same to its enjoyers, for a moment or á century.

UPON this I smiled. He asked me the reason. It is only to observe, said I, the course of our inquiries. A new hypothesis has been advanced: appearing somewhat strange, it is desired to be explained. You comply with the request, and in pursuit of the explanation, make it ten times more obscure and unintelligible than before. It is but too often the fate, said he, of us commentators. But you know in fuch cases what is usually done. When the comment will not explain the text, we try whether the text will not ex. plain itself. This method, it is poffible, may aslift us here, The hypothesis, which we would have illustrated, was no more than this: That the Sovereign Good lay in Rectitude of Conduct ; and that this Good corresponded to all our pre conceptions. Let us examine, then, whether upon trial, this correspondence will appear to hold; and, for all that we have advanced lance, suffer it to pass, and not perplex us. Agreed, said I, willingly, for now I hape to comprehend you.

Recollect then, said he. Do you not remeniber that one pre-conception of the Sovereign Good, was to be accommodated to all times and places? I remember it. And is there any time, or any place, whence Recticade of Con. duct may

be excluded ? Is there not a right action in profperity, a right action in adversity ? May there not be a decent, generous, and laudable behaviour, not only in peace; in power, and in health, but in war, in oppression, in fickó pels, and in death? There may.


And what shall we say to those other pre-conceptions; to being durable, self-derived, and indeprivable? Can there be any Good so durable, as the power of always doing right?

Is there any Good conceiveable, fo entirely beyond the power of others? Or, if you hesitate, and are doubtful, I would willingly be informed, into what circumstances may fortune throw a brave and honest man, where it shall not be in his power to act bravely and honestly? If there be no such, then Rectitude of Conduct, if a Good, is a Good indeprivable. I confefs, said I, it appears fo.

But farther, said he: Another pre-conception of the Sovereign Good was, to be agreeable to nature.

It was. And can any thing be more agreeable to a ratiònal and social animal, than rational and social conduct ? Nothing. But Rectitude of Conduct is with us Rational and Social Conduá. It is.

Once more, continued he: Another pre-conception of this Good was, to be conducive not to mere being, but to well-being. Admit it. And can any thing, believe you, conduce fo probably to the well-being of a rational, focial animal, as the right exercise of that reason and of those social affections ? Nothing. And what is this fame exercise, but. the highest Re&titude of Conduct : Certainly.


[blocks in formation]

ON CRITICISM. -AND how did Garrick speak the soliloquy laft night? Oh, against all rule, my lord; moft ungrammatically? betwixt the substantive and the adjective, which should agree together in number, case, and gender, he made a breach


thus-stopping as if the point wanted settling';-and betwixt the nominative case, which your lordship knows should govern the verb, he suspended his voice in the epilogue a dozen times, three seconds, and three fifths, by a stop-watch, my lord, each time.-Admirable grammarian !-But in furpending his voice-was the sense suspended likewise? did no expression of attitude or countenance fill up the chasms?

-Was the eye silent ? Did you narrowly look ?-I looked only at the stop-watch, my lord.—Excellent observer !

And what of this new book the whole world makes such a route about ?-Oh! ’ris out of all plumb, my lord, quite an irregular thing! not one of the angles at the four corners was a right angle.—I had my rule and compasses, &c. my lord, in my pocket.--Excellent critic!

-And for the epic poem your lord ship bid me look at; :-upon taking the length, breadth, height, and depth of it, and trying them at home upon an exact scale of Boffu's 'tis out, my lord, in every one of its dimensions.-Admi. rable connoisseur !

-And did you step in to take a look at the grand picture in your way back ?--'Tis a melancholy daub! my lord; not one principle of the pyramid in any one group ! —and what a price !--for there is nothing of the colouring of Titian—the expression of Rabens the grace of Raphael—the purity of Dominichino—the corregiescity of Corregio—the learning of Popilin the airs of Guidothe taste of the Carrachii-or the grand contour of Angelo. Grant me patience, juft Heaven!

Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world--though the cant of hypocrites, may be the worft-thecant of criticism is the most tormenting!


I would go fifty miles on foot, to kiss the hand of that man, whose generous heart will give up the reins of his imagination into his author's hands-be pleased he knows not why, and cares not wherefore.



ON NEGRO E S. When Tom, ano please your honour, got to the shop, there was nobody in it, but a poor Negro girl, with a bunch of white feathers slightly tied to the end of a long cane, flapping away flies--not killing them—'Tis a pretty picture! said my uncle Toby-lhe had suffered persecution, Trim, and had learnt mercy

- She was good, an' please your honour, from nature as well as from hardships; and there are circumstances in the story of that poor friendless slut that would melt a heart of stone, faid Trim; and some dismal winter's evening, when your honour is in the humour, they shall be told

you with the rest of Tom's story, for it makes a part of it

Then do not forget, Trim, said my uncle Toby."

A Negro has a soul, an' please your honour, said the. corporal (doubtingly)?

I am not much verfed, corporal, quoth my uncle Toby, in things of that kind ; but I suppose, God would not leave · him without one, any more than thee or me.

-It would be putting one sadly over the head of another, quoth the corporal.

It would fo, faid my uncle Toby. Why then, an' please your honour, is a black wench to be used worse than a white one?



I can give no reason,' faid my uncle Toby

ONLY, cried the corporal, shaking his head, because she has no one to stand up for her

-"Tıs that very thing, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, which recommends her to protection, and her brethren with

er;—'tis the fortune of war which has put the whip into our hands now where it may be hereafter, Heaven knows !

-but be it where it will, the brave Trim, will not use it unkindly.

God forbid, said the corporal.

Amex, responded my uncle Toby, laying his hand upon his heart.



RIVERS AND SIR HARRY: Sie HAR. COLONEL, your moft obedient: I am come upon the old bufiness; for unless I am allowed to entertain hopes of Miss Rivers, I fall be the most miferable of all human beings.

Riv. Sir Harry, I have already told you by letter, and I now tell you personally, I cannot listen to your proposals.

Sir Har. No, Sir.

Riv. No, Sir; I have promised my daughter to Mr. Sidney; do you know that, Sir?

SIR HAR. I do; but what then ! Engagements of this kind, you know

Riv. So then, you do know I have promised her to Mr. Sidney?

SIR HAR. I do; but I also know that matters are not finally settled between Mr. Sidney and you and I moreover


« VorigeDoorgaan »