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a Didactic poem; and he who has the power of arguing in verse, will not lose it because his subject is sacred. A poet may describe the beauty and grandeur of nature; the flowers of the spring, and the harvests of autumn; the vicissitudes of the tide, and the revolutions of the sky; and praise the Maker for his works in lines which no reader shall lay aside. The subject of the disputation is not piety, but the motives to piety; that of the description is not God, but the works of God. · Contemplative piety, or the intercourse between God and the human soul, cannot be poetical. Man admitted to inplore the mercy of bis Cream tor, and plead the merits of his Redeemer, is already in a higher state than poetry can confer.
The essence of poetry is invention, such invention as, by producing something unexpected, surprises and delights. The topics of devotion are few, and being few, are universally known; but few as they are, they can be made no more; they can receive no grace from novelty of sentiment, and very little from novelty of expression.
Poetry pleases by exhibiting an idea more grateful to the mind than the things themselves afford. ' This effect proceeds from the display of those parts of nature which attract, and the concealment of those which repel the imagination: but religion must be shown as it is; suppression and addition equally corrupt it ; and, such as it is, it is known already: from poetry the reader justly expects, and from good poetry always obtains, the enlargement of his comprehension, and elevation of his fancy; but this is rarely to be hoped by Christians from metrical devotion. Whatever is great, desirable, or tremendous, is comprised in the name of the Supreme Being. Omnipotence cannot be exalt
ed; infinity cannot be amplified; perfecnion cannot be improved.
The employments of pious meditation are faith, thanksgiving, repentance, and supplication. Faith, invariably uniform, cannot be invested by fancy with decorations. Thanksgiving, the 'most joyful of all holy effusions, yet addressed to a Being without passions, is confined to a fet modes, and is to be felt rather than expressed. Repentance, trembling in the presence of the judge, is not at leisure for cadence and epithets, Supplication of man to man may diffuse itself through many topics of persuasion; but supplication to God can only cry for mercy.
Of sentiments purely religious, it will be found that the most simple expression is the most sublime. Poetry loses its lustre and its power, because it is applied to the decorations of something more excellent than itself. All that verse can do is to help the memory, and delight the ear; and for these purposes it may be very useful: but it supplies nothing to the mind. The ideas of Christian theology are too simple for eloquence, too sacred for fiction, and too majestic for ornament; to recommend them by tropes and figures, is to magnify by a concave mirror the sideral hemisphere.
Life of Waller.
DUTY. When we act according to our duty, we commit the event to him by whose laws our actions are governed, and who will suffer none to be fipally punished for obedience. But when, in prospect of some good, whether natural or moral, we break the rules prescribed to us, we withdraw
from the direction of superior wisdom, and take all consequences upon ourselves. ...
Prince of Abý flina, p. 203. ' 1!", PE DUTIES. Much of the prosperity of a trading nation des pends upon duties properly apportioned; so that what is necessary may continue cheap, and what js of use only to luxury, may in some measure atone to the public for the mischief done to individuals. Duties may, often be so regulated, as to become useful, even to those that pay them; and they may be likewise so unequally imposed, as to discourage honesty, depress industry, and give temptation to fraud and unlawful practices.
· Preface to Dictionary of Commerce, p. 289..
DILIGENCE. i Diligence in employments of less consequence is the most successful introduction to greater venterprizes.
. .. Life of Drake, p. 160. Diligence is never wholly:lost.;'. : D onne voo's new.. .to . Še ved «Lite of Collins. .!..it DUPLICITY.
It is generally the fate of a double dealer, to . Jose his power and keep his enemies.
Life of Swift
DISGUISE. ... . - Disguise can gratify no longerthan it deceives,
****, Life of Somerville:
DULNESS. Dulness and deformity are not culpable in them. selves; but may be very justly reproached when, they pretend to the honour of wit or the influence of beauty.
Life of Pope.
If delusion be once admitted, it has no certain limitation.
**;? w Preface to Shakspeare, p. 113.
;) DIFICULTY. ..., Nothing is difficult, when gain and honour unite their influence.
Falkland Islands, B.
" ENVY. HE that knows himself despised, will always be envious; and still more envious and malevolent if he is condemned to live in the prese nce of those who despise him.
: Prince of Abyssinia, L. 86. To see the highest minds levelled with the meanest, may produce some solace to the cont sciousness of weakness, and some modification to the pride of wisdom; but let it be a member ed, that minds are not levelled in the ir powers, but when they are first levelled in the ir desires.
Life of Dryden:
It is not only to many more pleasing to recolo lect those faults which place others below them, .than those virtues by which they are themselves
comparatively depressed, but it is likewise more .easy to neglect than to recompense; and though there are few who will practise a laborious virtue, there never will be wanting multitudes that will indulge an easy vice..
Life of Savage. The great law of mutual benevolence, is, perhaps, oftener violated by envy than by interest. Interest can diffuse itself but to a narrow compass. Interest requires some qualites not universally bestowed. Interest is seldom pursued but at some hazard; but to spread suspicion, to invent calumnies, to propagate scandal, requires neither talents, nor labour, 'nor courage.
. Rambler, vol. 4, p. 125.& 126.
EXAMPLE. Every man, in whatever station, has,, or endeavours to have, his followers, admirers, and imi. tators; and has therefore the influence of his example to watch with care; he ought to avoid not only crimes, but the appearance of crimes, and not only to practise virtue, but to applaud, countenance, and support it; for it is possible, for want of attention, we may teach others faults from which ourselves are free, or, by a cowardly desertion of a cause, which we ourselves approve, may pervert those who fix their eyes upon us, and having no rule of their own to guide their course, are easily misled by the aberrations of that exaniple which they choose for their direction.
Ibid, vol. 2, p. 95.