Biographia Literaria
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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[18] In opinions of long continuance, and in which we have never before been molested by a single doubt, to be suddenly convinced of an error, is almost like being convicted of a fault. There is a state of mind, which is the direct antithesis of that, which takes place when we make a bull. The bull namely consists in the bringing her two incompatible thoughts, with the sensation, but without the sense, of their connection. The psychological condition, or that which constitutes the possibility, of this state, being such disproportionate vividness of two distant thoughts, as extinguishes or obscures the consciousness of the intermediate images or conceptions, or wholly abstracts the attention from them. Thus in the well known bull, "I was a fine child, but they changed me:" the first conception expressed in the word "I," is that of personal identity—Ego contemplans: the second expressed in the word "me," is the visual image or object by which the mind represents to itself its past condition, or rather, its personal identity under the form in which it imagined itself previously to have existed,—Ego contemplatus. Now the change of one visual image for another involves in itself no absurdity, and becomes absurd only by its immediate juxta-position with the fast thought, which is rendered possible by the whole attention being successively absorbed to each singly, so as not to notice the interjacent notion, changed, which by its incongruity, with the first thought, I, constitutes the bull. Add only, that this process is facilitated by the circumstance of the words I, and me, being sometimes equivalent, and sometimes having a distinct meaning; sometimes, namely, signifying the act of self-consciousness, sometimes the external image in and by which the mind represents that act to itself, the result and symbol of its individuality. Now suppose the direct contrary state, and you will have a distinct sense of the connection between two conceptions, without that sensation of such connection which is supplied by habit. The man feels as if he were standing on his head though he cannot but see that he is truly standing on his feet. This, as a painful sensation, will of course have a tendency to associate itself with him who occasions it; even as persons, who have been by painful means restored from derangement, are known to feel an involuntary dislike towards their physician.

[19] Without however the apprehensions attributed to the Pagan reformer of the poetic republic. If we may judge from the preface to the recent collection of his poems, Mr. W. would have answered with Xanthias—

su d' ouk edeisas ton huophon ton rhaematon, kai tas apeilas; XAN, ou ma Di', oud' ephrontisa.—Ranae, 492-3.

And here let me hint to the authors of the numerous parodies, and pretended imitations of Mr. Wordsworth's style, that at once to conceal and convey wit and wisdom in the semblance of folly and dulness, as is done in the Clowns and Fools, nay even in the Dogberry, of our Shakespeare, is doubtless a proof of genius, or at all events of satiric talent; but that the attempt to ridicule a silly and childish poem, by writing another still sillier and still more childish, can only prove (if it prove any thing at all) that the parodist is a still greater blockhead than the original writer, and, what is far worse, a malignant coxcomb to boot. The talent for mimicry seems strongest where the human race are most degraded. The poor, naked half human savages of New Holland were found excellent mimics: and, in civilized society, minds of the very lowest stamp alone satirize by copying. At least the difference which must blend with and balance the likeness, in order to constitute a just imitation, existing here merely in caricature, detracts from the libeller's heart, without adding an iota to the credit of his understanding.

[20] The Butterfly the ancient Grecians made The soul's fair emblem, and its only name— But of the soul, escaped the slavish trade Of mortal life! For to this earthly frame Ours is the reptile's lot, much toil, much blame, Manifold motions making little speed, And to deform and kill the things whereon we feed.

[21] Mr. Wordsworth, even in his two earliest poems, The Evening Walk and the Descriptive Sketches, is more free from this latter defect than most of the young poets his contemporaries. It may however be exemplified, together with the harsh and obscure construction, in which he more often offended, in the following lines:—

"'Mid stormy vapours ever driving by, Where ospreys, cormorants, and herons cry; Where hardly given the hopeless waste to cheer, Denied the bread of life the foodful ear, Dwindles the pear on autumn's latest spray, And apple sickens pale in summer's ray; Ev'n here content has fixed her smiling reign With independence, child of high disdain."

I hope, I need not say, that I have quoted these lines for no other purpose than to make my meaning fully understood. It is to be regretted that Mr. Wordsworth has not republished these two poems entire.

[22] This is effected either by giving to the one word a general, and to the other an exclusive use; as "to put on the back" and "to indorse;" or by an actual distinction of meanings, as "naturalist," and "physician;" or by difference of relation, as "I" and "Me" (each of which the rustics of our different provinces still use in all the cases singular of the first personal pronoun). Even the mere difference, or corruption, in the pronunciation of the same word, if it have become general, will produce a new word with a distinct signification; thus "property" and "propriety;" the latter of which, even to the time of Charles II was the written word for all the senses of both. There is a sort of minim immortal among the animalcula infusoria, which has not naturally either birth, or death, absolute beginning, or absolute end: for at a certain period a small point appears on its back, which deepens and lengthens till the creature divides into two, and the same process recommences in each of the halves now become integral. This may be a fanciful, but it is by no means a bad emblem of the formation of words, and may facilitate the conception, how immense a nomenclature may be organized from a few simple sounds by rational beings in a social state. For each new application, or excitement of the same sound, will call forth a different sensation, which cannot but affect the pronunciation. The after recollections of the sound, without the same vivid sensation, will modify it still further till at length all trace of the original likeness is worn away.

[23] I ought to have added, with the exception of a single sheet which I accidentally met with at the printer's. Even from this scanty specimen, I found it impossible to doubt the talent, or not to admire the ingenuity, of the author. That his distinctions were for the greater part unsatisfactory to my mind, proves nothing against their accuracy; but it may possibly be serviceable to him, in case of a second edition, if I take this opportunity of suggesting the query; whether he may not have been occasionally misled, by having assumed, as to me he appears to have done, the non-existence of any absolute synonymes in our language? Now I cannot but think, that there are many which remain for our posterity to distinguish and appropriate, and which I regard as so much reversionary wealth in our mother tongue. When two distinct meanings are confounded under one or more words,— (and such must be the case, as sure as our knowledge is progressive and of course imperfect)—erroneous consequences will be drawn, and what is true in one sense of the word will be affirmed as true in toto. Men of research, startled by the consequences, seek in the things themselves—(whether in or out of the mind)—for a knowledge of the fact, and having discovered the difference, remove the equivocation either by the substitution of a new word, or by the appropriation of one of the two or more words, which had before been used promiscuously. When this distinction has been so naturalized and of such general currency that the language does as it were think for us—(like the sliding rule which is the mechanic's safe substitute for arithmetical knowledge)—we then say, that it is evident to common sense. Common sense, therefore, differs in different ages. What was born and christened in the Schools passes by degrees into the world at large, and becomes the property of the market and the tea-table. At least I can discover no other meaning of the term, common sense, if it is to convey any specific difference from sense and judgment in genere, and where it is not used scholastically for the universal reason. Thus in the reign of Charles II the philosophic world was called to arms by the moral sophisms of Hobbes, and the ablest writers exerted themselves in the detection of an error, which a school-boy would now be able to confute by the mere recollection, that compulsion and obligation conveyed two ideas perfectly disparate, and that what appertained to the one, had been falsely transferred to the other by a mere confusion of terms.

[24] I here use the word idea in Mr. Hume's sense on account of its general currency amongst the English metaphysicians; though against my own judgment, for I believe that the vague use of this word has been the cause of much error and more confusion. The word, idea, in its original sense as used by Pindar, Aristophanes, and in the Gospel of St. Matthew, represented the visual abstraction of a distant object, when we see the whole without distinguishing its parts. Plato adopted it as a technical term, and as the antithesis to eidolon, or sensuous image; the transient and perishable emblem, or mental word, of the idea. Ideas themselves he considered as mysterious powers, living, seminal, formative, and exempt from time. In this sense the word Idea became the property of the Platonic school; and it seldom occurs in Aristotle, without some such phrase annexed to it, as according to Plato, or as Plato says. Our English writers to the end of the reign of Charles II or somewhat later, employed it either in the original sense, or Platonically, or in a sense nearly correspondent to our present use of the substantive, Ideal; always however opposing it, more or less to image, whether of present or absent objects. The reader will not be displeased with the following interesting exemplification from Bishop Jeremy Taylor. "St. Lewis the King sent Ivo Bishop of Chartres on an embassy, and he told, that he met a grave and stately matron on the way with a censer of fire in one band, and a vessel of water in the other; and observing her to have a melancholy, religious, and phantastic deportment and look, he asked her what those symbols meant, and what she meant to do with her fire and water; she answered, My purpose is with the fire to burn paradise, and with my water to quench the flames of hell, that men may serve God purely for the love of God. But we rarely meet with such spirits which love virtue so metaphysically as to abstract her from all sensible compositions, and love the purity of the idea." Des Cartes having introduced into his philosophy the fanciful hypothesis of material ideas, or certain configurations of the brain, which were as so many moulds to the influxes of the external world,—Locke adopted the term, but extended its signification to whatever is the immediate object of the mind's attention or consciousness. Hume, distinguishing those representations which are accompanied with a sense of a present object from those reproduced by the mind itself, designated the former by impressions, and confined the word idea to the latter.

[25] I am aware, that this word occurs neither in Johnson's Dictionary nor in any classical writer. But the word, to intend, which Newton and others before him employ in this sense, is now so completely appropriated to another meaning, that I could not use it without ambiguity: while to paraphrase the sense, as by render intense, would often break up the sentence and destroy that harmony of the position of the words with the logical position of the thoughts, which is a beauty in all composition, and more especially desirable in a close philosophical investigation. I have therefore hazarded the word, intensify: though, I confess, it sounds uncouth to my own ear.

[26] And Coxcombs vanquish Berkeley by a grin.

[27] Videlicet; Quantity, Quality, Relation, and Mode, each consisting of three subdivisions. See Kritik der reinen Vernunft. See too the judicious remarks on Locke and Hume.

[28] St. Luke x. 21.

[29] An American Indian with little variety of images, and a still scantier stock of language, is obliged to turn his few words to many purposes, by likenesses so clear and analogies so remote as to give his language the semblance and character of lyric poetry interspersed with grotesques. Something not unlike this was the case of such men as Behmen and Fox with regard to the Bible. It was their sole armoury of expressions, their only organ of thought.

[30] The following burlesque on the Fichtean Egoisnsus may, perhaps, be amusing to the few who have studied the system, and to those who are unacquainted with it, may convey as tolerable a likeness of Fichte's idealism as can be expected from an avowed caricature.

The Categorical Imperative, or the annunciation of the new Teutonic God, EGOENKAIPAN: a dithyrambic ode, by QUERKOPF VON KLUBSTICK, Grammarian, and Subrector in Gymmasic.

Eu! Dei vices gerens, ipse Divus, (Speak English, Friend!) the God Imperativus, Here on this market-cross aloud I cry: I, I, I! I itself I! The form and the substance, the what and the why, The when and the where, and the low and the high, The inside and outside, the earth and the sky, I, you and he, and he, you and I, All souls and all bodies are I itself I! All I itself I! (Fools! a truce with this starting!) All my I! all my I! He's a heretic dog who but adds Betty Martin! Thus cried the God with high imperial tone; In robe of stiffest state, that scoffed at beauty, A pronoun-verb imperative he shone— Then substantive and plural-singular grown He thus spake on! Behold in I alone (For ethics boast a syntax of their own) Or if in ye, yet as I doth depute ye, In O! I, you, the vocative of duty! I of the world's whole Lexicon the root! Of the whole universe of touch, sound, sight The genitive and ablative to boot: The accusative of wrong, the nominative of right, And in all cases the case absolute! Self-construed, I all other moods decline: Imperative, from nothing we derive us; Yet as a super-postulate of mine, Unconstrued antecedence I assign To X, Y, Z, the God Infinitivus!

[31] It would be an act of high and almost criminal injustice to pass over in silence the name of Mr. Richard Saumarez, a gentleman equally well known as a medical man and as a philanthropist, but who demands notice on the present occasion as the author of "A new System of Physiology" in two volumes octavo, published 1797; and in 1812 of "An Examination of the natural and artificial Systems of Philosophy which now prevail" in one volume octavo, entitled, "The Principles of physiological and physical Science." The latter work is not quite equal to the former in style or arrangement; and there is a greater necessity of distinguishing the principles of the author's philosophy from his conjectures concerning colour, the atmospheric matter, comets, etc. which, whether just or erroneous, are by no means necessary consequences of that philosophy. Yet even in this department of this volume, which I regard as comparatively the inferior work, the reasonings by which Mr. Saumarez invalidates the immanence of an infinite power in any finite substance are the offspring of no common mind; and the experiment on the expansibility of the air is at least plausible and highly ingenious. But the merit, which will secure both to the book and to the writer a high and honourable name with posterity, consists in the masterly force of reasoning, and the copiousness of induction, with which he has assailed, and (in my opinion) subverted the tyranny of the mechanic system in physiology; established not only the existence of final causes, but their necessity and efficiency to every system that merits the name of philosophical; and, substituting life and progressive power for the contradictory inert force, has a right to be known and remembered as the first instaurator of the dynamic philosophy in England. The author's views, as far as concerns himself, are unborrowed and completely his own, as he neither possessed nor do his writings discover, the least acquaintance with the works of Kant, in which the germs of the philosophy exist: and his volumes were published many years before the full development of these germs by Schelling. Mr. Saumarez's detection of the Braunonian system was no light or ordinary service at the time; and I scarcely remember in any work on any subject a confutation so thoroughly satisfactory. It is sufficient at this time to have stated the fact; as in the preface to the work, which I have already announced on the Logos, I have exhibited in detail the merits of this writer, and genuine philosopher, who needed only have taken his foundation somewhat deeper and wider to have superseded a considerable part of my labours.

[32] But for sundry notes on Shakespeare, and other pieces which have fallen in my way, I should have deemed it unnecessary to observe; that discourse here, or elsewhere does not mean what we now call discoursing; but the discursion of the mind, the processes of generalization and subsumption, of deduction and conclusion. Thus, Philosophy has hitherto been discursive; while Geometry is always and essentially intuitive.

[33] Revelation xx. 3.

[34] See Laing's History of Scotland.—Walter Scott's bards, ballads, etc.

[35] Thus organization, and motion are regarded as from God, not in God.

[36] Job, chap. xxviii.

[37] Wherever AB, and A is notB, are equally demonstrable, the premise in each undeniable, the induction evident, and the conclusion legitimate—the result must be, either that contraries can both be true, (which is absurd,) or that the faculty and forms of reasoning employed are inapplicable to the subject—i.e. that there is a metabasis eis allo genos. Thus, the attributes of Space and time applied to Spirit are heterogeneous—and the proof of this is, that by admitting them explicite or implicite contraries may be demonstrated true—i.e. that the same, taken in the same sense, is true and not true.—That the world had a beginning in Time and a bound in Space; and That the world had not a beginning and has no limit;—That a self originating act is, and is not possible, are instances.

[38] To those, who design to acquire the language of a country in the country itself, it may be useful, if I mention the incalculable advantage which I derived from learning all the words, that could possibly be so learned, with the objects before me, and without the intermediation of the English terms. It was a regular part of my morning studies for the first six weeks of my residence at Ratzeburg, to accompany the good and kind old pastor, with whom I lived, from the cellar to the roof, through gardens, farmyard, etc. and to call every, the minutest, thing by its German name. Advertisements, farces, jest books, and the conversation of children while I was at play with them, contributed their share to a more home-like acquaintance with the language than I could have acquired from works of polite literature alone, or even from polite society. There is a passage of hearty sound sense in Luther's German Letter on interpretation, to the translation of which I shall prefix, for the sake of those who read the German, yet are not likely to have dipped often in the massive folios of this heroic reformer, the simple, sinewy, idiomatic words of the original. "Denn man muss nicht die Buchstaben in der Lateinischen Sprache fragen wie man soll Deutsch reden: sondern man muss die Mutter in Hause, die Kinder auf den Gassen, den gemeinen Mann auf dem Markte, darum fragen: und denselbigen auf das Maul sehen wie sie reden, und darnach dolmetschen. So verstehen sie es denn, und merken dass man Deutsch mit ihnen redet."


For one must not ask the letters in the Latin tongue, how one ought to speak German; but one must ask the mother in the house, the children in the lanes and alleys, the common man in the market, concerning this; yea, and look at the moves of their mouths while they are talking, and thereafter interpret. They understand you then, and mark that one talks German with them.

[39] This paraphrase, written about the time of Charlemagne, is by no means deficient in occasional passages of considerable poetic merit. There is a flow, and a tender enthusiasm in the following lines (at the conclusion of Chapter XI.) which, even in the translation will not, I flatter myself, fail to interest the reader. Ottfried is describing the circumstances immediately following the birth of our Lord.

She gave with joy her virgin breast; She hid it not, she bared the breast, Which suckled that divinest babe! Blessed, blessed were the breasts Which the Saviour infant kiss'd; And blessed, blessed was the mother Who wrapp'd his limbs in swaddling clothes, Singing placed him on her lap, Hung o'er him with her looks of love, And sooth'd him with a lulling motion. Blessed; for she shelter'd him From the damp and chilling air; Blessed, blessed! for she lay With such a babe in one blest bed, Close as babes and mothers lie! Blessed, blessed evermore, With her virgin lips she kiss'd, With her arms, and to her breast She embraced the babe divine, Her babe divine the virgin mother! There lives not on this ring of earth A mortal, that can sing her praise. Mighty mother, virgin pure, In the darkness and the night For us she bore the heavenly Lord!

Most interesting is it to consider the effect, when the feelings are wrought above the natural pitch by the belief of something mysterious, while all the images are purely natural. Then it is, that religion and poetry strike deepest.

[40] Lord Grenville has lately re-asserted (in the House of Lords) the imminent danger of a revolution in the earlier part of the war against France. I doubt not, that his Lordship is sincere; and it must be flattering to his feelings to believe it. But where are the evidences of the danger, to which a future historian can appeal? Or must he rest on an assertion? Let me be permitted to extract a passage on the subject from The Friend. "I have said that to withstand the arguments of the lawless, the anti-Jacobins proposed to suspend the law, and by the interposition of a particular statute to eclipse the blessed light of the universal sun, that spies and informers might tyrannize and escape in the ominous darkness. Oh! if these mistaken men, intoxicated with alarm and bewildered by that panic of property, which they themselves were the chief agents in exciting, had ever lived in a country where there really existed a general disposition to change and rebellion! Had they ever travelled through Sicily; or through France at the first coming on of the revolution; or even alas! through too many of the provinces of a sister island; they could not but have shrunk from their own declarations concerning the state of feeling and opinion at that time predominant throughout Great Britain. There was a time—(Heaven grant that that time may have passed by!)—when by crossing a narrow strait, they might have learned the true symptoms of approaching danger, and have secured themselves from mistaking the meetings and idle rant of such sedition, as shrank appalled from the sight of a constable, for the dire murmuring and strange consternation which precedes the storm or earthquake of national discord. Not only in coffee-houses and public theatres, but even at the tables of the wealthy, they would have heard the advocates of existing Government defend their cause in the language and with the tone of men, who are conscious that they are in a minority. But in England, when the alarm was at its highest, there was not a city, no, not a town or village, in which a man suspected of holding democratic principles could move abroad without receiving some unpleasant proof of the hatred in which his supposed opinions were held by the great majority of the people; and the only instances of popular excess and indignation were on the side of the government and the established church. But why need I appeal to these invidious facts? Turn over the pages of history and seek for a single instance of a revolution having been effected without the concurrence of either the nobles, or the ecclesiastics, or the monied classes, in any country, in which the influences of property had ever been predominant, and where the interests of the proprietors were interlinked! Examine the revolution of the Belgic provinces under Philip II; the civil wars of France in the preceding generation; the history of the American revolution, or the yet more recent events in Sweden and in Spain; and it will be scarcely possible not to perceive that in England from 1791 to the peace of Amiens there were neither tendencies to confederacy nor actual confederacies, against which the existing laws had not provided both sufficient safeguards and an ample punishment. But alas! the panic of property had been struck in the first instance for party purposes; and when it became general, its propagators caught it themselves and ended in believing their own lie; even as our bulls to Borrowdale sometimes run mad with the echo of their own bellowing. The consequences were most injurious. Our attention was concentrated on a monster, which could not survive the convulsions, in which it had been brought forth,—even the enlightened Burke himself too often talking and reasoning, as if a perpetual and organized anarchy had been a possible thing! Thus while we were warring against French doctrines, we took little heed whether the means by which we attempted to overthrow them, were not likely to aid and augment the far more formidable evil of French ambition. Like children we ran away from the yelping of a cur, and took shelter at the heels of a vicious war horse." (Vol. II. Essay i. p. 21, 4th edit.)

[41] I seldom think of the murder of this illustrious Prince without recollecting the lines of Valerius Flaccus:

———super ipsius ingens Instat fama viri, virtusque haud laeta tyranno; Ergo anteire metus, juvenemque exstinguere pergit. Argonaut, I. 29.

[42] Theara de kai ton chaena kai taen dorkada, Kai ton lagoon, kai to ton tauron genos. Manuel Phile, De Animal. Proprietat. sect. I. i. 12.

[43] Paradise Regained. Book IV. I. 261.

[44] Vita e Costumi di Dante.


"With the greatest possible solicitude avoid authorship. Too early or immoderately employed, it makes the head waste and the heart empty; even were there no other worse consequences. A person, who reads only to print, to all probability reads amiss; and he, who sends away through the pen and the press every thought, the moment it occurs to him, will in a short time have sent all away, and will become a mere journeyman of the printing-office, a compositor."

To which I may add from myself, that what medical physiologists affirm of certain secretions applies equally to our thoughts; they. too must be taken up again into the circulation, and be again and again re- secreted to order to ensure a healthful vigour, both to the mind and to its intellectual offspring.

[46] This distinction between transcendental and transcendent is observed by our elder divines and philosophers, whenever they express themselves scholastically. Dr. Johnson indeed has confounded the two words; but his own authorities do not bear him out. Of this celebrated dictionary I will venture to remark once for all, that I should suspect the man of a morose disposition who should speak of it without respect and gratitude as a most instructive and entertaining book, and hitherto, unfortunately, an indispensable book; but I confess, that I should be surprised at hearing from a philosophic and thorough scholar any but very qualified praises of it, as a dictionary. I am not now alluding to the number of genuine words omitted; for this is (and perhaps to a greater extent) true, as Mr. Wakefield has noticed, of our best Greek Lexicons, and this too after the successive labours of so many giants in learning. I refer at present both to omissions and commissions of a more important nature. What these are, me saltem judice, will be stated at full in The Friend, re-published and completed.

I had never heard of the correspondence between Wakefield and Fox till I saw the account of it this morning (16th September 1815) in the Monthly Review. I was not a little gratified at finding, that Mr. Wakefield had proposed to himself nearly the same plan for a Greek and English Dictionary, which I had formed, and began to execute, now ten years ago. But far, far more grieved am I, that he did not live to complete it. I cannot but think it a subject of most serious regret, that the same heavy expenditure, which is now employing in the republication of STEPHANUS augmented, had not been applied to a new Lexicon on a more philosophical plan, with the English, German, and French synonymes as well as the Latin. In almost every instance the precise individual meaning might be given in an English or German word; whereas in Latin we must too often be contented with a mere general and inclusive term. How indeed can it be otherwise, when we attempt to render the most copious language of the world, the most admirable for the fineness of its distinctions, into one of the poorest and most vague languages? Especially when we reflect on the comparative number of the works, still extant, written while the Greek and Latin were living languages. Were I asked what I deemed the greatest and most unmixed benefit, which a wealthy individual, or an association of wealthy individuals could bestow on their country and on mankind, I should not hesitate to answer, "a philosophical English dictionary; with the Greek, Latin, German, French, Spanish, and Italian synonymes, and with correspondent indexes." That the learned languages might thereby be acquired, better, in half the time, is but a part, and not the most important part, of the advantages which would accrue from such a work. O! if it should be permitted by Providence, that without detriment to freedom and independence our government might be enabled to become more than a committee for war and revenue! There was a time, when every thing was to be done by Government. Have we not flown off to the contrary extreme?

[47] April, 1825. If I did not see it with my own eyes, I should not believe that I had been guilty of so many hydrostatic Bulls as bellow in this unhappy allegory or string of metaphors! How a river was to travel up hill from a vale far inward, over the intervening mountains, Morpheus, the Dream weaver, can alone unriddle. I am ashamed and humbled. S. T. Coleridge.

[48] Ennead, III. 8. 3. The force of the Greek sunienai is imperfectly expressed by "understand;" our own idiomatic phrase "to go along with me" comes nearest to it. The passage, that follows, full of profound sense, appears to me evidently corrupt; and in fact no writer more wants, better deserves, or is less likely to obtain, a new and more correct edition-ti oun sunienai; oti to genomenon esti theama emon, siopaesis (mallem, theama, emon sioposaes,) kai physei genomenon theoraema, kai moi genomenae ek theorias taes odi, taen physin echein philotheamona uparkei. (mallem, kai moi hae genomenae ek theorias autaes odis). "What then are we to understand? That whatever is produced is an intuition, I silent; and that, which is thus generated, is by its nature a theorem, or form of contemplation; and the birth; which results to me from this contemplation, attains to have a contemplative nature." So Synesius:

'Odis hiera 'Arraeta gona

The after comparison of the process of the natura naturans with that of the geometrician is drawn from the very heart of philosophy.

[49] This is happily effected in three lines by Synesius, in his THIRD HYMN:

'En kai Pan'ta—(taken by itself) is Spinozism. 'En d' 'Apan'ton—a mere Anima Mundi. 'En te pro panton—is mechanical Theism.

But unite all three, and the result is the Theism of Saint Paul and Christianity. Synesius was censured for his doctrine of the pre- existence of the soul; but never, that I can find, arraigned or deemed heretical for his Pantheism, though neither Giordano Bruno, nor Jacob Behmen ever avowed it more broadly.

Mystas de Noos, Ta te kai ta legei, Buthon arraeton Amphichoreuon. Su to tikton ephus, Su to tiktomenon; Su to photizon, Su to lampomenon; Su to phainomenon, Su to kryptomenon Idiais augais. 'En kai panta, 'En kath' heauto, Kai dia panton.

Pantheism is therefore not necessarily irreligious or heretical; though it may be taught atheistically. Thus Spinoza would agree with Synesius in calling God Physis en Noerois, the Nature in Intelligences; but he could not subscribe to the preceding Nous kai noeros, i.e. Himself Intelligence and intelligent.

In this biographical sketch of my literary life I may be excused, if I mention here, that I had translated the eight Hymns of Synesius from the Greek into English Anacreontics before my fifteenth year.

[50] See Schell. Abhandl. zur Erlaeuter. des Id. der Wissenschafslehre.

[51] Des Cartes, Diss. de Methodo.

[52] The impossibility of an absolute thing (substantia unica) as neither genus, species, nor individuum: as well as its utter unfitness for the fundamental position of a philosophic system, will be demonstrated in the critique on Spinozism in the fifth treatise of my Logosophia.

[53] It is most worthy of notice, that in the first revelation of himself, not confined to individuals; indeed in the very first revelation of his absolute being, Jehovah at the same time revealed the fundamental truth of all philosophy, which must either commence with the absolute, or have no fixed commencement; that is, cease to be philosophy. I cannot but express my regret, that in the equivocal use of the word that, for in that, or because, our admirable version has rendered the passage susceptible of a degraded interpretation in the mind of common readers or hearers, as if it were a mere reproof to an impertinent question, I am what I am, which might be equally affirmed of himself by any existent being.

The Cartesian Cogito ergo sum is objectionable, because either the Cogito is used extra gradum, and then it is involved to the sum and is tautological; or it is taken as a particular mode or dignity, and then it is subordinated to the sum as the species to the genus, or rather as a particular modification to the subject modified; and not pre- ordinated as the arguments seem to require. For Cogito is Sum Cogitans. This is clear by the inevidence of the converse. Cogitat, ergo est is true, because it is a mere application of the logical rule: Quicquid in genere est, est et in specie. Est (cogitans), ergo est. It is a cherry tree; therefore it is a tree. But, est ergo cogitat, is illogical: for quod est in specie, non NBCESSARIO in genere est. It may be true. I hold it to be true, that quicquid vere est, est per veram sui affirmationem; but it is a derivative, not an immediate truth. Here then we have, by anticipation, the distinction between the conditional finite! (which, as known in distinct consciousness by occasion of experience, is called by Kant's followers the empirical!) and the absolute I AM, and likewise the dependence or rather the inherence of the former in the latter; in whom "we live, and move, and have our being," as St. Paul divinely asserts, differing widely from the Theists of the mechanic school (as Sir J. Newton, Locke, and others) who must say from whom we had our being, and with it life and the powers of life.


"Hence it is clear, from what cause many reject the notion of the continuous and the infinite. They take, namely, the words irrepresentable and impossible in one and the same meaning; and, according to the forms of sensuous evidence, the notion of the continuous and the infinite is doubtless impossible. I am not now pleading the cause of these laws, which not a few schools have thought proper to explode, especially the former (the law of continuity). But it is of the highest importance to admonish the reader, that those, who adopt so perverted a mode of reasoning, are under a grievous error. Whatever opposes the formal principles of the understanding and the reason is confessedly impossible; but not therefore that, which is therefore not amenable to the forms of sensuous evidence, because it is exclusively an object of pure intellect. For this non-coincidence of the sensuous and the intellectual (the nature of which I shall presently lay open) proves nothing more, but that the mind cannot always adequately represent to the concrete, and transform into distinct images, abstract notions derived from the pure intellect. But this contradiction, which is in itself merely subjective (i.e. an incapacity in the nature of man), too often passes for an incongruity or impossibility in the object (i.e. the notions themselves), and seduces the incautious to mistake the limitations of the human faculties for the limits of things, as they really exist."

I take this occasion to observe, that here and elsewhere Kant uses the term intuition, and the verb active (intueri Germanice anschauen) for which we have unfortunately no correspondent word, exclusively for that which can be represented in space and time. He therefore consistently and rightly denies the possibility of intellectual intuitions. But as I see no adequate reason for this exclusive sense of the term, I have reverted to its wider signification, authorized by our elder theologians and metaphysicians, according to whom the term comprehends all truths known to us without a medium.

From Kant's Treatise De mundi sensibilis et intelligibilis forma et principiis. 1770.

[55] Franc. Baconis de Verulam, NOVUM ORGANUM.

[56] This phrase, a priori, is in common, most grossly misunderstood, and as absurdity burdened on it, which it does not deserve. By knowledge a priori, we do not mean, that we can know anything previously to experience, which would be a contradiction in terms; but that having once known it by occasion of experience (that is, something acting upon us from without) we then know, that it must have existed, or the experience itself would have been impossible. By experience only now, that I have eyes; but then my reason convinces me, that I must have had eyes in order to the experience.

[57] Jer. Taylor's Via Pacis.

[58] Par. Lost. Book V. I. 469.

[59] Leibnitz. Op. T. II. P. II. p. 53.—T. III. p. 321.

[60] Synesii Episcop. Hymn. III. I. 231

[61] 'Anaer morionous, a phrase which I have borrowed from a Greek monk, who applies it to a Patriarch of Constantinople. I might have said, that I have reclaimed, rather than borrowed, it: for it seems to belong to Shakespeare, de jure singulari, et ex privilegio naturae.

[62] First published in 1803.

[63] These thoughts were suggested to me during the perusal of the Madrigals of Giovambatista Strozzi published in Florence in May, 1593, by his sons Lorenzo and Filippo Strozzi, with a dedication to their paternal uncle, Signor Leone Strozzi, Generale delle battaglie di Santa Chiesa. As I do not remember to have seen either the poems or their author mentioned in any English work, or to have found them in any of the common collections of Italian poetry; and as the little work is of rare occurrence; I will transcribe a few specimens. I have seldom met with compositions that possessed, to my feelings, more of that satisfying entireness, that complete adequateness of the manner to the matter which so charms us in Anacreon, joined with the tenderness, and more than the delicacy of Catullus. Trifles as they are, they were probably elaborated with great care; yet to the perusal we refer them to a spontaneous energy rather than to voluntary effort. To a cultivated taste there is a delight in perfection for its own sake, independently of the material in which it is manifested, that none but a cultivated taste can understand or appreciate.

After what I have advanced, it would appear presumption to offer a translation; even if the attempt were not discouraged by the different genius of the English mind and language, which demands a denser body of thought as the condition of a high polish, than the Italian. I cannot but deem it likewise an advantage in the Italian tongue, in many other respects inferior to our own, that the language of poetry is more distinct from that of prose than with us. From the earlier appearance and established primacy of the Tuscan. poets, concurring with the number of independent states, and the diversity of written dialects, the Italians have gained a poetic idiom, as the Greeks before them had obtained from the same causes with greater and more various discriminations, for example, the Ionic for their heroic verses; the Attic for their iambic; and the two modes of the Doric for the lyric or sacerdotal, and the pastoral, the distinctions of which were doubtless more obvious to the Greeks themselves than they are to us.

I will venture to add one other observation before I proceed to the transcription. I am aware that the sentiments which I have avowed concerning the points of difference between the poetry of the present age, and that of the period between 1500 and 1650, are the reverse of the opinion commonly entertained. I was conversing on this subject with a friend, when the servant, a worthy and sensible woman, coming in, I placed before her two engravings, the one a pinky-coloured plate of the day, the other a masterly etching by Salvator Rosa from one of his own pictures. On pressing her to tell us, which she preferred, after a little blushing and flutter of feeling, she replied "Why, that, Sir, to be sure! (pointing to the ware from the Fleet-street print shops);—it's so neat and elegant. T'other is such a scratchy slovenly thing." An artist, whose writings are scarcely less valuable than his pictures, and to whose authority more deference will be willingly paid, than I could even wish should be shown to mine, has told us, and from his own experience too, that good taste must be acquired, and like all other good things, is the result of thought and the submissive study of the best models. If it be asked, "But what shall I deem such?"—the answer is; presume those to be the best, the reputation of which has been matured into fame by the consent of ages. For wisdom always has a final majority, if not by conviction, yet by acquiescence. In addition to Sir J. Reynolds I may mention Harris of Salisbury; who in one of his philosophical disquisitions has written on the means of acquiring a just taste with the precision of Aristotle, and the elegance of Quinctilian.


Gelido suo ruscel chiaro, e tranquillo M'insegno Amor di state a mezzo'l giorno; Ardean le solve, ardean le piagge, e i colli. Ond' io, ch' al piu gran gielo ardo e sfavillo, Subito corsi; ma si puro adorno Girsene il vidi, che turbar no'l volli: Sol mi specchiava, e'n dolce ombrosa sponda Mi stava intento al mormorar dell' onda.

Aure dell' angoscioso viver mio Refrigerio soave, E dolce si, che piu non mi par grave Ne'l ardor, ne'l morir, anz' il desio; Deh voil ghiaccio, e le nubi, e'l tempo rio Discacciatene omai, che londa chiara, E l'ombra non men cara A scherzare, a cantar per suoi boschetti, E prati festa et allegrezza alletti.

Pacifiche, ma spesso in amorosa Guerra co'fiori, e l'erba Alla stagione acerba Verdi insegne del giglio e della rosa, Movete, Aure, pian pian; che tregua o posa, Se non pace, io ritrove; E so ben dove:—Oh vago, a mansueto Sguardo, oh labbra d'ambrosia, oh rider, lieto!

Hor come un scoglio stassi, Hor come un rio se'n fugge, Ed hor crud' orsa rugge, Hor canta angelo pio: ma che non fassi! E che non fammi, O sassi, O rivi, o belue, o Dii, questa mia vaga Non so, se ninfa, o magna, Non so, se donna, o Dea, Non so, se dolce o rea?

Piangendo mi baciaste, E ridendo il negaste: In doglia hebbivi pin, In festa hebbivi ria: Nacque gioia di pianti, Dolor di riso: O amanti Miseri, habbiate insieme Ognor paura e speme.

Bel Fior, tu mi rimembri La rugiadosa guancia del bet viso; E si vera l'assembri, Che'n te sovente, come in lei m'affiso: Et hor del vago riso, Hor del serene sguardo Io pur cieco riguardo. Ma qual fugge, O Rosa, il mattin lieve! E chi te, come neve, E'l mio cor teco, e la mia vita strugge!

Anna mia, Anna dolce, oh sempre nuovo E piu chiaro concento, Quanta dolcezza sento In sol Anna dicendo? Io mi pur pruovo, Ne qui tra noi ritruovo, Ne tra cieli armonia, Che del bel nome suo piu dolce sia: Altro il Cielo, altro Amore, Altro non suona l'Ecco del mio core.

Hor che'l prato, e la selva si scoiora, Al tuo serena ombroso Muovine, alto Riposo, Deh ch'io riposi una sol notte, un hora: Han le fere, e git augelli, ognun talora Ha qualche pace; io quando, Lasso! non vonne errando, E non piango, e non grido? e qual pur forte? Ma poiche, non sent' egli, odine, Morte.

Risi e piansi d'Amor; ne pero mai Se non in fiamma, o'n onda, o'n vento scrissi Spesso msrce trovai Crudel; sempre in me morto, in altri vissi: Hor da' piu scuri Abissi al ciel m'aizai, Hor ne pur caddi giuso; Stance al fin qui son chiuso.

[64] "I've measured it from side to side; 'Tis three feet long, and two feet wide."

[65] "Nay, rack your brain—'tis all in vain, I'll tell you every thing I know; But to the Thorn, and to the Pond Which is a little step beyond, I wish that you would go: Perhaps, when you are at the place, You something of her tale may trace.

I'll give you the best help I can Before you up the mountain go, Up to the dreary mountain-top, I'll tell you all I know. 'Tis now some two-and-twenty years Since she (her name is Martha Ray) Gave, with a maiden's true good will, Her company to Stephen Hill; And she was blithe and gay, And she was happy, happy still Whene'er she thought of Stephen Hill.

And they had fixed the wedding-day, The morning that must wed them both But Stephen to another maid Had sworn another oath; And, with this other maid, to church Unthinking Stephen went— Poor Martha! on that woeful day A pang of pitiless dismay Into her soul was sent; A fire was kindled in her breast, Which might not burn itself to rest.

They say, full six months after this, While yet the summer leaves were green, She to the mountain-top would go, And there was often seen; 'Tis said a child was in her womb, As now to any eye was plain; She was with child, and she was mad; Yet often she was sober sad From her exceeding pain. Oh me! ten thousand times I'd rather That he had died, that cruel father!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Last Christmas when they talked of this, Old Farmer Simpson did maintain, That in her womb the infant wrought About its mother's heart, and brought Her senses back again: And, when at last her time drew near, Her looks were calm, her senses clear.

No more I know, I wish I did, And I would tell it all to you For what became of this poor child There's none that ever knew And if a child was born or no, There's no one that could ever tell; And if 'twas born alive or dead, There's no one knows, as I have said: But some remember well, That Martha Ray about this time Would up the mountain often climb."

[66] It is no less an error in teachers, than a torment to the poor children, to enforce the necessity of reading as they would talk. In order to cure them of singing as it is called, that is, of too great a difference, the child is made to repeat the words with his eyes from off the book; and then, indeed, his tones resemble talking, as far as his fears, tears and trembling will permit. But as soon as the eye is again directed to the printed page, the spell begins anew; for an instinctive sense tells the child's feelings, that to utter its own momentary thoughts, and to recite the written thoughts of another, as of another, and a far wiser than himself, are two widely different things; and as the two acts are accompanied with widely different feelings, so must they justify different modes of enunciation. Joseph Lancaster, among his other sophistications of the excellent Dr. Bell's invaluable system, cures this fault of singing, by hanging fetters and chains on the child, to the music of which one of his school-fellows, who walks before, dolefully chants out the child's last speech and confession, birth, parentage, and education. And this soul-benumbing ignominy, this unholy and heart-hardening burlesque on the last fearful infliction of outraged law, in pronouncing the sentence to which the stern and familiarized judge not seldom bursts into tears, has been extolled as a happy and ingenious method of remedying—what? and how?—why, one extreme in order to introduce another, scarce less distant from good sense, and certainly likely to have worse moral effects, by enforcing a semblance of petulant ease and self- sufficiency, in repression and possible after-perversion of the natural feelings. I have to beg Dr. Bell's pardon for this connection of the two names, but he knows that contrast is no less powerful a cause of association than likeness.

[67] Altered from the description of Night-Mair in the REMORSE.

"Oh Heaven! 'twas frightful! Now ran down and stared at By hideous shapes that cannot be remembered; Now seeing nothing and imagining nothing; But only being afraid—stifled with fear! While every goodly or familiar form Had a strange power of spreading terror round me!"

N.B.—Though Shakespeare has, for his own all justifying purposes, introduced the Night-Mare with her own foals, yet Mair means a Sister, or perhaps a Hag.

[68] But still more by the mechanical system of philosophy which has needlessly infected our theological opinions, and teaching us to consider the world in its relation to god, as of a building to its mason, leaves the idea of omnipresence a mere abstract notion in the stateroom of our reason.

[69] As the ingenious gentleman under the influence of the Tragic Muse contrived to dislocate, "I wish you a good morning, Sir! Thank you, Sir, and I wish you the same," into two blank-verse heroics:—

To you a morning good, good Sir! I wish. You, Sir! I thank: to you the same wish I.

In those parts of Mr. Wordsworth's works which I have thoroughly studied, I find fewer instances in which this would be practicable than I have met to many poems, where an approximation of prose has been sedulously and on system guarded against. Indeed excepting the stanzas already quoted from THE SAILOR'S MOTHER, I can recollect but one instance: that is to say, a short passage of four or five lines in THE BROTHERS, that model of English pastoral, which I never yet read with unclouded eye.—"James, pointing to its summit, over which they had all purposed to return together, informed them that he would wait for them there. They parted, and his comrades passed that way some two hours after, but they did not find him at the appointed place, a circumstance of which they took no heed: but one of them, going by chance into the house, which at this time was James's house, learnt there, that nobody had seen him all that day." The only change which has been made is in the position of the little word there in two instances, the position in the original being clearly such as is not adopted in ordinary conversation. The other words printed in italics were so marked because, though good and genuine English, they are not the phraseology of common conversation either in the word put in apposition, or in the connection by the genitive pronoun. Men in general would have said, "but that was a circumstance they paid no attention to, or took no notice of;" and the language is, on the theory of the preface, justified only by the narrator's being the Vicar. Yet if any ear could suspect, that these sentences were ever printed as metre, on those very words alone could the suspicion have been grounded.

[70] I had in my mind the striking but untranslatable epithet, which the celebrated Mendelssohn applied to the great founder of the Critical Philosophy "Der alleszermalmende KANT," that is, the all- becrushing, or rather the all-to-nothing-crushing Kant. In the facility and force of compound epithets, the German from the number of its cases and inflections approaches to the Greek, that language so

"Bless'd in the happy marriage of sweet words."

It is in the woful harshness of its sounds alone that the German need shrink from the comparison.

[71] Sammlung einiger Abhandlungen von Christian Garve.

[72] Sonnet IX.

[73] Mr. Wordsworth's having judiciously adopted "concourse wild" in this passage for "a wild scene" as it stood to the former edition, encourages me to hazard a remark, which I certainly should not have made in the works of a poet less austerely accurate in the use of words, than he is, to his own great honour. It respects the propriety of the word, "scene," even in the sentence in which it is retained. Dryden, and he only in his more careless verses, was the first, as far as my researches have discovered, who for the convenience of rhyme used this word in the vague sense, which has been since too current even in our best writers, and which (unfortunately, I think) is given as its first explanation in Dr. Johnson's Dictionary and therefore would be taken by an incautious reader as its proper sense. In Shakespeare and Milton the word is never used without some clear reference, proper or metaphorical, to the theatre. Thus Milton:

"Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm A sylvan scene; and, as the ranks ascend Shade above shade, a woody theatre Of stateliest view."

I object to any extension of its meaning, because the word is already more equivocal than might be wished; inasmuch as to the limited use, which I recommend, it may still signify two different things; namely, the scenery, and the characters and actions presented on the stage during the presence of particular scenes. It can therefore be preserved from obscurity only by keeping the original signification full in the mind. Thus Milton again,

———"Prepare thee for another scene."

[74] Which Copland scarce had spoke, but quickly every hill, Upon her verge that stands, the neighbouring vallies fill; Helvillon from his height, it through the mountains threw, From whom as soon again, the sound Dunbalrase drew, From whose stone-trophied head, it on the Windross went, Which tow'rds the sea again, resounded it to Dent. That Brodwater, therewith within her banks astound, In sailing to the sea, told it to Egremound, Whose buildings, walks, and streets, with echoes loud and long, Did mightily commend old Copland for her song. Drayton's POLYOLBION: Song XXX.

[75] Translation. It behoves me to side with my friends, but only as far as the gods.

[76] "Slender. I bruised my shin with playing with sword and dagger for a dish of stewed prunes, and by my troth I cannot abide the smell of hot meat since."—So again, Evans. "I will make an end of my dinner: there's pippins and cheese to come."

[77] This was accidentally confirmed to me by an old German gentleman at Helmstadt, who had been Klopstock's school and bed-fellow. Among other boyish anecdotes, he related that the young poet set a particular value on a translation of the PARADISE LOST, and always slept with it under his pillow.

[78] Klopstock's observation was partly true and partly erroneous. In the literal sense of his words, and, if we confine the comparison to the average of space required for the expression of the same thought in the two languages, it is erroneous. I have translated some German hexameters into English hexameter; and find, that on the average three English lines will express four lines German. The reason is evident: our language abounds in monosyllables and dissyllables. The German, not less than the Greek, is a polysyllable language. But in another point of view the remark was not without foundation. For the German possessing the same unlimited privilege of forming compounds, both with prepositions and with epithets, as the Greek, it can express the richest single Greek word in a single German one, and is thus freed from the necessity of weak or ungraceful paraphrases. I will content myself with one at present, viz. the use of the prefixed participles ver, zer, ent, and weg: thus reissen to rend, verreissen to rend away, zerreissen to rend to pieces, entreissen to rend off or out of a thing, in the active sense: or schmelzen to melt—ver, zer, ent, schmelzen—and in like manner through all the verbs neuter and active. If you consider only how much we should feel the loss of the prefix be, as in bedropt, besprinkle, besot, especially in our poetical language, and then think that this same mode of composition is carved through all their simple and compound prepositions, and many of their adverbs; and that with most of these the Germans have the same privilege as we have of dividing them from the verb and placing them at the end of the sentence; you will have no difficulty in comprehending the reality and the cause of this superior power in the German of condensing meaning, in which its great poet exulted. It is impossible to read half a dozen pages of Wieland without perceiving that in this respect the German has no rival but the Greek. And yet I feel, that concentration or condensation is not the happiest mode of expressing this excellence, which seems to consist not so much in the less time required for conveying an impression, as in the unity and simultaneousness with which the impression is conveyed. It tends to make their language more picturesque: it depictures images better. We have obtained this power in part by our compound verbs derived from the Latin: and the sense of its great effect no doubt induced our Milton both to the use and the abuse of Latin derivatives. But still these prefixed particles, conveying no separate or separable meaning to the mere English reader, cannot possibly act on the mind with the force or liveliness of an original and homogeneous language such as the German is, and besides are confined to certain words.

[79] Praecludere calumniam, in the original.

[80] Better thus: Forma specifica per formam individualem translucens: or better yet—Species individualisata, sive Individuum cuilibet Speciei determinatae in omni parte correspondens et quasi versione quadam eam interpretans et repetens.

[81] ———"The big round tears Cours'd one another down his innocent nose In piteous chase,"

says Shakespeare of a wounded stag hanging its head over a stream: naturally, from the position of the head, and most beautifully, from the association of the preceding image, of the chase, in which "the poor sequester'd stag from the hunter's aim had ta'en a hurt." In the supposed position of Bertram, the metaphor, if not false, loses all the propriety of the original.

[82] Among a number of other instances of words chosen without reason, Imogine in the first act declares, that thunder-storms were not able to intercept her prayers for "the desperate man, in desperate ways who dealt"——

"Yea, when the launched bolt did sear her sense, Her soul's deep orisons were breathed for him;"

that is, when a red-hot bolt, launched at her from a thunder-cloud, had cauterized her sense, to plain English, burnt her eyes out of her head, she kept still praying on.

"Was not this love? Yea, thus doth woman love!"

[83] This sort of repetition is one of this writers peculiarities, and there is scarce a page which does not furnish one or more instances— Ex. gr. in the first page or two. Act I, line 7th, "and deemed that I might sleep."—Line 10, "Did rock and quiver in the bickering glare." —Lines 14, 15, 16, "But by the momently gleams of sheeted blue, Did the pale marbles dare so sternly on me, I almost deemed they lived."— Line 37, "The glare of Hell."—Line 35, "O holy Prior, this is no earthly storm."—Line 38, "This is no earthly storm."—Line 42, "Dealing with us."—Line 43, "Deal thus sternly:"—Line 44, "Speak! thou hast something seen?"—"A fearful sight!"—Line 45, "What hast thou seen! A piteous, fearful sight."—Line 48, "quivering gleams."— Line 50, "In the hollow pauses of the storm."—Line 61, "The pauses of the storm, etc."

[84] The child is an important personage, for I see not by what possible means the author could have ended the second and third acts but for its timely appearance. How ungrateful then not further to notice its fate!

[85] Classically too, as far as consists with the allegorizing fancy of the modern, that still striving to project the inward, contradistinguishes itself from the seeming ease with which the poetry of the ancients reflects the world without. Casimir affords, perhaps, the most striking instance of this characteristic difference.—For his style and diction are really classical: while Cowley, who resembles Casimir in many respects, completely barbarizes his Latinity, and even his metre, by the heterogeneous nature of his thoughts. That Dr. Johnson should have passed a contrary judgment, and have even preferred Cowley's Latin Poems to Milton's, is a caprice that has, if I mistake not, excited the surprise of all scholars. I was much amused last summer with the laughable affright, with which an Italian poet perused a page of Cowley's Davideis, contrasted with the enthusiasm with which he first ran through, and then read aloud, Milton's Mansus and Ad Patrem.

[86] Flectit, or if the metre had allowed, premit would have supported the metaphor better.

[87] Poor unlucky Metaphysicks! and what are they? A single sentence expresses the object and thereby the contents of this science. Gnothi seauton:

Nosce te ipsum, Tuque Deum, quantum licet, inque Deo omnia noscas.

Know thyself: and so shalt thou know God, as far as is permitted to a creature, and in God all things.—Surely, there is a strange—nay, rather too natural—aversion to many to know themselves.


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