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an attention to their interests. He must consider himtelf likewise as a servant of the public, and subject to the distresses of mankind. The poorest inhabitant of this earth is not beneath his notice, or deserving his contempt. All this forms his political character.
* By completing the whole of this scheme, and giving such rules in every part of it, as may make the profession fit easy and comfortable upon him, I fhall, I hope, fatisfy you with regard to what may be expected from your son, and you will judge how fit and how proper he is to embrace it upon such terms. Were all mankind as cautious as you are in fuiting the dispofitions of their children to the stations which they are afterwards to suttain in life, we should not find so many places filled by persons so little qualified for them. The generality of parents, in the education of their children, consult either their own ease, or the perverse dispositions of people ill qoa. lified to judge of what will terminate in their own happiness, or some accidental circumstance which may happen in their family. There is nothing more common than for parents to be fond of exalting their offspring to a higher station in the same line of business, than they themselves enjoy. Thus, furgeons and apothecaries often breed their eldest fons physicians, and attornies educate theirs to the bar. They do not, however, consider the variety of character which they are obliged to support, or how far their natural dispositions are suited to it. They imagine that persons of genius will fill every fatuation with propriety. There cannot, however, be a maxim more fallas cious. Every man is born to some prevailing character: the poet, the philosopher, the physician, the lawyer, the fatesman, and the divine.'
In the prosecution of this scheme, the Writer throws out many judicious and some frivolous observations. His performance is, on the whole, a commendable one; but we cannot mention it in the same terms of warm approbation with which we spoke of Dr. Gregory's treatise on the same subject.
ART. V. The Poems of Mark Akenside, M.D. 4to.
unknown to any of our Readers who are conversant in polite literature. It will, we believe, be admitted by those who are acquainted with his writings, that they deservedly stand in no mean rank among the poetical productions of the present age. The Doctor was possessed of a fine imagination, to which were added great strength and freedom of sentiment, and a confiderable extent of knowledge. Hence he did not usually apply his genius to light and trivial subjects, but rendered the embellishments of fancy, and the charm of numbers, subservient to the interests of truth, of morals, of civil and religious liberty.
His two books of Odes have great merit. They are not, indeed, equal to the sublime and beautiful productions of the late
Mr. Gray; but still there is in' them a noble vein of poetry, united with manly sense, and applied to excellent and useful purposes. We do not mean, however, to extend this encomium to the whole of Dr. Aken side's odes without exception. He does not always preserve the dignity of lyric poetry. He is defective in the pathetic, even upon a subject which peculiarly required it, and where it might most have been expected, the death of his mistress. We mean his ode to the Evening Star. Nevertheless, his hymn to Chearfulness, and his odes on leaving Holland, on Lyric Poety, to the Earl of Huntingdon, to the Country Gentlemen of England, and on recovering from a Fit of Sickness, juftly entitle him to a place among the principal lyric writers of this country.
But Dr. Akenside's poem on the Pleasures of Imagination is the greatett production of his genius. The subject was a happy one, and how successfully he has treated it we need not say, as the work hath been so long in the possession of the public, has passed through such a variety of editions, and been lo generally admired. The late Mr. Cooper speaks of it in the following high ftrain of commendation, in his Letters concerning Talte. • For my part, says he, I am of .opinion, that there is now living a poet of the most genuine genius this kingdom ever produced, Shakespeare alone excepted. By poetical genius, I do not mean the mere talent of making verjes, but that glorious enthusiasm of foul, that fine frenzy, as Shakespeare calls it, rcling from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven, which, like an able magician, can bring every object of the creation, in any shape whatever, before the reader's eyes. This alone is poetry ; aught else is a mechanical art of putting syllables harmonioully together. The gentleman I mean is Dr. Akenside, the worthy Author of the pleasures of the Imagination, the moft beautiful didactic poem that ever adorned the English, or any other, language. A work in which the great Author has united Virgil's tafte, Milton's colouring, and Shakespeare's incidental expression, with a warmth peculiar to himself, to paint the finest features of the human mind, and the most lovely forms of crue religion and morality.” The sober critic will not, we apprehend, give his assent to this extravagance of applause. But the sover critic will allow the Pleasures of Imagination to be a noble and beautiful poem, exhibiting many bright displays of genius and fancy; and painting, with great energy, “ the finest features of the human mind, with the most lovely forms of true religion and morality."
Dr. Akenside himself had not, however, so high an opinion of his work, as was entertained of it by his friend Mr. Cooper. The Doctor regarded it as defective in some respects, and redundant in others. That it wanted revision and corication,
Rev. Dec. 1772.
says his Editor, he was sufficiently sensible ; but so quick was the demand for several successive republications, that in any of the intervals to have completed the whole of his corrections was utterly impossible ; and yet to have gone on from time to time making farther improvements in every new edition would be thought) have had the appearance at least of abusing the favour of the public. He chose, therefore, to continue for some time reprinting it without alteration, and to forbeas publishing any
corrections or improvements until he should be able at once lo give them to the public complete. And with this view he went on for several years to review and correct his poem at bis leisure; till at length he found the task grow so much upon his hands, that, despairing of ever being able to execute it fufficiently to his own fatisfaction, he abandoned the purpose of correcting, and resolved to write the poem over anew, upon a somewhat different and an enlarged plan.'
Dr. Akenfide did not live to finish the whole of his design. That part of it which was carried into execution is here pre
fented to the public; and, that our Readers may judge of the Doctor's intentions, we shall lay before them the general ar'gument of the poem :
“The pieasures of the imagination proceed either from natural objects, as from a flourishing grove, a clear and murmure ing fountain, a calm sea by moon-light; or from works of art, such as a noble edifice, a musical tune, a statue, a picture, a poem. In treating of thefe picafures, we must begin with the former class; they being original to the other; and nothing more being necessary, in order to explain them, than a view of our natural inclination toward greatness and beauty, and of those appearances, in the world around us, to which that inclination is adapted. This is the subject of the first book of the following pocm.
• But the pleasures which we receive from the elegant arts, from music, sculpture, painting, and poetry, are much more 'various and complicated. In them (besides greatness and beauty, or forms proper to the imagination) we find interwoven frequent rep:esentations of truth, of virtue and vice, of circumdances proper to move us with laughter, or to excite in us pity', fear, and the other passions. These moral and intellectual objects are described in the second book; to which the third properly belongs as an episode, though too large to have been included in it.
« With the above mentioned causes of pleasure, which are univerfal in the course of human life, and appertain to our higher faculties, many others do generally conçur, more limited in their operation, or of an inferior origin : such are the navelty of objects, the affociation of ideas, affections of the bo
dily dily senses, influences of education, national habits, and the like. To illustrate these, and from the whole determine the character of a perfe&t talie, is the argument of the fourth book.
• Hitherto the pleasures of the imagination belong to the human species in general. But there are certain particular men whose imagination is endowed with powers, and susceptible of pleasures which the generality of mankind never participate. These are the men of genius, destined hy nature to excel in one or other of the arts already mentioned. It is proposed, there. fore, in the last place, to delineate that genius which in some degree appears common to them all; yet with a more peculiar conlideration of poetry : inasmuch as poetry is the most extenfive of those arts, the most philosophical and the most useful.'
The Author intended at first to comprize the whole of his subject, according to the new plan, in four books ; but he afterwards changed his purpose, and determined to distribute the poem into a greater number of books. How far his scheme would have carried him, if he had lived to complete it, is uncertain ; for at his death he had only finished the first and second books, a considerable part of the third, and the introduction to the last.
The first book of the improved work bears a nearer resemblance to the first book of the former editions, than any of the rest do to each other. There are, nevertheless, in this book, a great number of corrections and alterations, and several confiderable additions. Dr. Akenfide has introduced a tribute of respect and affection to his friend Mr. Dyson. He has referred the pleasures of the imagination to two sources only, Greatness and Beauty, and not to three, as he had heretofore done. His delineation of beautiful objects is much enlarged; and, upon the whole, we are of opinion that the first book has received no small degree of improvement.
It will probably be a pleasure to our Readers, to have an opportunity of comparing some of the passages which retain the greatest affinity : NEW EDITION.
OLD EDITION. With what inchantment nature's goodly With what attractive charms this goodly scene
frame Attracts the sense of mortals; how the Of nature touches the consenting hearts mind
Of mortal men; and what the plealing For its own eye doth objects nobler fill
stores Prepare; how men by various lessons learn Which beauteous imitation thence derives To judge of beauty's praise ; what ráp. To deck the poet's, or the painter's toil; tures fill
My verse unfolds. Attend, ye gentle The breast with fancy's native arts indow'd Pow'rs And what true culture guides it to renoun; Of Musical Delight! and while I ling My verse unfolds. Ye gods, or godlike Your gifts, your honours, dance around
powere, Ye guardians of the sacred task, attend Thou, Imiling queen of every tuneful Propitious, Hand in hand around yout breast,
Indulgent Fancy! from the fruitful banks Move
OLD EDITION. Move in majestic measures, leading on Of Avon, whence thy rosy fingers cut His doubtful step thro' many a solemn path Freld flow'rs and dews to iprinkle on the Conscious of secrets which to human fight turf Ye only can reveal. Be great in him : Where Sbakespeare lies, be prefent : and And let your favour make him wife to with thee Speak
Let Fiction come, upon her vagrant wings Of all your wonderous empire; with a voice Wafting ten thousand colours thro' thens, So temper'd to his theme, that those, who Which, ty the glances of her magic eye, hear
She blends and fhifts at will thro' count. May yield perpetual homage to yourfelves. less forms, Thou chief, o daughter of eternal Love, Her wild creation. Goddess of the lyre, Whate'er thy name ; or myse, or grace, Which rulcs tbc accents of the moving ador'd
sphere, By Grecian prophe:s; to the fons of heaven Wilt thou, eternal Harmony! defcend, Known, while with deep amazement thou And join this festive train for with thee
dort chere The perfect counsels read, the ideas old, The guide, the guardian of their lovely of thine omniscient fatber; known of sports, carth
Majestic Truth; and where Truth deigas By the fill horror and the blissful tear
to come, With which thou seizcât or the foul of man; Her fifter Liberty will not be far. Thou chief, Poetic Spirit, from the banks
Be present all ye Genii who condect Of Avon, whence thy holy fingers cu!! The wandering foutfteps of the youthful Fresh flowers and dews to fprinkle on the bard, turf
New to your springs and shades: who Where Sbakespeare lies, be present. And touch his ear with thee
With finer sounds : who heighten to his Lec Fiction come; on her aërial wings
cye Wafting ten thousand colours; which in the bloom of nature, and before him turdi sport,
The gayeft, happien acitudes of things.By the light glances of her magic eye, She blends and thifig at will laro' couniltrs
touch their ear With finer sounds, and heighten to their
eye The pomp of nature, and before them place The faireli, lof. eft countenance of things. From heaven my strains begin. From From heav'n my strains begin; freco heaveo descends
heav'n descends The flame of genius to the chosen breast, The Rame of genius to the human breafi, And beauty with poetic wonder join'd, And love and beauty, and poetic joy And inspiration, Ere the riGng sun And inspiration. Ere the radiant fun Shone o'er the deep, or 'mid the vault of Sprang from the east, or 'mid the szuk nght
of night The moon her fiiver lamp suspended: ere The moon suspended her serener Izzy; Tho