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tho' as tender a concern as the other, yet (a woman being one of the parties) is uncapable of many sublime thoughts that arise among the men, a fex so much more knowing and active in the world. And even for softness itself, it will be hard to shew a scene more moving than that between AMYNTOR and M ELANTIUS in the Maid's Tragedy ; which I fould be sorry to see without great emotion, since 'tis a shrewd sign of being both dull and ill-natur’d. No-body has equalled the ancients on this subject, except MONTAGNE, who on all subjects has hardly been equalled by the moderns. The worst of it is, this friendship is a virtue which does not depend upon one's felf alone to have; for in such a felfilh age, one man, tho’never fo capable of it, may look about a great while before he finds out another; and this contract will never hold, without an exact counterpart.
(r) Afift, ye Angels.] All religions agree in believing that fuperior beings aslift us on some important occasions; but above all Poetry, and especially this kind of it, has an established right to depend on inspiration. To speak truth, all poets have endeavoured to hide their vanity under this veil of pretended modesty; nothing seeming more humble than to distrust themselves, and implore assistance, while at the same time they presum'd that something like divine intpiration might Shine out in their poems. On which occasion (these notes being already a rambling sort of rhapsody) I will venture to say a little on a subject, of which others, for aught I can find, have not faid much: I mean, of that which poets call a muse, by whom they pretend to be inspir’d, and is by all understood to be a genius for poetry; to which genius a poet may be allowed in some measure to pretend, because whoever wants it, tho' with never so good words and smooth cadence, is yet little better than a player at Crambo. My imperfect notion of a genius is this, which I submit to better judgments; I think it a happy temper of the brain, fo equally mix'd of fancy and judgment, that as great heat of imagination is apt to spring
all sort of game, so the understanding faculty is still near at hand, to select the good, and to reject the rest.
(8) How plainly.] This is according to the universal opinion of angels, that they need no organs of speech among themselves; and their thoughts are communicated to one another by what the schoolmen call intuition. Which, however true or false, is enough for a poet's applying it to this subject of friendship, which see even among us mortals, to have something of divine in it.
(t) A Race as far, &c.] According to the Christian faith, the angels had a beginning, tho' they can have no end; and we have as good an opinion of our own souls also.
(u) You saw and smild.] Since angels are suppos'd to be particularly concern'd for mankind (tho' I confess I think we are very unworthy of that honour) they must needs be pleas'd with seeing in us any fort of virtue, especially this sort of friendship, so much practis'd by themselves.
(w) Life receiv'd.] Besides that BRUTUS received his life once from CÆSAR on the account of the civil war, he was very much suspected to be his fon; and the more, because of his great fondness of him. 'Tis certain the time of Cæsar's intrigue with SERVILIA is very consistent with it. But his forgiving him at Pharsalia was not so much as the least proof of it; for the mother's past favours had been alone fufficient to procure a pardon for her son, especially with so merciful a nature as CÆSAR's.
(x) Obligations.] This to fome humours is like enough to appear an over-refinement; and I expect they will rather fancy to have the pleasure of receiving good turns, let who will take the other of doing them. But I appeal to many, if they have not found the doing a kindness a much greater satisfaction than receiving one. Yet I admit the latter part to be very agreeable also, when 'tis from worthy persons; being à new instance of their esteem and favour.
(y) All.] Because a fact committed in paflion, or by inadvertence, is nothing in comparison with one done on delibera
tion, and by a long-laid design: which so far excus'd ALEXANDER's killing of Clytus, that it has lessened his great fame of being generous and good-natured.
(z) The Centre. ] This was so great a design, that none but such an extraordinary person as BRUTUS could have brought it about by his influence over all the conspirators; who being the chief patriots among the noblest people that ever the sun fined on, I cannot but think Brutus appears higher at the head of such an illustrious party, than CÆSAR himself com." manding the whole Roman empire.
(a) Ample Marks.] CÆSAR had in a publick manner given Brutus the preference to CASSIUS, and to all Rome besides, by making him the chief Praetor a few days before he killed him.
(b) Empire.] It was generally believed in Rome, that CESAR thought BRUTUS the fittest man to succeed him; which therefore excuses BRUTUS so far, as it is a proof of his preferring the good of the commonwealth, not only to his best friend, but to the highest temptation of interest and ambition that could posibly be laid in any man's way.
I wield, Iyicha
, and can no longer stay
My eager thoughts, that force themselves away. Sure, none inspir'd (whose heat transports 'em still Above their reason, and beyond their will) Can firm against the strong impulse remain: Censure itself were not so sharp a pain. Let vulgar minds submit to vulgar sway; What ignorance shall think, or malice say, To me are trifles; if the knowing few, Who can see faults, but can see beautys too, Applaud that genius which themselves partake, And spare the poet for the muse's sake.
The muse, who raises me from humble ground, To view the vast and various world around : How fast I mount! In what a wond'rous way I grow transported to this large survey ! I value earth no more, and far below Methinks I see the busy pigmies go. My soul entranc'd is in a rapture brought Above the common tracks of vulgar thought: With fancy wing'd, I feel the purer air, And with contempt look down on human care.
Airy ambition, ever foaring high, Stands first expos'd to my censorious eye.
Behold some coiling up a slipp'ry hill,
The muse inspires me now to look again,
thro’ filth a thousand crooked ways,
Not to enlarge on such an obvious thought; Behold their folly, which transcends their fault! Alas! their cares and cautions only tend To gain the means, and then to lose the end. Like heroes in romances, still in fight For mistresses that yield them no delight. 'This, of all vice, does most debase the mind, Gold is itself th’allay to human-kind.