« НазадПродовжити »
In acquired knowledge, the superiority must be our late contests with France and Spain, a very small allowed to Dryden, whose education was more scho- | part ever felt the stroke of an enemy; the rest lanlastic, and who, before he became an author, had been guished in tents and ships, amidst damps and putreallowed more time for study, with better means of in- faction ; pale, torpid, spiritless, and helpless ; gasping formation. His mind has a larger range, and he and groaning, unpitied among men, made obdurate collects his images and illustrations from a more ex- by long continuance of hopeless misery; and were at tensive circumference of science. Dryden knew more last whelmed in pits, or heaved into the ocean, withof man in his general nature, and Pope in his local out notice and without remembrance. By incommomanners. The notions of Dryden were formed by dious encampments and unwholesome stations, where comprehensive speculation, and those of Pope by courage is useless and enterprise impracticable, fleets minute attention. There is more dignity in the are silently dispeopled, and armies sluggishly melted knowledge of Dryden, and more certainty in that of away. Pope.
Thus is a people gradually exhausted, for the most Poetry was not the sole praise of either ; for both part, with little effect. The wars of civilised nations excelled likewise in prose; but Pope did not borrow | make very slow changes in the system of empire. his prose from his predecessor. The style of Dryden The public perceives scarcely any alteration but an is capricious and varied, that of Pope is cautious and increase of debt; and the few individuals who are uniform. Dryden obeys the motions of his own mind, benefited are not supposed to have the clearest right Pope constrains his mind to his own rules of composi- to their advantages. If he that shared the danger tion. Dryden is sometimes vehement and rapid, Pope enjoyed the profit, and after bleeding in the battle, is always smooth, uniform, and gentle. Dryden's grew rich by the victory, he might show his gains withpage is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and out envy. But at the conclusion of a ten years' war, diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant ve- how are we recompensed for the death of multitudes getation, Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by the and the expense of millions, but by contemplating scythe, and levelled by the roller.
the sudden glories of paymasters and agents, contracOf genius, tbat power which constitutes a poet, tors and commissaries, whose equipages shine like that quality without which judgment is cold and meteors, and whose palaces rise like exhalations ? knowledge is inert, that energy which collects, combines, ainplifies, and animates, the superiority must, with some hesitation, be allowed to Dryden. It is
OLIVER GOLDSMITH. not to be inferred that of this poetical vigour Pope The Citizen of the World.'by GOLDSMITH. Was pubhad only a little, because Dryden had more ; for every lished in a collected shape in 1762, and his "Essays' other writer since Milton must give place to Pope ;
about the same time. As a light critic, a sportive and eren of Dryden it must be said, that if he has
yet tender and insinuating moralist, and observer of brighter paragraphs, he has not better poems. Dry
men and manners, we have no hesitation in placing den's performances were always hasty, either excited
Goldsmith far above Johnson. His chaste humour, by some external occasion, or extorted by domestic
poetical fancy, and admirable style, render these necessity; he composed without consideration, and
essays (for the Citizen of the World consists of depublished without correction. What his mind could
tached pieces) a mine of lively and profound thought, supply at call, or gather in one excursion, was all
happy imagery, and pure English. The story of the that he sought, and all that he gave. The dilatory
Old Soldier, Beau Tibbs, the Reverie at the Boar's caution of Pope enabled him to condense his senti
Head Tavern, and the Strolling Player, are in the ments, to multiply his images, and to accumulate all
finest vein of story-telling; while the Eastern Apothat study might produce or chance might supply. If the fiights of Dryden, therefore, are higher, Pope
| logue, Asem, an Eastern Tale, and Alcander and continues longer on the wing. If of Dryden's fire
Septimius, are tinged with the light of true poetry the blaze is brighter, of Pope's the heat is more regu
and imagination. Where the author speaks of actual lar and constant. Dryden often surpasses expecta
life, and the fashion of our estate,' we see the tion, and Pope never falls below it. Dryden is read
workings of experience and a finely meditative
mind. with frequent astonishment, and Pope with perpetual
The History of Animated Nature,' not pubdelight.
lished till after his death, is imbued with the same This parallel will. I hope. when it is well consi- graces of composition. Goldsmith was no naturalist, dered, be found just ; and if the reader should sus
strictly speaking, but his descriptions are often pect me, as I suspect myself, of some partial fondness
vivid and beautiful, and his history is well calcufor the memory of Dryden, let him not too hastily
lated to awaken a love of nature and a study of its condemn me, for meditation and inquiry may, per
various phenomena. haps, show him the reasonableness of my determiDation.
[Scenery of the Alps.)
[From the History of the Earth and Animated Nature.] [Picture of the Miseries of War.]
Nothing can be finer or more exact than Mr Pope's (From the . Thoughts on the Falkland Islands. ]
description of a traveller straining up the Alps. It is wonderful with what coolness and indifference Every mountain he comes to he thinks will be the the greater part of mankind see war commenced. last: he finds, however, an unexpected hill rise before Those that hear of it at a distance or read of it in him; and that being scaled, he finds the highest sunibrks, but have never presented its evils to their mit almost at as great a distance as before. Upon minds, consider it as little more than a splendid game, quitting the plain, he might have left a green and a proclamation, an army, a battle, and a triumph. fertile soil, and a climate warm and pleasing. As he Some, indeed, must perish in the successful field, but ascends, the ground assumes a more russet colour, the they die upon the bed of honour, resign their lives grass becomes more mossy, and the weather more amidst the joys of conquest, and, filled with England's moderate. When he is still higher, the weather beglory, smile in death!
comes more cold, and the earth more barren. In this The life of a modern soldier is ill represented by dreary passage he is often entertained with a little beroic fiction. War has means of destruction more valley of surprising verdure, caused by the reflected formidable than the cannon and the sword. Of heat of the sun collected into a narrow spot on the the thousands and ten thousands that perished in surrounding heights. But it much more frequently
happens that he sees only frightful precipices beneath, that, suspending the constant exertion of his power, and lakes of amazing depth, from whence rivers are he endued matter with a quality by which the uniformed, and fountains derive their original. On those versal economy of nature might be continued, without places next the highest summits vegetation is scarcely his immediate assistance. This quality is called at. carried on: here and there a few plants of the most traction, a sort of approximating influence, which all hardy kind appear. The air is intolerably cold- bodies, whether terrestrial or celestial, are found to either continually refrigerated with frosts, or dis- | possess; and which, in all, increases as the quantity of turbed with tempests. All the ground here wears an matter in each 'increases. The sun, by far the greateternal covering of ice and snow, that seem con est body in our system, is, of consequence, possessed tinually accumulating. Upon emerging from this of much the greatest share of this attracting power ; war of the elements, he ascends into a purer and and all the planets, of which our earth is one, are, of serener region, where vegetation is entirely ceased course, entirely subject to its superior influence. Were where the precipices, composed entirely of rocks, rise this power, therefore, left uncontrolled by any other, perpendicularly above him ; while he views beneath the sun must quickly have attracted all the bodies of him all the combat of the elements, clouds at his feet, our celestial system to itself ; but it is equally counand thunders darting upwards from their bosoms be- teracted by another power of equal efficacy ; namely, low. A thousand meteors, which are never seen on the a progressive force which each planet received when it plain, present themselves. Circular rainbows, mock was impelled forward by the divine architect upon its aune the shadow of the mountain proiected upon the first formation. The heavenly bodies of our system , body of the air, and the traveller's own image re being thus acted upon by two opposing powers; flected as in a looking-glass upon the opposite cloud. namely, by that of attraction, which draws them to
wards the sun, and that of impulsion, which drives [A Sketch of the Universe.]
them straight forward into the great void of space,
they pursue a track between these contrary directions; (From the same.]
and each, like a stone whirled about in a sling, obes: 1 The world may be considered as one vast mansion, ing two opposite forces, circulates round its great where man has been admitted to enjoy, to admire, centre of heat and motion. and to be grateful. The first desires of savage nature In this manner, therefore, is the harmony of our are merely to gratify the importunities of sensual ap- planetary system preserved. The sun, in the midst, petite, and to neglect the contemplation of things, gives heat and light and circular motion to the barely satisfied with their enjoyment; the beauties of planets which surround it: Mercury, Venus, the i nature, and all the wonders of creation, have but little Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, perform their concharms for a being taken up in obviating the wants stant circuits at different distances, each taking up a of the day, and anxious for precarious subsistence. time to complete its revolutions, proportioned to the
Our philosophers, therefore, who have testified such greatness of the circle which it is to describe. The surprise at the want of curiosity in the ignorant, seem lesser planets, also, which are attendants upon some not to consider that they are usually employed in of the greater, are subject to the same laws; they cirmaking provisions of a more important nature-in culate with the same exactness, and are in the same ! providing rather for the necessities than the amuse- manner influenced by their respective centres of ments of life. It is not till our more pressing wants motion. are sufficiently supplied, that we can attend to the | Besides those bodies which make a part of our calls of curiosity; so that in every age scientific re- peculiar system, and which may be said to reside finement has been the latest effort of human industry. within its great circumference, there are others that
But human curiosity, though at first slowly excited, frequently come among us from the most distant tracts being at last possessed of leisure for indulging its pro- of space, and that seem like dangerous intruders upon pensity, becomes one of the greatest amusements of the beautiful simplicity of nature. These are comets, life, and gives higher satisfactions than what even the whose appearance was once so terrible to mankind, senses can afford. A man of this disposition turns and the theory of which is so little understood at preall nature into a magnificent theatre, replete with sent; all we know is, that their number is much objects of wonder and surprise, and fitted up chiefly greater than that of the planets, and that, like these, for his happiness and entertainment; he industriously they roll in orbits, in some measure obedient to solar examines all things, from the minutest insect to the influence. Astronomers have endeavoured to calcumost finished animal, and when his limited organs late the returning periods of many of them; but excan no longer make the disquisition, he sends out his perience has not, as yet, confirmed the veracity of imagination upon new inquiries.
their investigations. Indeed, who can tell, when those Nothing, therefore, can be more august and striking wanderers have made their excursions into other than the idea which his reason, aided by his imagina- worlds and distant systems, what obstacles may be tion, furnishes of the universe around him. Astrono- | found to oppose their progress, to accelerate their momers tell us that this earth which we inhabit forms tions, or retard their return! but a very minute part in that great assemblage of But what we have hitherto attempted to sketch is bodies of which the world is composed. It is a mil- but a small part of that great fabric in which the lion of times less than the sun, by which it is en- | Deity has thought proper to manifest his wisdom and lightened. The planets, also, which, like it, are sub- omnipotence. There are multitudes of other bodies ordinate to the sun's influence, exceed the earth one dispersed over the face of the heavens, that lie too rethousand times in magnitude. These, which were at mote for examination; these have no motion such as first supposed to wander in the heavens without any | the planets are found to possess, and are therefore fixed path, and that took their name from their ap-called fixed stars; and from their extreme brilliancy parent deviations, have long been found to perform and their immense distance, philosophers have been their circuits with great exactness and strict regula induced to suppose them to be suns resembling that rity. They have been discovered as forming with our which enlivens our system. As the imagination, also, earth a system of bodies circulating round the sun, once excited, is seldom content to stop, it has furit, all obedient to one law, and impelled by one com- nished each with an attendant system of planets be 1 mon influence.
longing to itself, and has even induced some to deplore Modern philosophy has taught us to believe, that the fate of those systems whose imagined suns, when the great Author of nature began the work of which sometimes happens, have become no longer creation, he chose to operate by second causes ; and / visible.
But conjectures of this kind, which no reasoning can spectator. The crow and the chough avoid those ascertain nor experiment reach, are rather amusing frightful precipices; they choose smaller heights, than useful. Though we see the greatness and wis- | where they are less exposed to the tempest; it is the dom of the Deity in all the seeming worlds that cormorant, the gannet, the tarrock, and the terne, that surround us, it is our chief concern to trace him in venture to these dreadful retreats, and claim an unthat which we inhabit. The examination of the earth, disturbed possession. To the spectator from above, the wonders of its contrivance, the history of its advan- those birds, though some of them are above the size tages, or of the seeming defects in its formation, are of an eagle, seem scarce as large as a swallow, and the proper business of the natural historian. A de- their loudest screaming is scarcely perceptible. scription of this earth, its animals, vegetables, and But the generality of our shores are not so formidminerals, is the most delightful entertaininent the able. Though they may rise two hundred fathom mind can be furnished with, as it is the most interest above the surface, yet it often happens that the water ing and useful. I would beg leave, therefore, to con- | forsakes the shore at the departure of the tide, and chude these commonplace speculations with an obser- | leaves a noble and delightful walk for curiosity on Fation which, I hope, is not entirely so.
the beach. Not to mention the variety of shells with A use, hitherto not much insisted upon, that may which the sand is strewed, the lofty rocks that hang result from the contemplation of celestial magnifi over the spectator's head, and that seem but just kept cence, is, that it will teach us to make an allowance from falling, produce in him no unpleasing gloom. for the apparent irregularities we find below. When- | If to this be added the fluttering, the screaming, and
erer we can examine the works of the Deity at a pro- the pursuits of myriads of water-birds, all either ini per point of distance, so as to take in the whole of his tent on the duties of incubation, or roused at the
design, we see nothing but uniformity, beauty, and presence of a stranger, nothing can compose a scene precision. The heavens present us with a plan which,
of more peculiar solemnity. To walk along the shore though inexpressibly magnificent, is yet regular be when the tide is departed, or to sit in the hollow of a yond the power of invention. Whenever, therefore, rock when it is come in, attentive to the various
ind any apparent defects in the earth, instead sounds that gather on every side, above and below, attempting to reason ourselves into an opinion may raise the mind to its highest and noblest exerthat they are beautiful, it will be wiser to say that tions. The solemn roar of the waves swelling into We do not behold them at the proper point of dis- ! and subsiding from the vast caverns beneath, the Lance, and that our eye is laid too close to the ob- | piercing note of the gull, the frequent chatter of the s to take in the regularity of their connection. guillemot, the loud note of the auk, the scream of the
Ort, we may conclude that God, who is regular | heron, and the hoarse deep periodical croaking of the s great productions, acts with equal uniformity cormorant, all unite to furnish out the grandeur of
the scene, and turn the mind to Him who is the essence of all sublimity.
in the little.
whole tribe of the gull ki
the shore is composed, fowl retire to breed in sal that continually beat at into an impending boldness; out over the water, while the ra the place inaccessible 11 situations to which se
[Scenery of the Sea-coasts.]
[On the Increased Love of Life with Age.] [From the same.]
[From Goldsmith's Essays.] ose who have been much upon our coasts know Age, that lessens the enjoyment of life, increases there are two different kinds of shores--that our desire of living. Those dangers which, in the Slants down to the water with a gentle declivity, vigour of youth, we had learned to despise, assume lat which rises with a precipitate boldness, and new terrors as we grow old. Our caution increasing set as & bulwark to repel the force of the in- as our years increase, fear becomes at last the prevail8 deeps. It is to such shores as these that the ing passion of the mind, and the small remainder of be of the gull kind resort, as the rocks offer life is taken up in useless efforts to keep off our end,
ng, and the sea a sufficient or provide for a continued existence. It is in the cavities of these rocks, of which Strange contradiction in our nature, and to which 18 composed, that the vast variety of sea- even the wise are liable! If I should judge of that te to breed in safety. The waves beneath, part of life which lies before me by that which I have nually beat at the base, often wear the shore already seen, the prospect is hideous. Experience apending boldness, so that it seems to jut tells me that my past enjoyments have brought no
water, while the raging of the sea makes real felicity, and sensation assures me that those I
inaccessible from below. These are the have felt are stronger than those which are yet to up their young in
to which sea-fowl chiefly resort, and bring come. Yet experience and sensation in vain persuade; heir young in undisturbed security..
hope, more powerful than either, dresses out the dis" have never observed our boldest coasts, tant prospect in fancied beauty; some happiness, in a of their tremendous sublimity. The long perspective, still beckons me to pursue; and,
of art, the highest towers, and the no- like a losing gamester, every new disappointment inare but ant-hills when put in comparison; creases my ardour to continue the game. Wty of a rock often exhibits a coping Whence, then, is this increased love of life, which he ceiling of a Gothic cathedral. The grows upon us with our years? whence comes it, that re offers to the view a wall of massive we thus make greater efforts to preserve our existence s higher than our tallest steeples. at a period when it becomes scarce worth the keeping ? e think of a precipice three quarters Is it that nature, attentive to the preservation of eight ? and yet the rocks of St Kilda mankind, increases our wishes to live, while she leg. What must be our awe to approach sens our enjoyments; and, as she robs the senses of
impending height, and to look down every pleasure, equips imagination in the spoil! Life terrors of fallindible vacuity below; to ponder on the would be insupportable to an old man who, loaded
the bottom, where the waves that with infirmities, feared death no more than when in ns are scarcely seen to curl on the the vigour of manhood; the numberless calamities of
oar of an ocean a thousand leagues decaying nature, and the consciousness of surviving these former than the murmur of a brook? It every pleasure, would at once induce him, with his
able mansions that myriads of sea- | own hand, to terminate the scene of misery ; but hap
..seen sporting, flying in security pily the contempt of death forsakes him at a time scalf a mile beneath the feet of the when it could only be prejudicial, and life acquires
Those who have never have no idea of their tr boasted works of art, the h blest domes, are but an the single cavity of a ro higher than the ceiling of face of the shore offers to stone ten times higher tha What should we think of & of a mile in height ! and y are still higher! What must the edge of that impending h on the unfathomnable vacuity
gwell like mountains are sca surface, and the roar of an broad appears softer than the is in these formidable mansion fowl are for ever seen spory down the depth, half & mile
an imaginary value in proportion as its real value is age without shrinking; he would have boldly dared to no more.
live, and served that society by his future assiduity Our attachment to every object around us increases which he basely injured by his desertion. in general from the length of our acquaintance with it. I would not choose,' says a French philosopher,
[A City Night-Piece.] " to see an old post pulled up with which I had been long acquainted.' A mind long habituated to a cer
[From the Citizen of the World.") tain set of objects insensibly becomes fond of seeing The clock has just struck two; the expiring taper them; visits them from habit, and parts from them rises and sinks in the socket; the watchman forgets the with reluctance. From hence proceeds the avarice hour in slumber ; the laborious and the happy are at of the old in every kind of possession; they love the rest ; and nothing wakes but meditation, guilt, revelry, world and all that it produces; they love life and all and despair. The drunkard once more fills the deits advantages, not because it gives them pleasure, stroying bowl; the robber walks his midnight round; but because they have known it long.
and the suicide lifts his guilty arm against his own Chinvang the Chaste, ascending the throne of China, sacred person. commanded that all who were unjustly detained in Let me no longer waste the night over the page of prison during the preceding reigns should be set free. antiquity or the sallies of contemporary genius, but Among the number who came to thank their deliverer pursue the solitary walk, where vanity, ever changing, on this occasion there appeared a majestic old man, but a few hours past walked before me-where she who, falling at the emperor's feet, addressed him as kept up the pageant, and now, like a froward child, follows: 'Great father of China, behold a wretch, seems hushed with her own importunities. now eighty-five years old, who was shut up in a What a gloom hangs all around! The dying lamp dungeon at the age of twenty-two. I was imprisoned, feebly emits a yellow gleam; no sound is heard but though a stranger to crime, or without being even of the chiming clock or the distant watch-dog ; all confronted by my accusers. I have now lived in the bustle of human pride is forgotten. An hour solitude and darkness for more than fifty years, and like this may well display the emptiness of human am grown familiar with distress. As yet, dazzled with vanity. the splendour of that sun to which you have restored. There will come a time when this temporary soli. me, I have been wandering the streets to find out tude will be made continual, and the city itself, like some friend that would assist, or relieve, or remember its inhabitants, fade away, and leave a desert in its me; but my friends, my family, and relations are all room. dead, and I am forgotten. Permit me, then, O Chin | What cities, great as this, have once triumphed vang, to wear out the wretched remains of life in my in existence, had their victories as great, joy as just former prison; the walls of my dungeon are to me and as unbounded, and, with short-sighted presumpmore pleasing than the most splendid palace: I have tion, promised themselves immortality! Posterity can not long to live, and shall be unhappy except I spend hardly trace the situation of some; the sorrowful the rest of my days where my youth was passed-in traveller wanders over the awful ruins of others; that prison from whence you were pleased to release and, as he beholds, he learns wisdom, and feels the me.'
transience of every sublunary possession. The old man's passion for confinement is similar to Here, he cries, stood their citadel, now grown orer that we all have for life. We are habituated to the with weeds; there their senate house, but now the prison, we look round with discontent, are displeased haunt of every noxious reptile. Temples and theatres with the abode, and yet the length of our captivity stood here, now only an undistinguished heap of ruin. only increases our fondness for the cell. The trees we | They are fallen, for luxury and avarice first made bare planted, the houses we have built, or the pos- them feeble. The rewards of state were conferred on terity we have begotten, all serve to bind us closer to amusing, and not on useful members of society. earth, and imbitter our parting. Life sues the young Their riches and opulence invited the invaders, who, like a new acquaintance; the companion, as yet un though at first repulsed, returned again, conquered by exhausted, is at once instructive and amusing; its perseverance, and at last swept the defendants into company pleases, yet for all this it is but little re- undistinguished destruction. garded. To us, who are declined in vears, life appears How few appear in those streets, which but some like an old friend; its jests have been anticipated in few hours ago were crowded! And those who appear former conversation; it has no new story to make us now no longer wear their daily mask, nor attempt to smile, no new improvement with which to surprise, hide their lewdness or their misery. yet still we love it; destitute of every enjoyment, still But who are those who make the streets their couch, we love it; husband the wasting treasure with in- and find a short repose from wretchedness at the doors creasing frugality, and feel all the poignancy of an- of the opulent? These are strangers, wanderers, and orguish in the fatal separation.
| phans, whose circumstances are too humble to expect reSir Philip Mordaunt was young, beautiful, sincere, dress, and whose distresses are too great even for pity. brave, an Englishman. He had a complete fortune of Their wretchedness excites rather horror than pity. his own, and the love of the king his master, which Some are without the covering even of rags, and others was equivalent to riches. Life opened all her treasures emaciated with disease. The world has disclaimed before him, and promised a long succession of future them : society turns its back upon their distress, and happiness. He came tasted of the entertainment, but I has given them up to nakedness and hunger. These was disgusted even at the beginning. He professed poor shivering females have once seen happier days, an aversion to living, was tired of walking round the and been flattered into beauty. same circle; had tried every enjoyment, and found! Why, why was I born a man, and yet see the sufthem all grow weaker at every repetition. If life ferings of wretches I cannot relieve! Poor houseless be in youth so displeasing,' cried he to himself, what creatures ! the world will give you reproaches, but will it appear when age comes on? if it be at present will not give you relief. The slightest misfortunes indifferent, sure it will then be execrable.' This of the great, the most imaginary uneasiness of the thought imbittered every reflection : til at last, with rich, are aggravated with all the power of eloquence, all the serenity of perverted reason, he ended the and held up to engage our attention and sympathetic debate with a pistol! Had this self-deluded man sorrow. The poor weep unheeded, persecuted by every been apprised that existence grows more desirable to subordinate species of tyranny; and every law which as the longer we exist, he would have then faced old gives others security becomes an enemy to them.
Why was this heart of mine formed with so much affairs were among his most vigorous and felicitous sensibility! or why was not my fortune adapted to its appearances : his most important public duty was impulses? Tenderness without the capacity of re the part he took in the prosecution of Warren lieving, only makes the man more wretched than the Hastings, and his opposition to the regency biil object which sues for assistance.
of Mr Pitt. Stormier times, however, were at
hand : the French Revolution was then blackenEDMUND BURKE.
ing the horizon' (to use one of his own metaphors),
and he early predicted the course it would take. As an orator, politician, and author, the name of He strenuously warned his countrymen against the EDMUND BURKE stood high with his contemporaries, dangerous influence of French principles, and puband time has abated little of its lustre. He is still | lished his memorable treatise, Reflections on the by far the most eloquent and imaginative of all our
| French Revolution. A rupture now took place bewriters on public affairs, and the most philosophical | tween him and his Whig friends, Mr Fox in partiof English statesmen. Burke was born in Dublin, cular ; but with characteristic ardour Burke went the second son of an attorney, in 1730. After his on denouncing the doctrines of the revolution, and education at Trinity college, he removed to London, published his Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs, where he entered himself as a student of the Middle his Letters to a Noble Lord, and his Letters on the ProTemple, and laboured in periodical works for the posals for Peace with the Regicide Directory of France. booksellers. His first conspicuous work was a | The splendour of these compositions, the various parody on the style and manner of Bolivgbroke, a knowledge which they display, the rich imagery Vindication of Natural Society, in which the para- with which they abound, and the spirit of philosodoxical reasoning of the noble sceptic is pushed to a phical reflection which pervades them all, stamp ridiculous extreme, and its absurdity very happily them among the first literary productions of their exposed. In 1757 he published A Philosophical In- time. Judged as political treatises, they may in quiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and some instances be considered as exaggerated in their Beautiful, which soon attracted considerable atten- tone and manner: the imagination of the orator tion, and paved the way for the author's introduc- transported him beyond the bounds of sober prution to the society of Johnson, Reynolds, Goldsmith, dence and correct taste; but in all his wanderings and the other eminent men of the day. Burke, there is genius, wisdom, and eloquence. Such a however, was still struggling with difficulties, and flood of rich illustration had never before been poured
ou questions of state policy and government. At the same time Burke was eminently practical in his views. His greatest efforts will be found directed to the redress of some existing wrong, or the preservation of some existing good—to hatred of actual oppression, to the removal of useless restrictions, and to the calm and sober improvement of the laws and government which he venerated, without 'coining to himself Whig principles from a French die, unknown to the impress of our fathers in the constitution.' Where inconsistencies are found in his writings between his early and later opinions, they will be seen to consist chiefly in matters of detail or in expression. The leading principles of his public life were always the same. He wished, as he says, to preserve consistency, but only by varying his means to secure the unity of his end: when the equipoise of the vessel in which he sails may be endangered by overloading it upon one side, he is desirous of carrying the small weight of his reasons to that which may preserve its equipoise.' When the revolution broke out, his sagacity enabled him to foresee the dreadful consequences which it would entail upon France and the world, and his enthusiastic temperament led him to state his impressions in language sometimes overcharged and almost bombastic, sometimes full of prophetic fire, and always
with an energy and exuberance of fancy in which, Edmund Burke.
among philosophical politicians, he was unrivalled.
In the clash of party strife, so eminent a person could compiling for booksellers. He suggested to Dodsley not escape animadversion or censure; his own ardour the plan of an Annual Register, which that spirited excited others, and the vehemence of his manner natupublisher adopted, Burke furnishing the whole of rally provoked and aggravated discussion. Thus he the original matter. He continued for several years stood aloof from most of his old associates, when, like to write the historical portion of this valuable com- a venerable tower, he was sinking into ruin and depilation. In 1761 Burke accompanied the Earl of cay. Posterity, however, has done ample justice to Halifax to Ireland as one of his secretaries; and four his genius and character, and has confirmed the years afterwards, he was fairly launched into public opinion of one of his contemporaries, that if (as he life as a Whig politician, by becoming private secre- did not attempt to conceal) Cicero was the model on tary to the Marquis of Rockingham, then appointed which he laboured to form his own character in first lord of the treasury. A seat in parliament next eloquence, in policy, in ethics, and philosophy, he followed, and Burke became a leading speaker in infinitely surpassed the original. Burke retired from the House of Commons. His first seat was for parliament in 1794. The friendship of the Marquis Wendover, and he was afterwards member for of Rockingham had enabled him to purchase an Bristol and Malton. His speeches on American estate near Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire, and