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able ocean'; that of the rest some is encumbered with naked mountains', and some lost under barren sands`; some scorched with unintermitted heat', and some petrified with perpetual frost'; so that only a few' regions remain for the production of fruits', the pasture of cattle', and the accommodation of man'."
The same observation may be transferred to the time' allotted us in our present state. When we have deducted all that is absorbed in sleep', all that is inevitably appropriated to the demands of nature, or irresistibly engrossed by the tyranny of custom'; all that passes in regulating the superficial decorations of life', or is given up in the reciprocations of civility to the disposal of others'; all that is torn from us by the violence of disease, or stolen imperceptibly away by lassitude and languor'; we shall find that' part of our duration very small of which we can truly call ourselves masters', or which we can spend wholly at our own choice'. Many of our hours are lost in a rotation of petty cares', in a constant recurrence of the same employ. ments'; many of our provisions for ease or happiness' are always exhausted by the present day; and a great part of our existence serves no other' purpose, than that of enabling us to enjoy the rest'.
Of the few moments which are left' in our disposal, it may reasonably be expected', that we should be so frugal' as to let none of them slip from us without some equivalent; and perhaps it might be found, that as the earth', however straitened by rocks and waters, is capable of producing more than all its inhabitants are able to consume', our lives', though much contracted by incidental distraction', would yet afford us a large space vacant to the exercise of reason' and virtue'; that we want not time', but diligence', for great performances; and that we squander' much of our allowance, even while we think it sparing' and insufficient
An Italian philosopher expressed in his motto', that time was his estate'; an estate', indeed, which will produce nothing without cultivation', but will always abundantly repay the labours of industry`, and satisfy the most extensive' desires, if no part of it be suffered to lie waste by negligence, to be overrun with noxious plants', or laid out for show rather than for use'. RAMBLFR.
4.-ON THE COMPARATIVE MERIT OF HOMER AND VIRGIL. UPON the whole', as to the comparative' merit of these two great princes of epic poetry, Homer and Virgil', the former must, undoubtedly, be admitted to be the greater genius'; the latter' to be the more correct writer. Homer was an original in his art, and discovers both the beautics' and the defects which are to be expected in an original' author, compared with those who succeed him; more boldness, more nature and ease', more sublimity' and force'; but greater irregularities' and negligences' in composi tion. Virgil' has, all along', kept his eye upon Homer'; in many places, he has not so much imitated', as he has literally translated him. The description of the storm', for instance, in the first' Æneid, and Æneas's.speech' upon that occasion, are translations from the fifth book of the Odyssey'; not to mention almost all the similes' of Virgil, which are no other than copies of those of Homer. The pre-eminence in invention', therefore, must, beyond doubt, be ascribed to Homer. As to the pre-eminence in judg ment', though many critics are disposed to give it to Virgil', yet, in my opinion, it hangs doubtful'. In Homer, we discern all the Greek vivacity'; in Virgil', all the Roman stateliness. Homer's` imagination is by much the most rich and copious'; Virgil's' the most chaste and correct. The strength of the former lies in his power of warming the fancy'; that of the latter, in his power of touching the heart'. Homer's style is more simple and animated'; Virgil's' more elegant and uniform'. The first' has, on many occasions, a sublimity' to which the latter never' attams; but the latter', in return, never sinks below a certain degree of epic dignity', which cannot so clearly be pronounced of the former. Not, however, to detract from the admiration due to both' these great poets, most of Homer's' defects may reasonably be imputed, not to his genius', but to the manners of the age in which he lived; and for the feeble passages of the Eneid', this excuse ought to be admitted, that the Eneid' was left an unfinished work. BLAIR.
5.-FAME A COMMENDABLE PASSION.
I CAN by no means agree' with you in thinking, that the love of fame is a passion, which either reason' or religion'
condemns. I confess, indeed, there are some' who have represented it as inconsistent with both`; and I remember, in particular, the excellent author of The Religion of Nature Delineated', has treated it as highly irrational' and absurd. But surely "'twere to consider too curiously'," as Horatio says to Hamlet, "to consider thus." For though fame with posterity should be, in the strict' analysis of it, no other than a mere uninteresting proposition, amounting to nothing more than that somebody acted meritoriously'; yet it would not necessarily follow', that true philosophy would banish the desire of it from the human breast. For this passion may' be (as most certainly' it is) wisely implanted in our species, notwithstanding the corresponding object should in reality' be very different from what it appears in imagination'. Do not many of our most refined' and even contemplative' pleasures owe their existence to our mistakes'? It is but extending' (I will not say, improving') some of our senses to a higher degree of acuteness than we now' possess them, to make the fairest views of nature', or the noblest productions of art', appear horrid' and deformed'. To see things as they truly`and in themselves' are, would not always, perhaps, be of advantage to us in the intellectual' world, any more than in the natural. But, after all, who shall certainly assure us, that the pleasure of virtuous fame dies' with its possessor, and reaches not to a farther scene of existence? There is nothing, it should seem, either absurd or unphilosophical in supposing it possible' at least, that the praises of the good' and the judicious', that sweetest music to an honest ear in this' world, may be echoed back to the mansions of the next; that the poet's description of Fancy' may be literally true, and though she walks upon earth', she may yet lift her head into heaven'.
But can it be reasonable to extinguish a passion which nature has universally lighted up' in the human breast, and which we constantly find to burn with most strength and brightness in the noblest and best' formed bosoms? cordingly revelation is so far from endeavouring (as you suppose) to eradicate' the seed which nature has deeply planted, that she rather seems, on the contrary', to cherish and forward its growth. To be exalted with honour', and to be had in everlasting remembrance', are in the number
of those encouragements which the Jewish' dispensation offered to the virtuous'; as the person from whom the sacred Author of the Christian system received his birth', is herself represented as rejoicing that all generations' should call her blessed'.
To be convinced' of the great advantage of cherishing this high regard to posterity, this noble desire of an after life in the breath of others', one need only look back upon the history of the ancient Greeks' and Romans'. What other' principle was it, which produced that exalted strain of virtue in those' days, that may well serve as a model to these? Was it not the concurrent approbation of the good', the uncorrupted applause of the wise', (as Tully calls it,) that animated their most generous' pursuits?
To confess the truth, I have been ever inclined to think it a very dangerous' attempt, to endeavour to lessen' the motives of right conduct, or to raise any suspicion' concerning their solidity. The tempers and dispositions of mankind are so extremely different', that it seems necessary they should be called into action by a variety of inciteThus, while some are willing to wed Virtue for her personal' charms, others' are engaged to take her for the sake of her expected dowry': and since her followers and admirers have so little hopes from her at present'. it were pity, methinks, to reason them out of any imagined' advantage in reversion'. FITZOSBORNE'S LETTERS.
6.-CHARACTER OF MR. PITT.
THE secretary' stood alone'. Modern degeneracy' had not reached him. Original and unaccommodating', the features of his character' had the hardihood of antiquity`. His august mind' overawed majesty itself. No state chicanery, no narrow system of vicious politics', no idle contest for ministerial victories', sunk him to the vulgar level of the great'; but overbearing, persuasive', and impracticable', his object was England', his ambition' was fame. Without dividing', he destroyed party; without corrupting', he made a venal age unanimous. France' sunk beneath him. With one' hand he smote the house of Bourbon', and wielded in the other' the democracy of
England. The sight of his mind' was infinite'; and lus schemes were to affect, not England', not the present age only, but Europe' and posterity. Wonderful were the means by which these schemes were accomplished'; al ways seasonable', always adequate', the suggestions of an understanding animated by ardour', and enlightened by prophecy.
The ordinary feelings which make life amiable and indolent' were unknown to him. No domestic difficulties', no domestic weakness' reached him; but aloof from the sordid occurrences of life', and unsullied by its intercourse', he came occasionally' into our system, to counsel' and to decide'.
A character so exalted', so strenuous', so various, so authoritative', astonished' a corrupt age, and the treasury trembled at the name of Pitt' through all her classes of venality. Corruption imagined', indeed, that she had found defects in this statesman, and talked much of the inconsistency of his glory, and much of the ruin of his victories'; but the history of his country', and the calamities of the enemy', answered' and refuted her.
Nor were his political abilities his only' talents. His eloquence' was an era' in the senate, peculiar' and spontaneous, familiarly expressing gigantic sentiments' and instinctive wisdom'; not like the torrent of Demosthenes', or the splendid conflagration of Tully'; it resembled sometimes the thunder', and sometimes the music of the spheres. He did not conduct the understanding through the painful subtility of argumentation'; nor was he for ever on the rack of exertion', but rather lightened upon the subject, and reached the point' by the flashings of the mind', which', like those of his eye', were felt', but could not be followed'.
Upon the whole', there was in this man something that could create', subvert', or reform'; an understanding', a spirit, and an eloquence', to summon mankind to society', or to break the bonds of slavery' asunder, and to rule the wildness of free' minds with unbounded authority'; something that could establish' or overwhelm' empire, and strike a blow' in the world that should resound through the unverse'. ROBERTSON.