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THE greatness of every nation, and the character of every age, have been estimated according to their progress in refinement and literature; and the degrees in which they have been attained were tardy or rapid, as the taste and genius of man were feeble or powerful. The sciences and the liberal arts arose out of necessity; but judgment and invention threw that plastic charm over their creation, which has moulded them into their present forms of existence, and given them a superior claim to the undivided attention of the world. Genius is a natural power of the mind, which assembles and combines; and taste or judgment, which accepts, rejects, and decides, is founded upon sensibility, improved and purified by the acquirement of knowledge, and the example of excellence. In the earliest ages of literature it is observable, that human genius excelled the sublimest efforts of subsequent periods, while judgment was weak, and unguided by any fixed principle, and the limits of its action were brief and bounded; but, as learning and cultivation advanced, genius imperceptibly decayed, and taste became experienced and improved. Thus, if the ancients surpassed us in original composition, we have reached a higher eminence in criticism. Primitive nature VOL. I.-No. 1.

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