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Balsae thinks very prettily when he says of a little river, 6 This beautiful ftream is so fond of these 6 meadows, that it divides itself into a thousand

branches, and forms an infinite number of islands “ and turnings, in order to sport itself in them the

more agreeably, p. 137, 138."

Ingenious fictions produce as agreeable effects - in profe as in verse. They are so many diverting fpectacles to the mind, which always please persons of taste and judgment. When Pliny the younger exhorts Cornelius Tacitus to follow his example and study, even when hunting, he tells him, that the exercise of the body exalts the mind; that woods, folitude and even the filence of some sports, contribute very much to our thinking juftly of things; in fine, that if he carried his tablets with him, he would find that Minerva delighted as much in forests and mountains as Diana. Here is a little fiction in a very few words. Pliny had said before “, that being at a hunting match, where they took three wild boars in toils, he sat down near the toils, with his tablets in his hand, writing down any happy thought which occured to his mind, in order, that if he should chance to return home with empty hands, yet his pocket book might be full. This is a pretty thought; but there is more beauty in his imagining that Minerva inhabits the woods as well as Diana, and that she is to be found in the valJeys and mountains, p. 139, 140,

The agreeable arises generally from oppofition; eo specially in thoughts which have two meanings, and, as it were, two faces; for that figure which seems to deny what it advances, and contradi&t itself in out

& Mirum eft ut animus agiti- ep. 6. tione morumque corporis excitetur. A Ad resia sedebam : erant in * Jam undique fylvæ, & folitulo, proximo non venabulum aut lancea, ipsumque illud filentium quod ve. fed ftylus & pugillares. Medita: Dacioni datur, magna cogitationis bar aliquid, enotabamque, ut, fi incitamenta funt ..... Experieris manus vacuas, plenas car son Dianam magis in montibus 'reportasem. Ibid. guam Minervam inerrare. Lib. 1.


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ward appearance, is vastly elegant. Sophocles says, the presents of an enemy are not presents, and that a cruel mother is not a mother. i And Seneca tells us, a great fortune is great slavery ; Tacitus, * that we are sometimes guilty of the baseft and most servile actions for the fake of power. 'Horace speaks of a fage folly, of an active floth, and of a jarring concord. Some have said, Kings were slaves upon the throne ; that the body and foul are two enemies who cannot part with each other, and two friends who cannot bear each other. According to Voiture, the secret to be healthy and gay, consists in the exercise of the body, and the tranquillity of the mind. The fame author fays, speaking of a person of quality who was a prodigious genius and his friend ; I am never so haughty as when I receive his letters, nor so humble as when I am going to anfwer them, p. 146.

However, we must not fancy that a thought cannot be agreeable or beautiful, unless it glitters and carries with it a play of words; fimplicity alone sometimes forms all its beauty. This simplicity consists in a plain and ingenuous, but lively and rational air, such as is observed sometimes in a peasant of good sense, or in a witty child, p. 150.

3. There is a third species of thoughts, which have agreeableness mixed with delicacy; or rather, whofe whole agreeableness, beauty, and merit, are owing to their delicacy. We may fay, a delicate thought is the most exquisite production, and as it were the quintessence of wit. In my opinion tutors should reason "upon the delicacy of the thoughts which are introduced in works of genius, with relation to that of the works of nature. m The most delicate are those which


i Magna fervitus eft magna for- dia discors. Horat. tuna. De Consol. ad Polyb. m Rerum natura nusquam magis,

* Omnia ferviliter pro domi- quàm in minimis tota. Plin.l. is. nacione. Hiit. lib. I. i Insanieatis dum fapientiæ con

in arctum coacta rerum naturæ sulcus erro. . ; . Strenua nos ex- majeftas, multis'nulla fui parce miercet inertia . . . Rerum concor- rabilior. Idem, d. 37. Proæm.. F 6


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nature delights to work in miniature, and whose matter being almost imperceptible, acts in such a manner, that it is doubtful whether the intends to discover or conceal her art. Such is a perfect infect, the more worthy of admiration, as it is less visible, according to Pliny, p. 158, 160.

Let us fay, by way of analogy, that a delicate thought has this property, viz. to be comprized in a few words; and that it's sense is not so visible or confpicuous. » One would at first sight imagine, that it conceals a part of its sense on purpose that we may fearch after, and guess at it, or at least, that she only presents a glimpfe of it, to give us the pleasure of discovering it entirely, if we have genius : for as we have good eyes, and employ even those of art, I mean telescopes and microscopes, to behold the master-pieces of nature ; the intelligent and clear-fighted only are capable of discovering the whole force and sense of a fine thought. This little mystery is, as it were, the foul of the delicacy of thoughts ; so that those which have nothing mysterious either in their foundation or turn, and discover themselves entirely at first sight, are not properly delicate, how witty foever they may be in other respects. Whence we may conclude, that delicacy adds something inexpressible to the sublime, A and to the agreeable or beautiful, which will appear more clearly by examples, p. 160, 161.

Pliny the panegyrist tells his Monarch, who had long refufed the title of father of his country, and would not receive it till he thought he had deferved it; . You are the only man who has been the father of bis country, before you were made fo, p. 162.

The river which made Egypt so fruitful, by its regular inundations, having missed overflowing for one Season, Trajan fent great quantities of corn for the

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Auditoribus grata funt hæc, rint. Quintil. 1. 8. c. 2. quæ cum intellexerint, acumine o Soli omnium contigit tibi, ut fuo dele&tantur, & gaudent, non pater patriæ elles, antequam fieres. quasi audiverint, sed quali invene

Po 163.

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relief of the people. The Nile, says Pliny, never E flowed more abundantly for the glory of the Romans,

The fame author says upon Trajan's entry into Rome; 9 Some proclaimed aloud, that they had seen enough after they had seen you ; and others that it was not necessary to extend life to the utmoft, p. 165.

There is a great deal of delicacy in Virgil's reflection on the imprudence or weakness of Orpheus, who, as he was bringing back his wife out of hell, looked back, and lost her the same instant: 'A pardonable folly indeed, if the infernal Gods were capable of pardoning, p. 178.

There is no less delicacy in Cicero's applause of Cæ, far; "'Tis usual with you to forget nothing but injuries, p. 209.

Belides the delicacy of thoughts, which are merely ingenious, there is one that results from the sentiments, in which the natural affections have a greater share than the underftanding. 'I jhall never see you more, fays a poet on occasion of the death of a brother he loved passionately; I fall never see you more, my dear brother; you who were dearer to me than life : but I will love you for ever.

Another speaks thus of a perfon who was very dear to him: " You are to me a nuo merous company in the most folitary and desert places. But there is nothing more delicate than the complaints of a turtle dove, introduced speaking in a little dialogue in verse, between that bird and a man who passes by.

P Nilus Ægypto quidem fæpe, sed s Oblivisci nihil foles, nifi inju. gloriæ noftræ nunquam largior fluxit. rias. Orat. pro Ligar, 8. 35.

9 Alii se fatis vixiffe, te viso, te Nunquam ego te vitâ frater recepto : alii nunc magis effe vie amabilior alpiciam pofthac: at cervendum prædicabant.

tè femper amabo. Catul. Cùm subita incautum demen- u In folis tu mihi curba locis.

tia cepit amantem ; Tibul. Ignoscenda quidem, fcirent fi

ignoscese manes. Geor, l. 45


"Le PASSANT. Que fais-tu dans ce bois plaintive tourterelle? Turtle, wby. mean you in this grove?

LA TOURTER ELLE. Je gémis: j'ai perdu ma compagne fidele. The lofs, alas! of ber I love.

Ne crains tu point que l'oiseleur
Ne te fasse mourir comme elle ?

The fowler's art doft thou not fear,
Who thy complaints perhaps may hear ?

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LA TOUR T E R E L L E. Si ce n'est lui, ce sera ma douleur. No, 'tis from him I hope relief, The end of life, the end of grief. P. 213, 216, 217.

I shall conclude this extract with a reflection no less rational than witty, of father Bouhours ; it is in his book of ingenious thoughts. Whatever, fays he, is most delicate in the thoughts and expressions of author's who have writ with great juftness (and delicacy) is loft, when turned into another language; not unlike those exquisite effences whose subtil perfumes evaporate, when poured out of one vessel into another, p. 95.

Of hining thoughts. There is a kind of thoughts, little known to the writers of the Augustan age, and which were in no efteem or currency, till the decline of eloquence. These consist in a bort, lively, and shining way of expreling one's felf; which please chiefly by means of a certain point of wit, that strikes us by its boldness and novelty, and by its ingenious, but very uncommon turn. Seneca had a great share in introducing


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