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you have mentioned, are confined to a very few, in a Life fo Active, as Providence has seem'd to ordain that of Mankind to be. The necessary Result of those Duties which our Subfiftance and Happiness impofe upon us, require so many, and such frequent Avocations, that this is a Pleasure not ofren'to be enjoyed, and not by any considerable Number of the Species. And how excellent foever these Seraphick Contemplations may be, as certainly they are excel. lent; yet they appear to me, to be of a more inferior Degree than those Duties of Religion which have, an immediate Regard to Action, and our social Engagements to one another: For those are confin d to Particulars, and the Joys they give, as well as the Good they bring, extend no farther than to our felves; but those of Action, to all Mankind.
The whole Current and Drift of both the Old and New Testament, is to make us good Neighbours, that is, useful Members of the Society in which God and Nature have lac'd us. To this End are all the Doctrines of our Saviour directed, that we love God above all things, and our Neighbour as our selves; and this very Love of God is determined by our Love of our Neighbour. At this faine Aim levels the Subduing, or Reducing our Paffioris and Appetites into juft Bounds; so that they may not transport us to offer Injuries to others, which is the whole Business of the Gospel; which, if indeed we fully and faithfully follow'd, there would be no Need of any other Help to our Instruction or Conduct. But in an Age when those Divine Doctrines have not all that Influence which they ought to have: Nay, when Men are so cold too, and so negligent of them, certainly, whatever contributes to the fame End, and to rouze the Minds of Men to those Duries which the Gospel
recommends, must be allovcel to have proportionable · Value to the Good they produce: How far Poetry does this, we shall see hereafter.
HereHereifter, again, however valuable and excellent these Contemplations really may be, yet I cannot frd them enjoin'd by our great Teacher, who came down from Heaven to instruct us ; nor could they indeed be enjoin'd by him, because so few are capable, by Understanding, and Leisure, to put them in Practice : But at the same Time, that these contem: plarive Duries are not injoin'el, I find an unexce prionable Injunction of the Duties of Action.
But my Eusebia, I will not force a Sense upon your • Words, which, doubtless you never design'd them:I will not suppose, that you mean, that these Meditations are at least general Duties of Religion; but that they are more worthy, and more noble Employments of our leisure Hours, than any thing else. Give me Leave to ask you one. Question, fair Eusebin, Which Would you your self prefer, that noble, and truly generous Prince, who deplored the Loss of a Day, when he had not done some more than common Good, or those Monastick Recluses ( who were so far frin troubling themselves with the Care of others, that they were entirely provided for themselves) with their Pretences of the fublime Contemplations of their Solitudes: I am confident, that so generous and put·lick a Spirit as Eufebia, will give it to the Emperor, notwithstanding the fanctimonious Look-and Halit,
as well as Preteaices of the Monk. - God has form'd us for Socie y, and whatever con
tributes most to that End, must be 'ınost agreeable to the Author of 115, and by Consequence, most meritorious in Mankind, destin'd to that same End. : I am perswaded, That you are too much a Mistress of Reason, and of too delicate and refin' a Taste, to set up for an Advocate of Barbarism and Ignorance, and to exclude a Man from the Study and Learning of all.Manner of Arts and Sciences whatsoever, whether Mechanical or Liberal: For that indeed would
be be a perfect Piece of Don Quixotism, and the Setting up a Notion that is not only uțierly impracticable, but what, if it were not fo, must deprive us of ma-, ny of the Necessary and all the Decencies of Life.
For of Arts, some are Necessary to our Ever-Being and Sublistance, and others to our Well-Being. If no Arts were allowable, but fuch as were immediateJy and indispensably conducive, to our Sublistance, ten Parts in Eleven of the World must become idle and useless. A Tent-Maker seems to be none of these, and yet we find it to have been the Occupation of the Apostle of the Gentiles, and at which, he wrought, even during his Mislion, towards his Support: Nor had the same Saint been withouc the Benefit of those more liberal, which he had learnt at the Feet of Gamaliel.
You do me but Juftice, replied Eufebia, when you. imagine, that I am not for the Suppreflion of all Manner of Arts and Sciences; that were, to prefer. the dark Night of Gothick Ignorance, to the politer Day of Athens andRome. I allow all useful Meclianick Arts, and all profitable Sciences and Arts, which distins, quish Men from Brutes, and the civiliz'i, from the barbarous Part of Mankind. But I am for excluding idle and useless Arts, which, as they sprung from Vanity and Luxury, so they are directed to the Supe fort of their impious Origins, withont any Manner of Benefit to luman Society: And of this Nuniber I look upon Poetry to be the Principal.
I am glad, faid Morisina, that I have not mistaken your Sentiments in what I have said; for then I cannot be far from the Right; and yet, my dear Eufebia, I fear, if you cut off all that have proceeded from Vanity and Luxury, you will be thought no great Friend to Industry, nor have much Interest in our trading Cities and Corporations, which one their Opulence to little else, but this en passant,
I hope therefore, that you will farthier grant me, that those Arts which are most employed in our Actions, and their Sourse, our Manners, which they form and regulate, are the most valuable Arts. I dare believe, that you will likewise allow, that it is not poffible for Men in the present State of human Affairs, to be wholly without Diverfion, the Mind must be Tomerimes released from the Intenseness of Thought, and the fatiguing Pursuit of Business, or it could never go thro' the Dinties incumbent upon it.
This I will also grant you, said Eufebia, because indeed it seems to carry its own Evidence in Experience; and the wise Solomon confirms it, when he tells then that there is a Time for all things; a Time te work, and a Time to play; but then it does not folJow, that these Relaxations should be either derivedfrom, or productive of Guilt.
Submitting therefore, assum'd Morisina, Poetry to thebaré Title of a meer Diversion, it is as such neceffary; but it is a Diversion tliat conveys Virtue to our iguarded Hours, and makes its Way, by perfwafive Plenfure, to fix it self in the Heart, in the Midst of our Recreations.
First, "I think it may be easily made out, that there is nothing has a greater Power and Influence on the Heart, than Poetry, Reason from its Nature asserts it, Experience avows it from Facts beyond Controverfy. So that if we can prove, that Poetry'employs that Poiver for the Benefit of the Mind, or may, or lias employ'd it to that End, I gain my Point.
Poetry is compounded of three Arts, nay, of the Effence of three most illustrious Arts (or perhaps, I miglit justly fay, was the Parent of then) Eloquenice, Musick, and Painring. But these three Arts have gia ven abundant Proofs of what strong Impreslions they are capable of making on the human soul, when in their Perfection. I have, n.y felf, whoain no great Reader, read of Examples in Greece and Italy, of this
Force I speak of, where Persons have fallen in Love with Figures admirably drawn by some great Painters; nay, that the Artists themselves have been enamour'd of their own Draughts, and doated on them. as on a Mistress of real Flesh and Blood; and this has, among the Italian Painters, distinguish'd the Pictures of the fame Hand, into those drawn by Study, Ape plication, and Love; and it is observ’d, that the Productsof the last are always the most admirable. · We have undoubted History (as I am assur'd by
good Authors) of two Greeks; one was so far in Love with the Statue of Venus, that he ventur'd his Life in being lock d into her Temple all Night, for the Opportunity of satisfying his Pallion; and the other pin'd away, and died for being hindred from perpetually gazing oil, admiring and embracing of a Stajue in the City of Athens.
But left these be thought the Effect of Madness, more than of the Art, let any one of the least Gusta, cast his Eyes with Indifference, if he can, on the Paintings of Raphael, Rubens, or any other great M2Iter, where the Passions are delineated. No, it is imposlible to view that of our Saviour being taken down from the Cross, done by Jordan of Antwerp, in the Hands of the Duke of Marlborough, and not have his Soul transfix'd with that Sword of Sorrow, which is said to have pierc'd that of the Virgin Morher on that Occasion, and which is so admirably exprefs'd in her Figure in this very Piece.
The Power of Mufick has furnish'd us with many Stories, as well as Fables. As the Cure of the Sting of the Tarantula, the Charming of the Bites of Serpents, and the Cure or Allay of an Evil Spirii, are what daily Experience proves in Italy, and what the Holy Scriptures themselves confirm to us on the late ter Account.
The Force of Eloquence, that so often rais'd, and appeas'd the Violence of Popular Commotions, and