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formed or created; I say it is no wonder that men so much in the dark as to matter of fact, should conceive by the light of their reason,

that government arose in that method, and by those deductions which to them appeared most capable of producing such a conformity. But that those who are acquainted with the Scriptures, and profess to believe them; who thereby know the whole history of the creation, and have therein the most lively representations of all the excesses and defects of nature; who see the order and discipline and subjection prescribed to man from his creation, by his creator; that such men, after so cleai information of what was really and in truth done and commanded, should resort to the fancy and supposition of heathen philosophers for the invention of government, is very unreasonable, and las exposed the peace and quiet of kingdoms, (the preservation of which is the obligation of conscience and religion) to the evil imaginations of men, upon the ungrounded conceptions concerning the srimitive foundation of subjection and obedience.

ESSAY 20.

ON THE NATURE AND EFFECT

OF POETRY.

(Sir William Temple.)

To wisdom are attributed the invention or productions of things generally esteemed the most necessary, useful, or profitable to human life, either in private possessions or public institutions; to genius those writings or discourses which are the most pleasing or entertaining to all that read or hear them. Yet, according to the opinion of those that link wisdom and genius together; as the inventions of sages and lawgivers themselves do please and profit those who approve and follow them; so those of poets instruct and profit as well as please such as are conversant in them, and the happy nixture of both these makes the excellency in those compositions, and has given occasion or esteeming, or at least for calling poetry, diine.

The names given to poets both in Greek and Latin, express the same opinion of them in both those nations ; the Greek signifying makers or creators *; such as raise admirable frames and fabrics out of nothing, which strike with wonder and with pleasure the eyes and imaginations of those who behold them; the Latin makes the same word † common to poets and to prophets. Now, as creation is the first attribute and highest operation of divine power, so is prophecy the greatest emanation of divine spirit in the world. As the names in those two learned languages, so the causes of poetry are by the writers of them said to be divine, and to proceed from a celestial fire, or divine inspiration ; and by the vulgar opinions, recited or related to in many passages of these authors, the effects of poetry were likewise thought divine and supernatural, and power

of charms and enchantments were ascribed to it.

“ Carmina vel cælo possunt deducere Lunam,
“ Carminibus Circe socios mutavit Ulyssis ;
“ Frigidus in pratis cantando rumpitur anguis.”

Pale Phoebe, drawn by verse, from heaven descends;
And Circe chang'd with charms Ulysses's friends.
Verse breaks the ground; and penetrates the brake,
And in the winding cavern splits the snake.

Dryden's Virgil, Pastoral 8. 1. 95. * Toulons from 711W, to make or do. + Poeta.

But I can easily admire poetry, and yet without adoring it; I can allow it to arise from the greatest excellency of natural temper, or the greatest race of native genius, without exceeding the reach of what is human, or giving it any approaches to divinity. I cannot allow poetry to be more divine in its effects than in its causes, nor any operation produced by it to be more than purely natural, or to deserve any other sort of wonder than those of music or of natural magic, however any of them may have appeared to minds little versed in the speculations of nature, of occult qualities, and the force of numbers or sounds.

When I read that charming description in Virgil's eighth Eclogue of all sorts of charms and fascinations by verses, by images, by knots, by numbers, by fire, by herbs, employed upon occasion of a violent passion, from a jealous or disappointed

I have recourse to the strong impression, of fables and of poetry, to the easy mistakes of popular opinions, to the force of imagination to the secret virtues of several herbs, and to the powers of sounds. If the forsaken damsel in that Eclogue, had expected only from the force of her verses or her charms, what is the burthen of the song, to bring Daphnis home from the town where he was engaged in a new amour; if she

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had pretended only to revive an old fainting flame, or to damp a new one that was kindling in his breast, she might for aught I know have compassed such ends by the power of enchantments. For true poetry may have the force to raise passions and to allay them, to change and to extinguish them, to tempt joy and grief, to raise love and fear, nay, to turn fear into boldness, and love into indifference, and into hatred itself; and I easily believe, that the disheartened Spartans were new animated, and recovered their lost courage by the songs of Tyrtæus ; that the cruelty and revenge of Phalaris were changed by the Ode of Stesichorus into the greatest kindness and esteem; and that many men were as passionately enamoured by the charms of Sappho's wit and poetry, as by those of beauty in Flora or Thais : for not only beauty gives love, but love gives beauty to the object that raises it; and if the possession be strong enough, let it come from what it will, there is always beauty enough in the person that inspires it.

Nor is it any great wonder that such force should be found in poetry, since in it are assembled all the powers of eloquence, of music, and of painting, which are allowed to make so strong impression upon human minds. How far men have been affected with all or any of these

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