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needs little proof or testimony. The examples have been known enough in Greece and in Italy, where some have fallen in love with the ravishing beauties of a lovely object drawn by the skill of an admirable painter, nay, painters themselves have fallen in love with some of their own productions, and doated on them as on a mistress or a fond child; which distinguishes among the Italians the several pieces that are done by the same hand, into several degrees, of those made con studio, con diligenza, or con amore, whereof the last are ever the most excelling. The powers of music are either felt or known by all men, and are allowed to work strangely upon the mind and the body, the passions and the blood; to raise joy and grief, to give pleasure and pain, to cure diseases, and the mortal sting of the tarantula ; to give motions to the feet as well as the heart, to compose disturbed thoughts, to assist and heighten devotion itself. We need no recourse to the fables of Orpheus or Ampbion, or the force of their music upon fishes and beasts; it is enough that we find the charming of serpents, and the cure or allay of an evil spirit or possession attributed to it in holy writ.

For the force of eloquence that so often raised and appeased the violence of popular commotions, and caused such convulsions in the Athe

1

nian state, no man needs more: to make him acknowledge it, than to consider Cæsar, one of the greatest and wisest of mortal men, come upon the tribunal full of hatred and revenge, and with a determined resolution to condemn Labienus, yet upon the force of Cicero's eloquence in an oration for his defence, begin to change countenance, turn pale, shake to that degree that the papers he held fell out of his hands, as if he had been frighted with words that never was so with blows, and at last change all his anger into clemency, and acquit the brave criminal instead of condemning him.

Now if the strength of these three mighty powers be united in poetry, we need not wonder that such virtues and such honours have been attributed to it, that it has been thought to be inspired, or has been called divine ; and yet I think it will not be disputed that the force of genius and of reasoning, the height of conceptions and expressions may be found in poetry as well as in oratory, the life and spirit of representatiou as much as in painting, and the force of sounds as well as in music; and how far these three natural powers may extend, and to what effect, I leave it to such men to consider whose thoughts turn to such speculations as these, or who by their native temper and genius are in

some degree disposed to receive the impressions of them. For my part I do not wonder that the celebrated Dr. Harvey, when he was reading Virgil, should sometimes throw him down upon the table and say he had a devil; por that the learned Meyric Casaubon, should find such charming pleasures and emotions as he describes upon reading soune part of Lucretius; that so many should cry, and with downright tears, at some tragedies of Shakespear's; and so many more feel such turns or curdling of their blood, upon reading or hearing some excellent pieces of poetry; nor that Octavia fell into a swoon, at the recital made by Virgil of those verses in the sixth of his Æneis.

* He alludes to the beautiful passage on the death of Marcellus son of Octavia and nephew of Augustus.

“ Tu Marcellus eris, &c."

ESSAY 21.

ON THE POETIC SPIRIT.

(Sir William Temple.)

THE more true and natural source of poetry may be discovered, by observing to what god this inspiration was ascribed among the antients; namely, Apollo, or the sun, esteemed among them the god of learning in general, but more particularly of music and of poetry. The mystery of this fable

that a certain noble and vital heat of temper, but especially of the brain, is the true spring of these two parts or sciences: this was that celestial fire which gave such a pleasing motion and agitation to the minds of those men who have been so much admired in the world, that raises such infinite images of things so agreeable and delightful to mankind. By the influence of this sun are produced those golden and inexhausted mines of invention which has furnished the world with treasures so higlily esteemed, and so universally known, and used in all the regions that have yet been discovered.

means,

I suppose,

From this arises that elevation of genius which can never be produced by any art or study, by pains or by industry, which cannot be taught by precepts or examples; and therefore is agreed by all to be the pure and free gift of heaven or of nature, and a fire kindled out of some hidden spark of the very first conception.

But though invention be the mother of poetry, yet this child is, like all others, born naked, and must be nourished with care, clothed with exactness and elegance, educated with industry, instructed with art, improved by application, corrected with severity, and accomplished with labour and with time, before it arrives at any great perfection or growth. It is certain that no composition requires so many several ingredients, or of more different sorts ; so many gifts of nature, and so many improvements of learning and of art. For there must be an universal genius, of great compass as well as great elevation. There must be a sprightly imagination or fancy, fertile in a thousand productions, ranging over infinite ground, piercing into every corner, and by the light of that true poetical fire, discovering a thousand little bodies or images in the world, and similitudes among them, unseen to common eyes, and which could not be discovered without the rays

of the sun,

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