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rance and a premeditated levity, they at length realize the lie, and end indeed in a pitiable destitution of all intellectual power.
To many I shall appear to speak insolently, because the public,-(for that is the phrase which has succeeded to The Town, of the wits of the reign of Charles II.)—the public is at present accustomed to find itself appealed to as the infallible judge, and each reader complimented with excellencies, which, if he really possessed, to what purpose is he a reader, unless, perhaps, to remind himself of his own superiority! I confess that I think very differently. I have not a deeper conviction on earth, than that the principles of taste, morals, and religion, which are taught in the commonest books of recent composition, are false, injurious, and debasing. If these sentiments should be just, the consequences must be so important, that every well-educated man, who professes them in sincerity, deserves a patient hearing. He may fairly appeal even to those whose persuasions are most opposed to his own, in the words of the philosopher of Nola :— Ad isthæc quæso vos, qualiacunque primo videantur aspectu, adtendite, ut qui vobis forsan insanire videar, saltem quibus insaniam rationibus cognoscatis. What I feel deeply, freely will I utter. Truth is not detraction; and assuredly we do not hate him to whom we tell the truth. But with whomsoever we play the deceiver and flatterer, him at the bottom we despise. We are, indeed, under a necessity to conceive a vileness in him, in order to diminish the sense of the wrong we have committed, by the worthlessness of the object.
Through no excess of confidence in the strength of my talents, but with the deepest assurance of the justice of my cause, I bid defiance to all the flatterers of the folly, and foolish self-opinion of the half-instructed many;-to all who fill the air with festal explosions and false fires sent up against the lightnings of heaven, in order that the people may neither distinguish the warning flash nor hear the threatening thunder! How recently did we stand alone in the world? And though the one storm has blown over, another may even now be gathering: or haply the hollow murmur of the earthquake within the bowels of our own commonweal may strike a direr terror than ever did the tempest of foreign warfare. Therefore, though the first quatrain is no longer applicable, yet the moral truth and the sublime exhortation of the following sonnet can never be superannuated. With
it I conclude this essay, thanking God that I have communed with, honored, and loved its wise and high-minded author. To know that such men are among us, is of itself an antidote against despondence:
Another year!-another deadly blow!
THE LANDING PLACE:
OR ESSAYS INTERPOSED FOR AMUSEMENT, RETROSPECT, AND PREPARATION.
MISCELLANY THE FIRST.
Etiam a Musis si quando animum paulisper abducamus, apud Musas nihilominus feriamur: at reclines quidem, at otiosas, at de his et illis inter se libere colloquentes.
THE LANDING PLACE.
O blessed letters that combine in one
Since writings are the veins, the arteries,
THE intelligence, which produces or controls human actions and occurrences, is often represented by the Mystics under the name and notion of the supreme harmonist. I do not myself approve of these metaphors: they seem to imply a restlessness to understand that which is not among the appointed objects of our comprehension or discursive faculty. But certainly there is one excellence in good music, to which, without mysticism, we may find or make an analogy in the records of history. I allude to that sense of recognition, which accompanies our sense of novelty in the most original passages of a great composer. If we listen to a symphony of Cimarosa, the present strain still seems not only to recall, but almost to renew, some past movement, another and yet the same! Each present movement bringing back as it were, and embodying the spirit of some melody that had gone before, anticipates and seems trying to overtake something that is to come and the musician has reached the summit of his art,