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Pursuing these ideas, I sat down close to my table ; and leaning my head upon my hand, I began to figure to myself the miseries of confinement. I was in a right frame for it, and so I gave full scope to my imagination.
I was going to begin with the millions of my fellowcreatures, born to no inheritance but slavery ; but findins, however affecting the picture was, that I could not bring it near me, and that the multitude of sad groups in it did but distract me, I took a single captive ; and having first shut him up in his dungeon, I then looked through the twilight of his grated door, to take his picture.
I beheld his body half wasted away, with long expectation and confinement; and felt what kind of sickness of the heart it is which arises from hope deferred. Upon looking nearer, I saw him pale and feverish. In thirty years the weste-n breeze had not once fanned his blood he had seen no sun, no moon, in all that time—nor had the voice of friend or kinsman breathed through his lattice. His children—but' here my heart began to bleed--and I was forced to go on with another part of the portrait.
He was sitting upon the ground, upon a little straw, in the farthest corner of his dungeon, which was alternately his chair and bed. A little calendar of small sticks was laid at the head, notched all over with the dismal days and nights he had passed there. He had one of these little sticks in his hand ; and, with a rusty nail, he was etching another day of misery to add to the heap. As I darkened the little light he had, he lifted up a hope. less eye towards the door—then cast it down—shook his head and went on With his work of afliction, heard his chains upon his legs, as he turned his body to lay his little stick upon the bundle. He gave a deep sigh—I saw the iron enter into his soul. I burst into tears. I could not sustain the picture of confineinent which iny fancy had drawn.
XI.—The Cant of Criticism.—STERNE.
AND how did Garrick speak the soliloquy last nighi? , against all rule, my Lord : most ungranamatically ! Betwixt the substantive and adjective (which should agree together, in number, case and gender) he made a breach thusstopping, as if the point wanted settling. And after the nominative case (which your Lordship knows should govern the verb) he suspended his voice, in the epilogue, a dozen times, three seconds and three fifths, by a stop watch, my Lord, each time. Admirable grammarian ! But, in suspending his voice, was the sense suspended likewise ? Did no expression of attitude or countenance fill up the chasm? Was the eye silent ? Did you narrowly look? I looked only at the stop watch, my Lord. Excellent observer !
And what of this new book, the whole world makes such a rout about? Oh, 'tis out of all plumb, my Lord quite an irregular thing! Not one of the angles at the four corners was a right angle. I had my rule and com.passes, my Lord, in my pocket. Excellent critic!
And for the epic poem, your Lordship bade me lookat—upon taking the length, breadth, height and depth of it, and trying them, at home, upon an exact scale of Bossu's, 'tis out, my Lord, in every one of its dimensions Admiral connoisseur !
And did you step in, to take a look at the grand picture, in your way back? 'Tis a melancholly daub, my Lord ; not one principle of the pyramid in any one group! And what a price ! For there is nothing of the coloring of Titian--the expression of Rubens--the grace of Raphael—the purity of Dominichino the corregiosvity of Corregithe learning of Poussin---the airs of Guido--the taste of the Carrachis or the grand contour of Angelo!
Grant me patience ! Of all the cants which are canted, in this canting world--though the cant of hypocrisy may 6e the worst—the cant of criticism is the most torment
I would go fifty miles on foot, to kiss the hand of that man, whose generous heart will give up the reins of his imagination into his author's hands, be pleased, he knows not why, and cares not wherefore.
XII.--Parallel between Pope and Dryden^—Johvsos.
IN acquired knowledge the superiority must be allowed to Dryden, whose education was more scholastic, and who, before he became an author, had been allowed more time for study, with better means of information. His mind has a larger range, and he collects his images and illustrations from a more extensive circumference of science. Dryden knew more of man, in his general nature ;
and Pope in his local manners. The notions of Dryden were formed by comprehensive speculation ; those of Pope, by minute attention. There is more dignity in the knowledge of Dryden, and more certainty in that of Pope.
Poetry was not tlie sole praise of either ; for both ex. celled likewise in prose : But Pope did not borrow his prose from his predecessor. The style of Dryden is capricious and varied ; that of Pope is cautious and uniform : Dryden obeys the inotions of his own mind ! Pope constrains his mind to his own rules of composition. Dryden is sometimes vehement and rapid ; Pope is always smooth, uniform and gentle. Dryden's page is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation ; Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by the scythe, and levelled by the roller.
Of genius--that power that constitutes a poet ! that quality, without which judgment is cold and knowledge is inert ; that energy which collects, combines, amplifies and animates the superiority must, with some hesitation, be allowed to Dryden. It is not to be inferred, that of this poetical vigor, Pope had only a little, because Dryden had more ; for every other writer, since Milton, must give place to Pope ; and even of Dryden it must be said, that if he lias brighter paragraphs, he has not better poems. Dryden's performances were always hasty ; either excited by some external occasion, or extorted by domestic necessity; he composed without consideration, and published without correction. What his mind could supply at call, or gather in one excursion, was all that he sought, and all that he gave. The dilatory caution of Pope enabled him to condense his sentiments, to multiply his images, and to accumulate all that study misht produce, or chance might supply. If the flights of Dryden therefore are higher, Pope continues longer on the wing. If of Dryden's fire the blaze is brighter ; of Pope's the heat is more regular and constant. Dryden often surpasses expectation, and Pope never falls below it. Dryden is read with frequent astonishment, and Pope with perpetual delight.
XIII.--Story of Le Fcvre.—Sterne. IT was sometime in the summer of that year in which Dendermond was taken by the allies, when my uncle Toby was one evening getting his supper, with Trim sitting behind him, af' a small sideboard I say sittingfor in consideration of the corporal's lame knee (which sometimes gave him exquisite pain) when my uncle Toby dined or supped alone, he would never suffer the corporal to stand : And the poor fellow's veneration for. his master" was such, that, with a proper“ artillery, my uncle Toby could have taken Dendermond itself, with less trouble than he was able to gain this point over him ; for many a time when my uncle Toby supposed the corporal's leg was at rest, he would look back, and detect him standing behind him, with the most dutiful respect; this bred more little squabbles betwixt them than all other causes, for five and twenty years together.
He was one evening sitting thus at his supper; when the landlord of a little inn in the village came into the parlor, with an empty phial in his hand, to beg a glass or two of sack: 'Tis for a poor gentleman—I think of the army, said the landlord, who has been taken 'ill at my house four days ago, and has never held up his head since, or had a desire to taste any thing till just now, that he has a fancy for a glass of sack, and a thin toast. "1think," says he, taking his hand from his forehead It would comfort me."'
—If I could neither beg, borrow, not“ buy such a thing—added the landlord—I would almost steal it for the poor gentleman, he is so ill.—I hope he will still mend, continued he we are all of us concerned for him.
Thou art a good natured soul, I will answer for thee, cvied my uncle Toby; and thou shalt drink the poor gentleman's health in a glass of sack thyself and take a couple of bottles with my service, and tell him he is heartily welcome to them, and to a dozen more, if they will do him good.
Though I am persuaded, said my uncle Toby, as the landlord shut the door, he is a very compassionate fellow, Trimm-yet I cannot help entertaining a high opinion of his guest too; there must be something more than common in him, that, in so short a time, should win so much upon the affections of his host. And of his whole family, added the corporal, for they are all concerned for him. Step after him, said my uncle Toby do Trim, and ask if he knows his name.
I have quite forgot it, truly, said the landlord, coming back into the parlor with the corporalbut I can ask his son again.--Has he a son with him, then ? said my uncle Toby. A boy, replied the landlord, of about eleven or twelve years
of age ;--but the poor creature has tasted almost as little as his father ; he does nothing but mourn and lament for him night and day. He has not stirred from the bed side these two days.
My uncle Toby laid down his knife and fork, and thrust his plate from before him, as the landlord gave him the account : And Trim, without being ordered, took them away, without saying one word, and in a few minutes after brought him his pipe and tobacco.
Trim ! said my uncle Toby, I have a project in my head, as it is 'a bad night, of wrapping myself up warm in my roquelaure, and paying a visit to this poor gentle
Your honor's roquelaure, replied the corporal, has not once been had on since the night before your honor received your wound, when we mounted guard in the trenches before the gate of St. Nicholas ;—and besides it is so cold and rainy a night, that, what with the roquelaure, and what with the weather, it will be enough to give your honor your death. I fear so, replied my uncle Toby ; but I am not at rest in my mind, Trim, since the account the landlord has given me I wish I hari not known so much of this aftaii—added by uncle Ta