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Wyat.— I never wrote but from my heart, I never conjured up facti. tious sentiments for the occasion.
Daniel.He must be a very stupid reader who cannot distinguish the sincere from the factitious. All in composition that is factitious ought to be cleared away as waste paper.
Warton.-There are those who pretend that it is not so easy to make this distinction. It might as well be said that it is difficult to distinguish the paper rose of a flower-maker from the living one just plucked from the stem.
Davies - What is this moral sensitiveness, so acute and copious in some; so faint and acid in others ?
Daniel.— There is an innate consciousness of right and wrong-of the fair and the ugly–dispensed in different degrees to mankind at their birth, and a sympathy, of a stronger or weaker kind, with the sorrows or misfortunes of others. When this is combined with a powerful and active intellect, it breaks out in moral reflections ; the internal emotions are relieved by this vent.
Wyat.-Lord Surry had more passion and imagery than I had, my pathos was more intellectual. Indeed, there was a great deal of moral and didactic thought in the fashionable poetry of the day, as Tottel's Miscellany shews.
Warton.-My taste rather led me to imagery.' I was willing to enjoy all that was tranquil and beautiful in the material world; and have as little as possible to do with mental distresses.
Davies. -Our feelings are not at our command. What nature has fitted our minds to be impressed with, will have its operation.
Warton.-Then I am grateful that I was made as I was. Lamenta. tion over human evils will not lessen them; we may be allowed to escape from what we cannot cure or soften.
Daniel.-Yes, but does not this lead us sometimes to escape from what we can cure or soften ?
Wyat.-And do we not lose the great sources of the sublime, and pathetic, in which literary genius exhibits itself most powerfully? Is it not thus that we are best enabled
“To ope the source of sympathetic tears ? " Warton.—Perhaps you will say then that I tended a little too much to the factitious; for the fables and manners of Chivalry and Romance can hardly be said to be otherwise than factitious.
Daniel.-Whatever you brought forward and dilated upon, was done with so much loveliness, classicality, condition, and elegance, that we cannot pronounce it factitious; but you did not deal much with the general passions of mankind. In a state of ease and seclusion you knew no violent tempests and dangers,
Wyat.-This state, however, has its inconveniences and evils ; tempests sometimes are necessary to purify the heavy air. Ease collects morbid humours; and men often become stupified, and then die from stagnated blood. None know the pleasure of rest, but those who have laboured hard ; nor of security, but those who have been in peril.
Davies.—I too well know by my own experience, that nothing is more destructive to enjoyment than indolence. Adventures, exertion, and variety, give spirits to the mind, and health to the body.
Warton.—Luckily my temper was tranquil, and my literary curiosity and the opportunity of gratifying it, always kept me upon the alert.
Daniel.--I saw something of greatness in its interior, and saw enough of unhappiness, to load my heart with melancholy. I saw lustre of birth, loftiness of heart, beauty of person, nobleness of intellect, and grandeur of possession, afflicted in the youthful face of Lady Anne Clifford, and I said to myself, how empty then is human prosperity, and the favour of a splendid lot.
Warton.—Why did you not then retire, shut out the world, and spend your life tranquilly in literature, as I did ?
Daniel.—The stings of regret were upon me; remembrances, which I could not efface, haunted me. There were barbed arrows fixed in my heart.
Warton.-Would not your moral philosophy have healed your wounds ?
Daniel.-I learned from a sight of the misery of greatness, to melt still more deeply at the sorrows of all. But yet, in the composition of my Moral Epistles, I found a charm which did, in some degree, mellow and sooth my grief. We teach the bosom to swell with an enduring courage, by lofty reflections and eloquent appeals to the best sympathies of others.
Davies.-When days and years pass over us, without having brought forward and embodied our early visions, we grow discontented with ourselves, and lose our self-complacence.
Warton.— I must appeal again to the varieties dispensed by nature ; the discipline will do something. A country rectory might be made a happy life to a literary man, though not as it is generally managed. He must not have his wishes always pining after preferment; he must resolutely abandon all regard to the show of life; he must lift his mind above any notice of the petty airs of rural rank, wealth, and impertinence; he must resolutely refuse association with those whose fuller purses enable them to indulge in greater Juxuries; he must avoid those whose unpolished minds cause irritation and disgust; and he must keep up the dignity of his profession and his mental acquirements.
Davies. This advice is easy to be given, but not easy to be followed. Our little human passions, and frailties, and weaknesses, may be conquered, but the struggle will be severe, and the success uncertain. Literature is apt to increase our sensibilities, even to disease, and it requires a stubborn magnanimity to put up with all the impertinences of vulgar wealth or rank, when the multitude are sure to take part with “ might against right.” Then, what is more difficult to endure, than to be sinking from the rank and companions among whom one was born ?
Daniel. These are difficulties and mortifications ; but what station of life, or lot of fortune in humanity, is free from severe sorrows and evils ?
Warton.— I was always surprised that so few of the clergy betook themselves to literature, when the necessary course of their lives gave them so many hours of leisure and quiet. This led me to suppose that the qualifications for authorship, if not for reading, were more rarely bestowed, than at first appeared probable. The apprehension which receives, and the memory which repeats, are common; but the fructifying power which adds, and the imagination which combines anew, are rare. In drawing from nature, common minds have not the talent of selecting features so as to form a picture ; then, their own emotions are too unmarked, and the visions that flit before them are too dim to be embodied and reflected. But persons thus educated might at least learn, if they could not teach. They might make theinselves masters of what books could convey.
Wyat.- Books have been multiplied since my time to an innumerable extent; but we had then a sufficiency. I believe that sound knowledge has not much increased with the increase of volumes.
Daniel.--You had not then the rich and diversified fictions of Spenser, nor the unrivalled inventions of Shakespeare.
Dames-Nor the divine poem of Milton.
Warton.-But you had Dante and Petrarch, who were sufficient to set light to the genius of any poetical mind. But I am speaking of the modern ciergy; books enough are certainly at their command. If they have not fire enough to enter into the fields of poetry, the fields of laborious erudition are open to them.
Durres, - Literature was my consolation in a remote obscurity : but till Geort Hardinge, with the ardour with which he embraced whatever he engaged in, undertook to revive my memory, literature had failed to bear me abroid on the wings of fame. Hardinge's father, Nicholas, was my intimate and early friend; but I need not speak of one, whose own merits were so well appreciated, and whose elegant classicality was rarely surpassed.
Damel.-I hear that my name has been honoured and praised by the flattering notice of Wordsworth and Southev.
Wartın. What they have said of you has reached me. It is worthy of their great taste, and your solid, instructive, and affecting genius,
Tarus, - And Mr. Dyce has re printed your poems, Sir Thomas, in his cleant Aldine edition.
Hyat.--My name is now forgotten in a country where it flourished for so many us, and which no longer respects literature as it used to do; where the glorious male lines of Sackville. Sydinry, Sindys, and Dinkes, have, with most of their property, departed, as mine has done. A country once so marked in history, to be now so obscure and dispirited! The fragments of my old castle remain, but they are fallen, fallen, fallen, and neglected.
Warton, I hope that I have not failed to do you justice in my History of English Poetry. I lament that I did not compose, at least, a sonnet on your venerable Castle of Allington, on the Medway. You know that nothing delighted my imagination like those frudal ruins. I had arrayed in my inind all the pictures, and all the memorials of cistellated, chivalrous, and ecclesiastical plunder: I was a master of all the rich ornaments, and all the details of Gothic and Baronial Architecture. Never was any other mode of building so calculated to strike the fancy. The painted windows, the blase of heraldry, the ponnons, the shields, the spears, the swords, the tombs, the recumbant figures in their gorgeous coats of mail, wluat legend: they told, with what feats they filled the busy imagination.
Thoniel. I saw those days passing away b. fore my eyes, but not gone. I saw Essex, and Sydney, and ('umberland, and Devonshire, go to their graves; and I saw a Monarch who shrunk from a drawn sword, which a woman had waved in glory. I saw Spenser perish in poverty, and broken-hearted ; and I saw Raleigh imprisoned, tried for bis life, and attainted. The character of the poetry, and whole national literature, changed with the character of the court.
Warton.-So it will too commonly happen. George III. had no feel. ing for poetry; and thus, poetry had little encouragement to blaze out while I lived. Little attention was paid to my Laureate Odes; and thus, I produced them lazily, unwillingly, and languidly.
Daniel.-Neglect did not oppress me; I wrote as vigorously as I could, to the last.
Wyat.-And naked vigour was the character of your Moral Epistles.
Sir PHILIP SYDNEY, EDWARD VERE EARL OF OXFORD, LORD Falk
LAND, LORD BOLINBROKE, AND LORD CASTLEREAGH.
Sydney.—Why do you look so fierce and insolent at me, as you did formerly on earth ?
Oxford.—I cannot efface the remembrance how you braved me!
Sydney.---The insult came from you. I respected high birth, and the dignity of the ancient peerage; and I respected your talents and accomplishments; but your treatment of me forced me to look into myselfmy own character, and my own blood.
Oxford.—You threw your feathers in my face.
Sydney.—Any small reputation I might have gained, was won by labour and perils.
Oxford.–And were these undergone by none but yourself?
Sydney.--I had served her Majesty with devotion, and my father and grandfather had served her family before me!
Oxford.—For many centuries had my ancestors served royalty in the highest stations.
Sydney.-I am not calling in question the splendour of your lordship’s venerable lineage. I was not attacking you; I was only defending my
Oxford.—I was not used to be braved; and I am conscious of a haughty temper.
Sydney.-I cultivated mildness and courtesy with the sincerest endeavours; and the public gave me credit for not having been unsuccessful : but it was a part of the character instilled into me both by nature and education, firmly to resist all unmerited affronts. You alluded, with contempt, to my descent: I lived in an age when this could not be borne, if my blood was not obscure; and I could not but be conscious that it was the reverse. The Sydneys were an ancient and honourable race, though not noble like the Veres : and my mother's blood was of the very highest. The Dudleys, the Beauchamps, and the Talbots, involved all the old peerage, besides intermarriages with the Royal House of Plantagenet.
Oxford.-1 allowed of no comparison as fair, unless it was confined to the male line.
Falkland.—This was an idle dispute, and an ungenerous insult on your Lordship's part. You ought to have known that greatness must be tried by mind and heart.
Oxford.—Lord Falkland, I know your amiable character, great accomplishments, devoted bravery, and lamented fate, and shall be unwilling to controvert any opinion you may express.
Falkland.-I was used to controversy, and would ask nothing to be admitted that did not stand upon reason.
Oxford.—But there are opinions which must merely rest on sentiment.
Falkland.—Then Sydney was the spirit of glorious sentiment per: sonified !
Oxford.--I know not by what magic this rival has enchanted all hearts and eyes.
Falkland.—It is magic of which the force can only be derived from truth.
Sydney.--I would not have this earthly contest between us kept up here. It was soon forgotten by me, though it seems to have cankered in the mind of Lord Oxford. We ought to be spirits personified here.
Oxford.-Providence did not give me easy temper, nor gentle passions. My fortunes went wrong and embittered my feelings.
Falkland.—It was not all smooth with Sydney in his earlier days. His father, Sir Henry, knew the perplexity of state-affairs, and the painful embarrassments of pecuniary scantiness; and his mother's house had suffered attainder and death on the scaffold. Do not, therefore, attribute the sweetness of his temper to a prosperous fortune !
Sydney.—I was naturally melancholy, and difficult in pleasing my own conscience ; whatever may have gained the world's applause, resulted from an earnest desire to do my duty, and fearless self-devotion. I loved famemperhaps too fondly ;--but I sought fame only from good actions.
Oxford.-He who wishes to please all, must dilate many of his most virtuous energies.
Sydney.--I knew firmness and indignation in their proper places. Bolinbroke.—You were not happy, after all ?
Sydney.-It was not intended that we should be happy;--but I think I was often comparatively so.
Bolinbroke.—There are many false enthusiasms which lead us to sacrifice ourselves unnecessarily.
Falkland.—How are we to determine what is a false enthusiasm ; and what is an unnecessary sacrifice ? No sacrifice in a good cause is unnecessary ; nor the enthusiasm that prompts to it, false.
Bolinbroke.—It is all a delusion; and he who plays his game with most art, does best.
Falkland.—These are ungenerous and ignoble opinions.
Bolinbroke." Qui vult decipi decipiatur ?"—We had a right to feed the folly of mankind for our own advantage. If they choose to be caught by bells and feathers, let them be caught! I enjoyed fame, because it gave me power; and power, because it enabled me to indulge my own appetites. The world is too ungrateful to make any return for benefits, which shall counterbalance sufferings and privations.