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that undeniable authority and weight, nothing else than a lamb led out to which nothing can question or with the slaughter, for the purpose of trystand. Had he been, perhaps, a little ing the sharpness of his knife; or an less prejudiced, and a little more largely anvil, by frequently striking which gifted with that fine feeling, which is his commentator might elicit scintilla. as necessary to form a great critic as a tions and sparkles of his own. If he great poet, he would certainly have ever shines, it is always at the expense been entitled to take a higher place in of his author. He seems utterly inthe province of criticism than any man capable of entering into the spirit of who went before, or shall hereafter his text of identifying himself with succeed him. Of this true taste, in his subject-of losing his own indiviWarburton there was a most lament- duality and consequence in his author able deficiency: with an equal lack of and his author's beauties. He had the more delicate and imaginative qua none of that true and refreshing spirit lifications for critical judgment, he of criticism, which pours
down a possessed none of that sound discrimi- fresh radiance on the withering beaunative power, and unerring rectitude ties of antiquity, and discloses new of tact, which so eminently distin. graces wherever its illuminating reguished Johnson. The bias of his splendences are thrown, and which, mind in criticism seems totally per- like the skilful varnisher of some anverted and warped, and the obliquity cient painting, renews and renovates, of his critical judgment is often as un- in the subject, its brilliancy and richaccountable as it is amazing. A great ness of colouring, without altering the part of this is owing to the bigotted character of its loveliness, or impairadherence which he placed in the sys- ing the symmetry of its proportions. tems of the French critics, so popular With the power of wit, both were in England in the beginning of the almost equally gifted ; and the precise last century; and a much greater, to nature and description of that wit was his own unconquerable propensity for in both pretty nearly the same. It adjusting and fashioning every thing was not that delicately gentle and reaccording to the decrees of some stan- fined species which distinguished Addard hypothesis which had taken pos- dison, and which gave an almost evasession of his mind, and on which, nescent air to the humour of his pages like the bed of Procrustes, he racked - but that coarse and forcible strength and tortured every unfortunate sub- of wit, or rather humour, which it is ject, till he had reduced it, by a pro- impossible to withstand, and which cess of dislocation, into some conform breaks upon an adversary as a torrent ity with his theories. His fondness impetuous and overwhelming-absofor Dr Bentley, and Dr Bentley's style lutely stunning and confounding with of criticism, was also another draw, its vehemence, its energy, and its force. back in his qualifications : from him Those who wish to see this species of he derived that inextinguishable rage wit in its highest perfection, cannot for emendation, which has descended, be better referred than to the controlike the prophet's mantle, from critic versial writings of Warburton, or of to critic in succession ; and, indeed, Dr Bentley, from whom Warburton what Bentley has performed upon adopted his style in controversy. It Milton, Warburton has no less scru was this overflowing and vigorous pospulously performed upon Shakspeare, session of wit which rendered John, though perhaps, with much more son so powerful in conversation, and acuteness and ingenuity, in the exer- enabled Warburton in controversy to cise of his editorial capacity. For defy the hosts of enemies who assailed wanting this emendatory ardour-or, him. Of those enemies, many were as he would call it, this critical vous comme more exactly learned as to the point in he despised Dr Johnson; though, for question than himself-many equally his superabundance of it, Dr Johnson sound reasoners-and, what is of no might much more justly have despised small advantage in reasoning, had a him. To Warburton, criticism was much better cause to defend, but they little else than ingenuity in inventing were all in the end worsted, defeated, fresh varieties of the text, and dexte and put to flight, by the auxiliary sallies rity and plausibility in their explana- of his wit, which came forth in vollies tion. An author, chosen for the sub as unexpected as they were irresistible. ject of critical illustration, was to brim That this species of wit should frc
quently be coupled with scurrility, perception of harmony in sound, or was what might readily be anticipated melody in versification. His transla-it was totally destitute of delicacy, tions are merely the productions of a and had no refinement or polish. It school-boy, and such productions as perhaps cannot better be described, many a school-boy would be ashamed than by comparing it with the wit of to own. He seems to have possessed Addison, to which it was, in all its no ear attuned to the harmony of numshapes, totally dissimilar. The one bers—no fondness for the music of was a weapon infinitely more power rhyme, or the march of periods. In ful-though the other required much this department of genius, therefore, more of dexterity and science in its he was utterly inferior to Johnson, application. The former was much who, if he did not possess the fine eye more the instrument of a barbarian- and highest exaltation of a poet, could the latter of a civilized combatant. clothe every subject he descanted upon The one was more fitted for the lighter with sonorous grandeur of verse, and skirmishes of intellectual warfare, and gorgeous accompaniments of fancy. softened courtliness of social inter In the beauty of style, and the or
-the other more adapted for naments of language, Johnson, it is those contests, where no quarter is well known, was most immeasurably given, and no indulgence is expected. superior. His writings have given an În the one, wit was so highly polished, increase of correctness and purity, a as frequently to lose its effect-in the transfusion of dignity and strength to other, it was often so coarse and per our language, which is unexampled sonal, as to defeat its very purpose. in the annals of literature, and which In the one, it is the arch smile of con- corrected, in their influence on our temptuous scorn-in the other, the dialect, the diffused tameness of loud horse-laugh of ferocious defiance. Addison, and the colloquialism of The one was more fitted for the castic Swift. Whatever nearer approaches gation of manners—the other better have been made to perfection in our adapted for the concussion of minds. language, have all been established on The wit of the former was, like the the foundation of his writings; and, missile of the Israelite, often over- perhaps, it would not be exceeding coming, from the skill with which it the bounds of justice to affirm, that was thrown and that of the latter, more is due to him in the refinement the ponderous stone of Ajax laid hold of the English tongue, than to any of with extraordinary strength, and man in any language or in any counpropelled with extraordinary fury. In try, with the single exception of Ci. short, the wit of Addison, when com
If his own style itself is not pared with that of Warburton and the best model in our language, it is Johnson, was what the polished sharp- from it certainly that the
best model ness of the rapier is to the ponderous must be formed; and, whoever shall weight of the battle-axe, or as the inno- in the end attain that summit of percuous brilliancy of the lightning, to the fection, it will be from the copious overpowering crash of the thunderbolt. fountain of Johnson that his materials
In poetical genius and capability, it must be supplied. Of the graces and would perhaps be unfair to compare elegancies of diction, Warburton, on them. What Warburton has written the contrary, had no conception: his in verse, was merely the first juve thoughts were turned out in the nile trying of his pen, and therefore dress which lay nearest to his hand; hardly could hope to rival the mature and often their multiplicity was too and laboured poetical compositions of great to allow him time to find for Johnson ; yet we may doubt whether, each a proper and suitable covering of if Warburton had written more of expression. To harmony in the strucpoetry, he would have written better, ture of cadences, or splendour in the or ever risen above mediocrity in the finishing of sentences, he was utterly efforts of poetical talent. Of those void of pretension, and was, moreover, higher qualifications of imagination totally destitute of the power of seand sensibility, which every true poet lection or choice of words. Yet, he inust possess, he was, as well as John- cannot justly be accused of neglect or son, utterly destitute; but he had not, contempt of the beauties of style, for like Johnson, a mind stored with a no one altered more incessantly, or rich fund of poetical images, or a nice altered to less purpose, than Warbur
ton. In one of his letters, he acknown sentence. In both, the style doubtless ledges, that there are many thousand took its tincture from the peculiar corrections and alterations merely of complexion of their minds; and while language in the second edition of his in the one it swelled into majestic Julian ; and, to my own knowledge, elegance and dignified strength, in there are no less than 20,000 verbal the other, it broke out into uncouth corrections in the several editions of harshness, and uncultivated force. his Divine Legation, almost every one In extent of learning, in profundity of which has no other) effect than to and depth of erudition, Warburton render that worse which before was may justly claim the superiority. Nobad. He compared himself, in his thing more illustrates the different alterations, to the bear who licks into characters of these great men, than form its shapeless offspring : but, with the different manner in which their little felicity of comparison, for his reading was applied. In Johnson, alterations, though they always bring acquired learning became immediately down and reduce to tameness the ori transmuted into mind-it immediateginal nervous force of the expression, ly was consubstantiated with its rehave seldom the effect of adding to ceiver ; it did not remain dormant, like its elegance or removing its infirmi- a dull and inert mass in the intellect, ties. Very different, in this respect, unaltered and unalterable, but enterwas Johnson's character in writing, ed, if I may use the expression, into who is, like Shakspeare, hardly ever the very core and marrow of the known to have altered or corrected mind, and became a quality and his productions after publication ; and adjunct of the digestive power ; it whose mastery of diction was such, was instantaneously concocted into that it immediately brought, at his intellectual chyle – his mind had command, the best and most appro- more the quality of a grinding enpriate language which 'his subject re- gine, than a receiver ; every partiquired. The answering power of his cle it absorbed became instinct with expression, were always exactly propor- vital life-like the power of flame it tioned to the demand of his thought: consumed all approximating substanthere is never any incongruity of this ces. In Warburton, the power of kind perceptible in his writings ; what digestion was certainly disproportionhe thought strongly, he could expressed to the insatiability of appetite:forcibly and well ; and what he had what he could not retain, he was once written, became fixed, and fixed, therefore obliged immediately again because it was impossible for altera- to eject, and he did again eject it, but tion to improve, or correction to not in its received and original state, amend it. The greatest fault, per- but altered in its outward form and haps, in his style, is the want of semblance, and mouldered up into flexibility--the want of variety adapt- some glittering and fantastical hypoed for every varying occasion: it was thesis, some original and more allurtoo uniform to alter-it was too stiff ing shape, as different from its first to bend-its natural tone was too high condition as is from the crawling caterto admit of a graceful descent-the pillar the butterfly, which expands same was the expression, and the its golden wings in the air. The desame the pompousness of language, fects of his digestive faculty, were whether he descanted as a moralist, amply supplied by his power of assior complained as an advertiser: whe- milation, which, spiderlike, had the ther he weighed in his balance the faculty of weaving innumerable webs intellects of Shakspeare and Milton, and phantasms out of the matter or denounced, with threats of punish- which was presented to it, and disment, against the person or persons, guising and recasting into some other unknown, who had pirated a paper outwardappearance those morsels which of his Idler. In Warburton's diction, were too hard to retain, and too ponwhich was uniformly faulty, it is derous to swallow. Such indeed was needless to expatiate on any particu- the voracity of his appetite, that he lar faults; we may, however, men- refused nothing which offered itself; tion that it was overrun with foreign and the wide gulf of his intellectual idioms, and exotic phraseology, and appetite, often reminds us of the Boa that it particularly abounds in Galli- Constrictor, after it has swallowed the cisms, which almost disgrace every Rhinoceros, as it lies in gorged and
torpid fulness, stretched out in all its ment; and what he had once learned, giant length on the ground. This dif- his judgment was too sound to per- , ference in the perception and appli- mit him to warp, and his love of cation of knowledge, was distinguishe truth too great to allow him to con« 4 able in every production of these ceal. great men; it is perceptible from their In private life, the character of Warearlier works to their latest, and being burton was distinguished by the same occasioned by the peculiar construc- kind of bold openness and unshrinktion and formation of their mental ing cordiality; the same livid warmth faculties, it formed the character of in his enmities and friendships; and their minds; and, therefore, conti- the same impatient haughtiness and nued, without receiving alteration, from dogmatical resolution which stood their first years of authorship to their forth displayed in his writings. No last. In Johnson, therefore, learning, one communicated to his productions when received, might more properly more of his own personal character, be called knowledge; it was stripped or drew his own full length so admiof its superfluous and unnecessary rably in his works. After a perusal parts-it was winnowed of its chaff, of what he has written, his character and deposited in the receptacles of lies in all its native colours before our thought, while, in Warburton, it was eyes, and we hardly want the intilike clay thrown into a mould ready macy of a personal acquaintance to be prepared for it, for the purpose of fully and thoroughly masters of his forming materials for building up to peculiarities. What he thought, he their measureless height the countless dauntlessly and fearlessly expressed. edifices of his fancy.
Disguise he hated, and subterfuge he In that practical knowledge of, and despised. He who was the enemy of insight into human nature, which Warburton, was sure of bold, honest
, forms the chief qualification for the and manly hostility ; he who was his moralist, and the writer on men and friend was equally certain of the full manners, Johnson was greatly supe- participation of all the benefits of asrior to Warburton. The former had sistance and protection. It was one acquired his knowledge in the tutor- of his maxims, both in his public and ing school of adversity; and the long private character, “He who is not with and dreary probation he had to serve me is against me.' He hated a neubefore he attained to competence and tral worse even than an enemy; to success, had given him a sound and him indifference was worse than depiercing view into life and human na- cided dislike ; imperturbable placidity ture, while the haughtiness of the more disagreeable than a storm. Pass latter formed a kind of circle about over his opinions or bis productions him, which prevented his mingling without giving any decided opinion as with the crowd, and deriving, by unia to their justice or their merits, and versal converse and acquaintance, an he would immediately number you universal and comprehensive known amongst the list of his foes, and let ledge of man. He was also a moreloose upon you all the torrent of his prejudiced and less unbiassed specta- mingled scurrility and wit. This fertor of mankind, continually referring vid warmth of temper frequently overtheir causes of action, not to the ac- powered the cooler dictates of his reaknowledged principles of experience, son, and to this we may perhaps asbut to some pre-conceived and ready- cribe that high and overstrained excess fashioned theory of his own, with of praise which he showered down which he made every deduction to upon the productions of his friends; square in and quadrate, and to whose for of flattery we cannot justly accuse decision he referred the settlement of him: he would have disdained what he all the various anomalies and pheno- conceived implied fear. One exception, mena which distract the inquirer into however, must be made to this rea human nature. Otherwise was the mark, and that is, the case of Bishop knowledge of Johnson formed. He Sherlock, whom, during his life, War. was no speculatist in his views of burton extravagantly praised, and, afmankind; what he had learned, he ter the death of that prelate, not only learned from practical experience ; expunged from his writings every sylcommented upon with extraordinary lable of commendation, but paraacuteness and penetration of discern- graphed him in the Dunciad of his
Thorja duces us to like him in spite of our-
that pe culty was a fiery and ungovernable vi- the ocean, till necessity drove it out
a bad os Divine Legation with the utmost con- ple of action, which required contoost tumely and contempt. For neglect tinually some fresh matter to work and I of his clerical duties, Warburton has on-some fresh subject to exercise its allow kit been lashed by the unsparing hand of power-some new and untried space.
a relentless satirist, whose pictures are to perambulate and to pass through : E characei often less of true resemblances than it was an ever-working and operating ished by a hideous caricatures; but the suffrages faculty, an ever-moving and resisting es and I of many must overpower the testimony principle, which it was impossible to same it! of one; and it has been almost uni tire or tame. There was nothing like
versally agreed, that in the discharge rest or slumber about it: it could not E hangia of the social relations of life, his con- stagnate ; it could not stop: it was imon the duct was equally faultless and exem- possible to weaken its energies, or to his wife plary. The character of Johnson has contract their operation. No matter to his pas been so often pourtrayed, and, through was too tough for its force, no metal personal a the admirable delineations of his bio- too unmalleable for its strokes. Il lengur graphers, is now so well known, that it Such was the elasticity of its con. After would be useless to attempt to de- stitution, that it could not be broken ; atten
, hia scribe it. He had certainly more has such was its innate and surpassing recolours a bitual reverence for what he conceived sistibility of temperament, that it could dly wants to be truth; was more rigid in his not be overwhelmed. Entangle it with aequate morality, more fervid in his piety, subtleties, and it immediately snapt hly mass than Warburton. He had not less asunder its bonds, as Sampson burst at he da perhaps of pride and haughtiness, but the encoinpassing cords of the PhilisFearlessly a
a his pride was more lofty, his haughti- tine. Bury it with learning, and it and sube ness more independent." He could not immediately mounted up with the ) was tie a bend to greatness, nor stoop to rise as brilliancy and rapidity of a sky-rocket, ure of bil Warburton certainly could do, and and scattered about it sparks and Y; he vil sometimes did. His character, while scintillations, which lightened the ceran d' it was much more dignified than that whole atmosphere of literature. It the bezes of Warburton, had not the same mix was this volatility of spirit, this forcition, liture of impetuosity and warmth, and ble and indomitable action of mind, o in bis pa thus he was prevented from falling into this never-tiring and never-weakening He wüy those excesses which the former could intellectual energy, this bounding and
He bu hardly avoid. Both had a certain por- unceasing mental elasticity, which In 23 tk tion of intolerance in their dispositions, serves to distinguish Warburton not
work but in Johnson that intolerance was only from Dr Johnson, but also from turbakka exerted against the oppugners of that all the characters who have ever ap7 2 stos creed he had received from others, peared in literature; and it is to the bis a while in Warburton it was directed self-corroding effect of these qualities, zidel against the questioners of theories of that his alienation of mind at the lata ir : his own.
In the one, it was prejudice ter period of his life is undoubtedly smus unmixed-in the other, it was always to be attributed. Este prejudice co-operating with vanity. The mind of Johnson, on the con
Upon the whole, perhaps, the charac- trary, was utterly devoid of all that si I ter of Warburton, notwithstanding its intellectual activity and elasticity curl dictating and dogmatical insolence, which Warburton possessed. There tes dl was the most attracting of the two, was about it an habitual and dogged
There is, notwithstanding all its ef- sluggishness, an inert and listless torstri fervescences and excesses, a generous por, a reluctance to call forth its enerhores fervour, a kindliness of soul, an en- gies and exercise its powers; it slumni is thusiastic warmth about it, which in- bered, but its slumbers were those of
a giant. With more of positive force isduzik selves, and to which we can forgive when called into action, it had not
Do whatever is disgusting in his scurrili- the same principle of motion, the made wyty or revolting in his pride.
same continual beat, the same sleepTo bring my observations on the less inquietude and feverish excite
It lay there like the leviato display the magnitude of his