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hends a large share of them. Yet in all delineations of this sort two things are observable, 1. That in the latter, which are the pure result of our reasonings concerning expediency, common sense, in given conjunctures, often leads to the fame measures : As when Ulyses in Homer disguises himself, for the fake of coming at a more exact information of the state of his fa. mily; or, when Orestes in Sophocles does the fame, to bring about the catastrophe of the EleEira. 2. In respect of the former. (which is of principal consideration) the established modes and practices of life being the proper and only archetype, experience and common obfervation cannot fail of pointing, with the greatest certainty, to them, So that in the one case different writers may concur in treating the same matter ; in the other, they must. But this last will bear a little further illustration.
· The critics on Homer have remarked, - with admiration, in him, the almost infinite
variety of images and pictures, taken from the intire circle of human arts. Whatever the wit of man had invented for the
service service or ornament of society in manual exercises and operations is found to have a place in his writings. Rural affairs, in their several branches; the mechanic, and all the polite arts of sculpture, painting, and architekture, are occasionally hinted at in his poems; or, rather, their various imagery, so far as they were known and practised in those times, is fully and largely displayed. Now this, though it shew the prodigious extent of his observation and diligent curiosity, which could search through all the storehouses and magazines of art, for materials of description, yet is not to be placed to the score of his superior inventive faculty; nor infers any thing to the disadvantage of succeeding poets, whose subjects might oblige them to the same descriptions; any more than his vast acquaintance with natural scenery, in all its numberless appearances, implies a want of genius in later imitators, who, if they ventured, at all, into this province, were con. strained to give us the same unvaried rea presentations.
The truth, as every one sees, is, briefly, this. The restless and inquisitive mind of man had succeeded in the discovery or improvement of the numberless arts of life. These, for the convenience of method, are considered as making a large part of those sensible external effects, which spring from our internal sentiments or reasonings. But, though they ultimately respect those reasonings, as their source, yet they, in no degree, depend on the actual exertion of them in the breast of the poet. He copies only the customs of the times of which he writes, that is, the sensible effeets themselves. These are permanent objects, and may, nay must be the same, whatever be the ability or genius of the copier. In short, taken together, they make up what, in the largest sense of the word, we may call, with the painters, il costumè'; which though it be a real excellence scrupulously to observe, yet it requires nothing more than exact obfervation and historical knowledge of faets to do it. · And now having the various objects of ppetical imitation before us (the greatest
part of which, as appears, must, and the reft may, occur to the observation of the poet) we come to this conclusion, which, though it may startle the parallelist, there seems no method of eluding, “ that of any “ single image or sentiment, considered fe- " parately and by itself, it can never be 6 affirmed certainly, hardly with any shew “ of reason, merely on account of its agree“ ment in subječt-matter with any other, s that it was copied from it.” If there be any foundation of this inference, it must then be laid, not in the matter, but MANNER of imitation. But here, again, the subject branches out into various particulars; which, to be seen distinctly, will demand a new division, and require us to proceed with leisure and attention through it.
The sum of the foregoing article is this. The objeets of imitation, like the materials of human knowledge, are a common stock, which experience furnishes to all men. And it is in the operations of the mind upon them, that the glory of poetry, as of
science, consists. Here the genius of the poet hath room to fhew itself; and from hence alone is the praise of originality to be ascertained. The fondest admirer of ancient art would never pretend that Palledio had copied Vitruvius, merely from his working with the fame materials of wood, ftone, or marble, which this great master had employed before him. But were the general design of these two architects the fame in any buildings; were their choice and arrangement of the smaller members remarkably similar; were their works conducted in the same style, and their ornaments finished in the same taste; every one would be apt to pronounce on first sight, that the one was borrowed from the other. Even a correspondency in any one of these points might create a suspicion. For what likelihood, amidst an infinite variety of me. thods, which offer themselves, as to each of these particulars, that there should be found, without design, a signal concurrence in any one ? It is then in the usage and disposition of the objects of poetry, that we are to seek for proofs and evidences of