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speaking of the dormant State of Insects, mentions an Experiments had made, of extending that Period of their Existence far beyond its usual Duration, even to some Years. If this Philosopher could so improve his Experiment, as to make it applicable to his own Species, might not the Discovery be turned to very singular Advantage?
For my own Part, returned Sopbronius, were I Master of such a Secret, I would rather apply it to the mistaken Speculatist, than the falfly ambitious. The Sons of Turbulence can only affect their unfortunate Contemporaries ; and the Mischief they do, generally ends with their Lives. But the Puzzlers and Perverters of Truth and Science are pernicious, perhaps, to several Generations, and disturb the Repose of the World, many Ages after they themselves are removed out of itThe first Essay, I would make of my soporific Art in the literary World, should be upon the Critics, a Tribe of Mortals, in the Republic of Letters, more subversive of its Peace and Interest, than
Hold, good Sopbrtnius! I doubt, your Censure is now growing too general. Some low and petulant Spirits, I confess, have brought a Reproach upon the Name of Critic; but the Art in itself certainly deserves Esteem. No man can possess that Talent in its true Extent, or exercise it to full Advantage, without being Master of something much more valuable than Aristotle or Longinus can teach him. He must have a certain quick Feeling of Delicacy in Arts and Manners; which no Rules will ever be able to impart, where Nature has denied.
Hardly, Pbilocles, will you be able to bring me over to more favourable Sentiments of this Criticscience, by making Delicacy a necesfary Ingredient. For by all that I could ever discover of the true Essence of that Quality, as it is applied either to the Operations of Art, or the Conduct of Manners, it owes its v/hole Existence entirely to Fancy; and when I hear a Man recommended as a Critic of great Delicacy, I immediately conclude him a Person of high Enthusiasm.
Do you really think then, Sopbroniuf, that Delicacy, whether considered as a Faculty of the Mind, or as an Effect of Art, is nothing more than the Raptures of warm Imagination, entirely unsupported by any Principles of Reason r
I will not venture to pronounce, answered Sophronius, of the Clearness of other Men's Ideas; and, perhaps, the nice Refiners in Taste and Genius may have Conceptions, to which common Language cannot supply adequate Terms. But of this I am sure: whenever they talk upon the Subject ; either they resolve Delicacy into a certain Je neseal quoi, or else explain it in so vague and unprecise a Manner, as to leave the Matter absolutely undetirmined, to a Mind that cannot embrace any Principle, but what it clearly apprehends.
However loosely, replied Pbilocles, this Term may have been used heretofore in our Language;
or how much soever it is sometimes depreciated by a mistaken Application both in Writings and Conversation ; yet with the most approved Authors amongst us, it seems now to have obtained a determinate Meaning, and is always mentioned by them as an high Quality, and the finishing Excellence of Composition and Manners.
As no Man, Philodes, is more clear in his Conceptions than yourself; possibly I may receive that Satisfaction from you, which I have in vain sought for elsewhere. Tell me then, I intreat you, wherein this Quality, according to your Notion, consists.
Delicacy, replied Philodes, is good Sense; but good Sense refined; which produces an inviolable Attachment to Decorum, and Sanctity as well as Elegance of Manners, with a clear Discernment and warm Sensibility of whatever is pure, regular, and polite; and, at the fame Time, an Abhorrence of whatever is gross, rustic, or impure,, of unnatural, effeminate, and over wrought Ornaments of every Kind. It is, in short, the graceful and the beautiful added to the just and the good.
According to this Account, siiid Sopbronius Delicacy seems to be exactly the fame Thing, that Urbanity was among the Romans.
"When that illustrious People, answered Phikcles, had spread their military Fame over the World, and subdued all the Nations around; they then turned their Attention to the Embellishments of Life. Their Success was equal to
the the Vigour of their Attempts; and they soon learned to polish their Language, refine their Pronunciation, cultivate Humanity, and adorn their Manners. A Loelius and a Scipio [a] arose, and transplanted liberal Wit from Greece; which astervvards grew and prospered with a Bloom and Vigour scarce inferior to what it drew from its native Soil.
Rome was now become the Seat of Elegance, as well as Empire: nor were her Eagles more dreaded, than her Refinement was admired. The Attainment of these Accomplishments they styled Urbanity; as they were the peculiar Characteristics of the distinguished Inhabitants of this imperial City.
This I take to be the genuine Acceptation of that Word amongst the ancient Romans. It seems to have been confined to the Qualities I have mentioned, and never applied to the fine Arts, as Delicacy is with us, and therefore differs from it only as a Part from the whole.
To admit for the present, faid Sopbrcnius, that all those Ideas are justly comprehended under the Word Delicacy, which you have collected in your Description—Yet by what Criterion is this Pro
[a] Scipio tani elegans Iiberalium artium omnisque doctrinæ et auctor et admirator suit, ut Polybium Panætiumque præcellentes ingenio viros domi miiitiæque secum habuerit. Neque quisquam hoc Scipione elegantius intervalla negotiorura otio disjunxit, semperque inter arma ac studia verfatus, aut corpus periculis, aut aniinuin difeiplinis exercuit.
V. Patekc. 1. i. c. 13.
perty party in any, Subject'to be tried? Tn that Ope^nation- of the Faculties, which we call' Reafoning,. the Mind examines the Objects, as they stand-iiv Reality: and for our Direction; there is always a Standard'iir trie-Nature oP Things; Bur' is- thi» ttte^ Oase wish-regard-ttf what: Connoisseur* call* Amiable or Delicate? Beauty and Pleasure a're'nothingbut an Agreement between the;Object and the Faculty; Wnat then"can determine a-Man's