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Image tho' 'twere fixty Cubits high? But of all fort of Flattery, that which comes from a folemn Character, and stands before a Sermon, is the worst complexion'd. Such Commendation is a Satyr upon the Author, makes the Text look Mercenary, and difables the Difcourfe from doing Service.
Crit. Notwithstanding what you fay, I fuppofe you would have Quality faluted in Terms of Regard: To come on in a levelling way, is more like Invasion than Address: 'Tis to play the Press against the Conftitution, and raise a Battle against a great Man's Castle.
Eulab. I agree with you; but then fuch an Author, especially, fhould take care not to cross upon a known Characer, nor Paint quite out of Likeness: Not to commend a Libertine for his Regularity, nor flourish upon an old Lady's Beauty, and tell her what Execution her Face is likely to do when the comes into the North. If 'tis asked, May not a Man fhelter himself under a great Name, and intrench a little for Security? I know your Anfwer will be, That fuch flender Lines will be easily fill'd up, and are no manner of Defence against the Enemy.
Crit. Right: For, to come out of the Allegory, either the Performance is defenfible or not; if the firft, Protection is needlefs, if the second 'tis infufficient: If a Book has not Senfe enough to make its own way, eis in vain to call in the Affiftance of Quality If a great Man should happen to mifcarry in Print, the Patronage of his Titles would fignify little: In this Cafe he could not cover himself with his Peerage: The Criticks would be fure to prefs through his Privilege, and play their Cenfure upon him: Nero, with all his Legions, could not defend his Fuftian, and ill Poetry, from the Satyr of his Subjects. Upon the whole; if a Man can't be his own Patron, and ftand upon his own Legs, he had better keep clofe, and be quiet: To come abroad like a Cripple, and turn Beggar in the Dedication, is but an odd Contrivance.
Eulab. In my Opinion, as the Fashi on ftands, 'tis no eafy Matter to find out proper Perfons for a Dedication; there being, it may be, not many that either deferve the ufual Commendations, or are willing to go without them. But I forget my felf, and must not detain you from your Company any longer: Pray put them in mind that they manage
fairly, and don't let fly at random, if 'twere only for their own fakes: A Gun over-charg'd, is apt to recoil: He that pronounces without Thought, and cenfures without Reason, makes an unlucky Discovery of himself; and fhews his Ignorance, and lean Temper at the fame time. Adieu.
OWER belongs properly to none but intelligent Beings; and therefore may be defcrib'd a Capacity to remove Impediment, to accomplish Defire, and execute the Orders of the Will. We are powerful only fo far as we can fatisfy our Inclinations. Whenever our Fancy is difobey'd, and our Wishes lie unperform'd; we are pass'd the Limits of our Power, and got out of our Dominions: And here 'tis that the State of Impotence begins. For Defire always proceeds from a Judgment of Advantage; and when the Faculty remains ungratified, 'tis only because the Object hangs out of reach. Power is the general With both of the Good and Bad. But then they differ very much both in the End, and the Means. The latter defire Power to abufe it. To indulge their Vice, to please their Pride, and fwagger over their Neighbours. 'Tis fometimes to make a Figure out of pub
lick Misfortune, and do as much Mifchief as they can think on. This seems to have been fomewhat of Nero's Difpofition: His Empire would have been infipid, had it not made him abfolute in his Frenzy, given him the Opportunity of murthering his Subjects, and fetting his Capital on fire. Then as for the Methods of acquiring this Capacity, they are for the shortest Way: If the Bufinefs lies through Fraud and Rapine, Blood, and Barbarity, they will never drop the Project, but charge thorough. On the other fide, Perfons of Probity wifh their Power enlarg'd, to difcourage Wickedness, to ftop the Progrefs of Injuftice, and help thofe to right that fuffer wrong.
In fhort, their Wish is to oblige the World, and make Happiness univerfal: To proportion Station and Defert, and put Virtue in a Poft of Honour. And then as to the Means; no Suggestions of Intereft, no Pretences of Neceffity, fhall ever make them remove the ancient Land-marks, or break through the Rules of Duty. Befides, they are always moderate and refigned, and acquiefce in the Pleasure of Providence. If 'tis ask'd why Virtue has no larger a Jurifdiction, and why a good With lies