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Elevation of Thought, the greatest qualification requisite to an Orator or Poet, is equally necessary to a Critic, and is the most shining talent in Longinus. Nature had implanted the seeds of it within him, which he himself improved and nursed up to perfection, by an intimacy with the greatest and sublimest writers. Whenever he has Homer in view, he catches his fire, and increases the light and ardor of it. The

The space between heaven and earth marks out the extent of the Poet's genius; but the world itself seems too narrow a confinement for that of the Critic*. And though his thoughts are sometimes stretched to an immeasurable size, yet they are always great without swelling, bold without rashness, far beyond what any other could or durst have said, and always proper and judicious.

As his Sentiments are noble and lofty, so his Style is masterly, enlivened by variety, and flexible with ease. There is no beauty pointed out by him in any other, which he does not imitate, and frequently excel, whilst he is making remarks upon it. How he admires and improves upon Homer, has been hinted already. When Plato is his subject, the words glide along in a smooth, easy, and peaceable

* See Sect. IX. C 2


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flow. When he speaks of Hyperides, he copies at once, his engaging manner, the simplicity, sweetness and harmony of his style. With Demosthenes he is vehement, abrupt, and disorderly regular; he duzzles with his lightning, and terrifies with his thunder. When he parallels the Greek with the Roman Orator, he shews in two periods the distinguishing excellencies of each; the first is a very hurricane, which bears down all before it; the last, a conflagration, gentle in its beginning, gradually dispersed, increasing and getting to such a head, as to rage beyond resistance, and devour all things. His Sense is every where the very thing he would express, and the Sound of his words is an echo to his sense.

His Judgment is exact and impartial, both in what he blames and what he commends. The sentence he pronounces is founded upon and supported by reasons which are satisfactory and just. His approbation is not attended with fits of stupid admiration, or gaping, like an idiot, at something surprising which he cannot comprehend; nor are his censures fretful and waspish. He stings, like the bee, what actually annoys him, but carries honey along with him, which, if it heals not the wound, yet assuages the smart.


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His Candor is extensive as his Judgment. The penetration of the one obliged him to reprove what was amiss; the secret workings of the other bias him to excuse or extenuate it in the best manner he is able. Whenever he lays open the faults of a writer, he forgets not to mention the qualities he had which were deserving of praise. Where Homer sinks into trifles, he cannot help reproving him; but though Homer nods sometimes, he is Homer still ; excelling all the world when broad awake, and in his fits of drowsiness dreaming like a god.

The Good-nature also of Longinus must not pass without notice. He bore an aversion to the sneers and cavils of those who, unequal to the weighty province of Criticism, abuse it, and become its nuisance. Hefrequently takes pains to shew how misplaced their animadversions are, and to defend the injured from aspersions. There is an instance of this in his vindication of Theopompus from the censure of Cecilius*. He cannot endure to see what is right in that author perverted into error; nor where he really errs, will he suffer him to pass unreproved t. Yet here his good-nature exerts itself again, and he proposes divers methods of amending what is wrong.

* Sect. XXXI.

+ Şect. XLIII.

The Judgment and Candor and Impartiality, with which Longinus declares his sentiments of the writings of others, will, I am persuaded, rise in our esteem, when we reflect on that exemplary piece of justice he has done to Moses. The manner of his quoting that celebrated

passage * from him, is as honourable to the critic, as the quotation itself to the Jewish legislator. Whether he believed the Mosaic history of the Creation, is a point in which we are not in the least concerned ; but in was plainly his opinion, that though it be condescendingly suited to the finite concep-. tion of man, yet it is related in a manner not inconsistent with the majesty of God. To contend, as some do, that he never read Moses, is trifling, or rather litigious. The Greek translation had been dispersed throughout the Roman empire, long before the time in which he lived ; and no man of a serious, much less of a philosophical turn, could reject it as unworthy a perusal. Besides, Zenobia, according to the testimony of Photius t, was a Jewish convert. And I have somewhere seen it mentioned from Bellarmine, that she was * Sect. IX. Prefixed to Hudson's Longinus.

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a Christian; but as I am a stranger to the reasons on which he founds the assertion, I shall lay no stress upon

it. But there is strong probability, that Longinus was not only acquainted with the writings of the Old Testament, but with those also of the New, since to a manuscript of the latter in the Vatican library, there is prefixed a passage from some of this author's writings, which is preserved there as an instance of his judgment. He is drawing up a list of the greatest orators, and at the close he says, And further, Paul of Tarsus, the chief sup; porter of an opinion not yet established.Fabricius, I own, has been so officiously kind as to attribute these words to christian forgery,

*, but for what reasons I cannot conjecture. If for any of real weight and importance, certainly he ought not to have concealed them from the world.

If Longinus ever saw any of the writings of St. Paul, he could not but entertain an high opinion of him. Such a judge must needs applaud so masterly an orator. For where is the writer that can vie with him in sublime and puthetic eloquence? Demosthenes could rouse up the Athenians against Philip, and + Blibliotheca Græca, l. 4. c. 31.

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