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“ July 23, 1797. Read Hurd's Discourse on Poetical Imitation ; a critical disquisition of considerable depth and skill, but debased by a superfluous intricacy and frequent affectation of quaintness. I cannot think that he satisfactorily exculpates Virgil from the charge of borrowing from Homer. Read afterwards his Marks of Imitation, of which the canons are just, but the examples not always convincing. The first Dissertation perhaps would render us too credulous of originality; and the latter, too suspicious of imitation.” P. 38.
“ Sept. 29. Began the second volume of Gibbon's Miscellaneous Works. I was disappointed with his remarks on Hurd's Horace, which, though certainly ingenious, possess little interest, and give no satisfaction. His final sentence on Hurd's Essay on Poetical Imitation, · Mr. • Hurd thinks these circumstances, all or some, necessary
to form a suspicion ; I allow they are very useful to * confirm one,' is pointed and just.” P. 47. “ April 27, 1800. Read again, and with more attention, Hurd's Discourse on Poetical Imitation. He considers what is cailed invention, in criticism, as being in philosophical language, simply an imitation of natural objects ; — that these objects, from which it is the office of genius to select its sentiments and images, fall under the heads, either of 1. the material world; 2. the internal workings or movements of our minds; or 3. those internal operations, that are made objective to sense, by gesture, attitude, or action; and that, being hy the constitution of our common nature, 1. sensible to the same beauties in external ob. jects, 2. subject to the same passions, affections, and sentiments; and 3. expressing our internal feelings by the same outward signs,-mere resemblance in subject-matter
between two single images or sentiments, is no sufficient proof that one was copied from the other. This respects the matter of poetical composition; and with regard to the manner, he thinks that common principles may determine als to adopt, not only the same general form of expression, but even similar constituent members — as episodes, descriptions, and similes; and that peculiarities of expression are the surest tests of imitation. Having thus reduced the criteria for detecting plagiarism, within as narrow a range as possible, he proceeds to vindicate imitation itself by maintaining that we are naturally led to regard the copies rather than the originals; and that the two great faculties, of judgment and invention, are exercised in the highest degree, in selecting from, and improving upon, these. Nothing can equal the exquisite subtlety, which Hurd displays in spinning the texture of his theory : — an awkward assailant would find himself entangled in a web, from which extrication would be rendered hopeless, by the multitude and tenuity and involution of the filmy threads, that compose it. The comparison (1, 1.) of the influence of certain sentiments on the human form, to the gentle breathings of the air on the face of nature, is wonderfully fine, and highly wrought up. Parr's vivid description of the effect of these isolated passages, of bright and unsullied lustre, on his feelings, flashed instantly, and forcibly upon my mind, on the occasion.” P. 217.
[* “The language of Warburton is, I believe, generally allowed to be abrupt, inartificial, and undisciplined; irregular as the mind of the writer,and tinged with many diversified hues, from the rapid and uncertain course of his extensive and miscellaneous reading. As to your Lordship, whatever likeness some prying and morose observers may have traced between “ Oct. 3. 1799. Read the first volume of Hurd's Sermons at Lincoln's Inn." In the 3d he not only maintains that we have a natural sense of right and wrong, independent of all revelation, but insists that without it we could never ascertain whether any revelation were true; and then vindicates Christianity, not simply as useful, from
you and Vertumnus in the versatility of your principles, the comparison must not be extended to the features of your style, concerning which, if we should grant themille ornatus to belong to it, we cannot add, without the grossest hyprocrisy, or the most vitiated taste, mille decenter habet. Let me, however, commend both you and the Bishop of Gloucester, where commendation is due ; and let me bestow it, not with the thrifty and penurious measure of a critic by profession, nor yet with the coldness and languor of an envious antagonist, but with the ardent gratitude of a man, whom, after many a painful feeling of weariness and disgust, you have refreshed unexpectedly, and whom, as if by some secret touch of magic, you have charmed and overpowered with the most exquisite sense of delight. Yes, my Lord, in a few lucky and lucid intervals between the paroxysms of your polemical frenzy, all the laughable and all the loathsome singularities, which floated upon the surface of your diction, have in a moment vanished; while, in their stead, beauties equally striking from their suddenness, their originality, and their splendour, have burst in a flood of glory' upon the astonished and enraptured reader. Often has my mind hung with fondness and with admiration over the crowded, yet clear
*[In the Bibl. Parr. 58, the Sermons are mentioned as the production of “the celebrated Bishop,” and in p. 685, they are characterised as “wary and temperate."
In p. 596, the Sermon preached before the House of Lords, Dec. 17, 1776, is also characterised as “temperate and wary."
confirming, illustrating, and enforcing the dictates of this sense, but as necessary for the redemption of mankind. This is quite after his distinguishing manner. In the 8th, he makes sympathy the natural parent of the social virtues; observing that God has implanted in man, not only the power of reason, which enables him to see the connection
and luminous galaxies of imagery diffused through the Works of Bishop Taylor, the mild and unsullied lustre of Addisun, the variegated and expanded eloquence of Burke, the exuberance and dignified ease of Middleton, the gorgeous declamation of Bolingbroke, and the majestic energy of Johnson. But, if I were to do justice, my Lord, to the more excellent parts of your own writings and Warburton's, I should say that the English language, even in its widest extent, cannot furnish passages more strongly marked, either by grandeur in the thought, by felicity in the expression, by pauses varied and harmonious, or by full and sonorous periods. See the character of Bayle D. L. 1,4. description of the inspectors general over clerical faith, p. 26. vol. 3, the different characters of eloquence p. 53, and 54, in the Doctrine of Grace, and above all, the representation of the Christian Church in the introduction to Julian edit. 1751. Instead of referring particularly to beautiful passages in Warburton's friend, I shall only say that some may be gleaned, here and there, even in his critical writings, that many are to be found in those, which treat of politics, and more, when he ascends to subjects of morality and religion.” Tracts by Warburton and a Warburtonian p. 150. E. H. B.]
"In 1752, and 1753, he published two occasional Sermons, the one at the Assizes at Norwich, on the Mischiefs of Enthusiasm and Bigotry, and the other for the Charity-Schools at Cambridge; neither of which has been retained in his Works." Chalmers's Biogr. Dict. E. H. B.]
• between his own happiness and that of others, but also • certain instincts and propensities, which make him feel • it, and, without reflexion, incline him to take part in • foreign interests. For, among the other wonders of our
make, this is one, that we are so formed as, whether we • will or no, to rejoice with them that rejoice, and to weep • with them that weep. And in the next Discourse he adduces this principle, as that natural corrective upon a conscious sense of dignity,' (leading by itself to an offensive, injurious pride,) which constitutes “politeness ;' and maintains that the perfection of our nature consists in the due operation of both these principles. His 10th Sermon, and the last in the volume, are fine examples of his 'toils in chasing the subtle.'” P. 165. “ Oct. 14. Read the 3d and last volume of Hurd's Sermons. The first of these is of a very peculiar character: there is a pithy, sententious brevity of period, and deep earnestness of manner in it, strikingly different from what we meet with in any of the other Discourses. The fourth, in which he deduces the divinity of the Gospel from Never spake as this man ;' and the seventh, its authenticity from · We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord,' are most powerful addresses. Such internal marks of truth, as are here forcibly exhibited, weigh more in my mind than all the external evidences of Christianity put together; and, for strokes of eloquence, what can be finer than this passage in the fourth ? " When a voice speaks, as from
• heaven, it naturally turns our attention to that quarter; .. and when it speaks in inimitable thunder, it speaks, me
thinks, like itself, and in accents that cannot well be 6 misunderstood,' judiciously prepared too, as this sublime ejaculation has been by what precedes it. For I feel,