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“ the hope of gaining or the fear of losing it. I will w therefore depart to Tauris, where the Persian mo“ narch resides in all the splendour of absolute domi« nion: my reputation will fly before me, my arrival « will be congratulated by my kinsmen and my friends; “ I shall see the eyes of those who predicted my great• ness sparkling with exultation, and the faces of those " that once despised me, clouded with envy, or coun« terfeiting kindness by artificial smiles. I will shew “ my wisdom by my discourse, and my moderation by • my silence; I will instruct the modest with easy gen
tleness, and repress the ostentatious by seasonable o superciliousness. My apartments will be crouded by ·
the inquisitive and the vain, by those that honour " and those that rival me; my name will soon reach
the court; I shall stand before the throne of the em6 peror; the judges of the law will confess my wis: “ dom, and the nobles will contend to heap gifts upon “ me. If I shall find that my merit, like that of others, só excites malignity, or feel myself tottering on the seat á of elevation, I may at last retire to academical ob66 scurity, and become, in my lowest state, a professor *. of Bassora."
Having thus settled his determination, he declared to his friends his design of visiting Tauris, and saw. with more pleasure than he ventured to express, the regret with which he was dismissed. He could not bear to delay the honours to which he was destined, and therefore hasted away, and in a short time entered the capital of Persia. He was immediately immersed in the crowd, and passed unobserved to his father's house. He entered, and was received, though not unkindly, yet without any excess of fondness or excla. mations of rapture. His father had, in his absence, suffered many losses, and Gelaleddin was considered as an additional burthen to a falling family.
When he recovered from his surprize, he began to display his acquisitions, and practised all the a rts narration and disquisition ; but the poor have no leisure to be pleased with eloquence; they heard his arguments without reflection, and his pleasantries without a smile. He then applied hi'nself singly to his brothers and sisters, but found them all chained down by invariable attention to their own fortunes, and insensible of any other excellence than that which could bring some remedy for indigence.
It was now known in the neighborhood that Gelaleddin was returned, and he sate for some days in expectation that the learned would visit him for consultation, or the great for entertainment. But who will be pleased or instructed in the mansions of poverty ? He then frequented places of public resort, and endeavoured to attract notice by the copiousness of his talk. The sprightly were silenced, and went away to censure in some other place his arrogance and his pedantry; and the dull listened quietly for a while, and then wonder ed why any man should take pains to obtain so much knowledge which would never do him good.
He next solicited the visiers for employment, not doubting but his service would be eagerly accepted. He was told by one that there was no vacancy in his office ; by another, that his merit was above any patronage but that of the emperor; by a. third, that he would not forget him; and by the chief visier, that he did not think literature of any great use in public business. He was sometimes adinitted to their tables, where he exerted his wit and diffused his knowledge; but he observed, that where, by endeavour or accident, he had remarkably excelled, he was seldom invited a second time.
He now returned to Bassora, wearied and disgusted, but confident of resuming his former rank, and revelling again in satiety of praise. But he who had been
neglected at Tauris, was not much regarded at Bassora ; he was considered as a fugitive, who returned only because he could live in no other place; his companions found that they had formerly over-rated his abilities, and he lived long without notice or esteem.
No. LXXVI. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1759.
To the Idler.
I WAS much pleased with your ridicule of those , shallow critics, whose judgment, though often right as far as it goes, yet reaches only to inferior beauties, and who, unable to comprehend the whole, judge only hy parts, and from thence determine the merit of exa tensive works. But there is another kind of critic still worse, who julges by narrow rules, and those too often false, and which, though they should be true, and founded on nature, will lead him but a very little way towards the just estimation of the sublime beauties in works of genius; for whatever part of an art can be executed or criticised by rules, that part is no longer the work of genius, which implies excellence out of the reach of rules. For my part, I profess myself an fdler, and love to give my judgment, such as it is, from my iminediate perceptions, without much fatigue of thinking; and I am of opinion, that if a man has not those perceptions right, it will be in vain for him to endeavour to supply their place by rules; which may enable him to talk more learnedly, but not to distinguish more acutely. Another reason which has lessened my affection for the study of criticism is, that cri. mies, so far as I have observed, debar themselves from
receiving any pleasure from the polite arts, at the same time that they profess to love and admire them: for these rules being always uppermost, give them such a propensity to criticize, that instead of giving up the reins of their imagination into their author's hands, their frigid minds are employed in examining whether the performance be according to the rules of art.
To those who are resolved to be critics in spite of nature, and at the same time have no great disposition to much reading and study, I would recommend to them to assume the character of connoisseur, which may be purchased at a much cheaper rate than that ofa critic in poetry. The remembrance of a few names of painters, with their general characters, with a few rules of the academy, which they may pick up among the painters, will go a great way towards making a very notable connoisseur.
With a gentleman of this cast, I visited last week the Cartoons at Hampton-court; he was just returned from Italy, a connoisseur of course, and of course his mouth full of nothing but the grace of Raffaelle, the purity of Domenichino, the learning of Poussin, the air of Guido, the greatness of taste of the Charaches, and the sublimity and grand contorno of Michael Angelo; with all the rest of the cant of criticism, which he emitted with that volubility which generally those orators have who annex no ideas to their words.
As we were passing through the rooms, in our way to the gallery, I made him observe a whole length of Charles I. by Vandyke, as a perfect representation of the character as well as the figure of the man : he agreed it was very fine, but it wanted spirit and contrast, and had not the flowing line, without which a figure could not possibly be graceful. When we entered the gallery, I thought I could perceive him recollect. ing his rules by which he was to criticize Raffaelle. I shall pass over his observation of the boats being too
little, and other criticisms of that kind, till we arrived at St. Paul preaching. “ This, says he, is esteemed the most excellent of all the Cartoons; what nobleness, what dignity there is in that figure of St. Paul; and yet what an addition to that nobleness could Raffaelle hare given, had the art of contrast been known in his time; but above all, the flowing line, which constitutes grace and beauty. You would not then have seen an upright figure standing equally on both legs, and both hands stretched forward in the same direction, and his drapery, to all appearance, without the least art of disposition.” The following picture is the Charge to Peter. “ Here, says he, are twelve upright figures; what a pity it is that Raffaelle. was not acquainted with the pyramidal principle; he would then have contrived the figures in the middle to have been on higher ground, or the figures at the extremities stooping or lying, which would not only have formed the group into the shape of a pyramid, but likewise contrasted the standing figures. Indeed, added he, I have often lamented that so great a genius as Raffaelle had not lived in this. enlightened age, since the art has been reduced to principles, and had had his education in one of the modern academies; what glorious works might we then have expected from his divine pencil?”
I shall trouble you no longer with my friend's obser. vations, which, I suppose, you are now able to continue by yourself. It is curious to observe, that at the same time that great admiration is pretended for a name of fixed reputation, objections are raised against those very qualities by which that great name was ącquired.
Those critics are continually lamenting that Raffaelle had not the colouring and harmony of Rubens, or the light and shadow of Rembrant, without considering how much the gay harmony of the former, and affectation of the latter, would take from the dignity