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or inflamed by ambition which he expects to gratify. But the patron has no incitements equally violent; he can receive only a fhort gratification, with which nothing but stupidity could dispose him to be pleased. The real fatisfaction which praife can afford is by repeating aloud the whispers of conscience, and by fhewing us that we have not endeavoured to deferve well in vain. Every other encomium is, to an intel. ligent mind, fatire and reproach; the celebration of thofe virtues which we feel ourselves to want, can only impress a quicker fense of our own defects, and fhew that we have not yet fatisfied the expectations of the world, by forcing us to obferve how much fiction must contribute to the completion of our character.
Yet fometimes the patron may claim indulgence; for it does not always happen, that the encomiaft has been much encouraged to his attempt. Many a hapless author, when his book, and perhaps his dedication, was ready for the prefs, has waited long before any one would pay the price of prostitution, or confent to hear the praises deftined to infure his name against the casualties of time; and many a complaint has been vented against the decline of learning, and neglect of genius, when either parfimonious prudence has declined expence, or honest indignation rejected falfehood. But if at laft, after long enquiry and innumerable difappointments, he find a lord willing to hear of his own eloquence and taste, a statesman defirous of knowing how a friendly historian will reprefent his conduct, or a lady delighted to leave to the world fome memorial of her wit and beauty, fuch weakness cannot be cenfured as an inftance of enormous depravity. The wifeft man may, by a di
ligent folicitor, be furprised in the hour of weakness, and perfuaded to folace vexation, or invigorate hope, with the musick of flattery.
To cenfure all dedications as adulatory and fervile, would discover rather envy than justice. Praise is the tribute of merit, and he that has inconteftibly. distinguished himself by any publick performance, has a right to all the honours which the publick can bestow. To men thus raised above the rest of the community, there is no need that the book or its author should have any particular relation that the patron is known to deserve refpect, is fufficient to vindicate him that pays it. To the fame regard from particular perfons, private virtue and lefs confpicuous excellence may be fometimes entitled. An author may with great propriety infcribe his work to him by whofe encouragement it was undertaken, or by whofe liberality he has been enabled to profecute it, and he may justly rejoice in his own fortitude that dares to rescue merit from obfcurity.
Acribus exemplis videor te cludere: mifce
Thus much I will indulge thee for thy eafe,
I know not whether greater relaxation may not be indulged, and whether hope as well as gratitude may not unblameably produce a dedication; but let the writer who pours out his praises only to propitiate power, or attract the attention of greatness, be cautious left his defire betray him to exuberant eulogies. We are naturally more apt to please ourselves with
the future that the paft, and, while we luxuriate in expectation, may be eafily perfuaded to purchase what we yet rate, only by imagination, at a higher price than experience will warrant.
But no private views of perfonal regard can difcharge any man from his general obligations to virtue and to truth. It may happen in the various combinations of life, that a good man may receive favours from one, who, notwithstanding his accidental beneficence, cannot be justly proposed to the imitation of others, and whom therefore he muft find fome other way of rewarding than by publick celebrations. Selflove has indeed many powers of feducement, but it furely ought not to exalt any individual to equality with the collective body of mankind, or perfuade him that a benefit conferred on him is equivalent to every other virtue. Yet many, upon false principles of gratitude, have ventured to extol wretches, whom all but their dependents numbered among the reproaches of the fpecies, and whom they would likewife have beheld with the fame scorn, had they not been hired to difhoneft approbation.
To encourage merit with praife, is the great bufinefs of literature; but praise must lofe its influence, by unjust or negligent diftribution; and he that impairs its value may be charged with mifapplication of the power that genius, puts into his hands, and with fquandering on guilt the recompence of virtue.
TUESDAY, July 9, 1751.
Dum vitant ftulti vitia, in contraria currunt.
-Whilft fools one vice condemn,
THAT wonder is the effect of ignorance, has
been often obferved. The awful ftillness of attention, with which the mind is overfpread at the first view of an unexpected effect, ceafes when we have leifure to difentangle complications and inveftigate caufes. Wonder is a pause of reafon, a fudden ceffation of the mental progrefs, which lafts only while the understanding is fixed upon fome fingle idea, and is at an end when it recovers force enough to divide the object into its parts, or mark the intermediate gradations from the first agent to the last confequence.
It may be remarked with equal truth, that ignorance is often the effect of wonder. It is common for those who have never accustomed themselves to the labour of enquiry, nor invigorated their confidence by conquefts over difficulty, to fleep in the gloomy quiefcence of astonishment, without any ef fort to animate enquiry, or dispel obfcurity. What they cannot immediately conceive, they confider as too high to be reached, or too extenfive to be comprehended; they therefore content themselves with the gaze of folly, forbear to attempt what they have no hopes of performing, and refign the pleafure of Vop. V. E e
rational contemplation to more pertinacious study or more active faculties.
Among the productions of mechanick art, many are of a form fo different from that of their firft materials, and many confift of parts fo numerous and io nicely adapted to each other, that it is not poffible to view them without amazement. But when we enter the fhops of artificers, obferve the various tools by which every operation is facilitated, and trace the progress of a manufacture through the different hands, that, in fucceffion to each other, contribute to its perfection, we foon discover that every single man has an easy task, and that the extremes, however remote, of natural rudeness and artificial elegance, are joined by a regular concatenation of effects, of which every one is introduced by that which precedes it, and equally introduces that which is to follow.
The fame is the state of intellectual and manual performances. Long calculations or complex diagrams affright the timorous and unexperienced from a fecond view; but if we have skill sufficient to analife them into fimple principles, it will be discovered that our fear was groundless. Divide and conquer, is a principle equally juft in fcience as in policy. Complication is a fpecies of confederacy which, while it continues united, bids defiance to the most active and vigorous intellect; but of which every member is separately weak, and which may therefore be quickly fubdued, if it can once be broken.
The chief art of learning, as Locke has obferved, is to attempt but little at a time. The wideft excurfions of the mind are made by fhort flights fre