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Author calls it) an “ Alacrity of finking; ' and who by strength of Nature alone can excel. All I mean is to evince the Necessity of Rules to these lesler Genius's, as well as the Usefulness of them to the greater.
That there is an Art of the Bathos, or
E come now to prove, that there is an
Art of Sinking in Poetry. Is there not an Architecture of Vaults and Cellars, as well as of lofty Domes and Pyramids ? Is there not as much skill and labour in making Dikes, as in raising Mounts ? Is there not an Art of Diving as well as of Flying? And will any sober practitioner affirm, that a diving Engine is not of singular use in making him long-winded, affisting his fight, and furnishing him with other ingenious means of keeping under water?
If we search the Authors of Antiquity, we shall find as few to have been distinguished in the true Profund, as in the true Sublime. And the very same thing (as it appears from Longinus) had been imagined of that, as now of this : namely, that it was entirely the Gift of Nature. I grant that to excel in the Bathos a Genius is requisite ; yet the Rules of Art must be allowed so far useful, as to add weight, or, as I may fay, hang on lead, to facilitate and enforce our descent, to guide us to the most advantageous declivities, and habituate our imagination to a depth of thinking. Many there are that can fall, but few can arrive at the felicity of falling gracefully; much more for a man who
is amongst the lowest of the Creation, at the very bottom of the Atmosphere, to defcend beneath himself, is not so easy a talk unless he calls in Art to his assistance. It is with the Bathos as withi small Beer, which is indeed vapid and insipid, if left at large, and let abroad; but being by our Rules confined and well stopt; nothing grows so frothy, pert, and bouncing.
The Sublime of Nature is the Sky, the Suns Moon, Stars, etc. The Profund of Nature is Gold, Pearls, precious Stones, and the Treasures of the Deep, which are inestimable as unknown. But all that lies between these, as Corn, Flower, Fruits, Animals, and Things for the meer use of Man, are of mean price, and so common as not to be greatly esteemed by the curious. It being certain that any thing, of which we know the true use, cannot be invaluable : Which affords a folution, why common Sense hath either been totally despised, or held in small repute, by the greatest modern Critics and Authors.
Of the true Genius for the Profund, and
by what it is constituted.
ND I will venture to lay it down, as the A first Maxim and Corner-Stone of this our Art; that whoever would excel therein, muft ftudiously avoid, deteft, and turn his head from all the ideas, ways, and workings of that pestilent Foe to Wit, and Destroyer of fine Figures, which is known by the Name of Common Sense. His business must be to contract the true Gout de travers ;
and to acquire a most happy, uncommon, unaccountable Way of Thinking.
He is to consider himself as a Grotesque painter, whose works would be spoiled by an imitation of nature, or uniformity of design. He is to mingle bits of the most various, or discordant kinds, landfcape, history, portraits, animals, and connect them with a great deal of Aourishing, by lieads or tails, as it shall please his imagination, and contribute to his principal end, which is to glare by strong oppofitions of colours, and surprize by contrariety of images.
Serpentes avibus geminentur, tigribus agni. Hor:
His design ought to be like a labyrinth, out of which no body can get clear but himself. And since the great Art of all Poetry is to mix Truth with Fiction, in order to join the Credible with the Surprizing ; our author shall produce the Credible, by painting nature in her lowest simplicity; and the Surprizing, by contradicting common opinion. In the very Manners he will affect the Marvellous ; he will draw Achilles with the patience of Job; a Prince talking like a Jack-pudding a Maid of honour felling bargains; a footman speaking like a Philofopher; and a fine gentleman like a scholar. Whoever is conversanţ in moderi Plays, may make a moft noble collection of this kind, and, at the same time, form a complete body of modern Ethics and Morality.
Nothing seemed more plain to our great authors, than that the world had long been weary of natural things. How much the
contrary are formed to please, is evident from the universal applause daily given to the admirable entertainments of Harlequins and Magicians on our stage. When an audience behold a coach turned into a wheel-barrow, a conjurer into an old woman, or a man's
head where his heels should be ; how are they struck with transport and delight? Which can only be imputed to this cause, that each object is changed into that which hath been suggested to thein by their own low ideas before.
He ought therefore to render himself master of this happy and anti-natural way of thinking to such a degree, as to be able, on the appearance of any object, to furnish his imagination with ideas infinitely below it And his eyes should be like unto the wrong end of a perspective glafi, by which all the objects of nature are lessened.
For Example ; when a true genius looks upon the Sky, he immediately catches the idea of a piece of blue lutestring, or a child's mantle. * The Skies, whose spreading volumes farce have rooni,
Spun thin, and wove in nature's finest loom,
If he looks upon a tempeft, he shall have an intage of a tumbled bed, and describe a succeeding calın in this manner : + The Ocean, joy’d to see the tempet fled,
New lays his waves, and smoothi his ruffiid beci.
The Triumphis and Acclamations of the Angels, at the Creation of the Universe, present to his imagination - the Rejoicings of the Lord Mayor's
Day;" and he beholds those glorious beings celebrating the Creator, by huzzaing, making il
* Prince Arthi'ır, p. 41, 42. of P. 14
N. B. In order to do Justice to chefe great Poets, our Citations ara taken from the best, the lali, and mor correct Editions of their Works. That which we use of Prince Arivur, is in Duodécimo, 1714. The fourthi Edition reviied. P:
luminations, and flinging fquibs, crackers and sky-
By all the stars and planets of the sky,
If a man who is violently fond of Wit, will facrifice to that passion his friend or his God, would it not be a shame, if he who is smit with the love of the Bathos should not facrifice to it all other transitory regards? You shall hear a zealous Protestant Deacon invoke a Saint, and modestly befeech her to do more for us than Providence : † Look down, blefs'd saint, with pity then look down,
Shed on this land thy kinder influence,
In which we stray. Neither will he, if a goodly Simile come in his way, fcruple to affirm himself an eye-witness of things never yet beheld by man, or never in existence as thus, I Thus have I seen in Araby the bless'd,
A Phænix couch'd upon her fun'ral nest.
But to convince you that nothing is fo great which a marvellous genius, prompted by this laud
of A. Philips on the Death of Queen Mary.