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flights. But it is more perspicuous in its thoughts, and equally flowing and animated in its versification. One of its topics is remarkable for having excited a controversy which drew great attention during the last century, and does not seem even yet to be settled; namely, that ridicule is a test of truth. Akenside was not the father of this dogma, but he was its poetical sponsor. The celebrated Bishop Warburton, the commentator on Pope, assailed the position assumed by Akenside in this poem, with great force and severity, But our poet was zealously defended by his everconstant friend, Mr. Dyson, with so much success at least as to induce several writers of the day to espouse his cause. That cause, however, was in itself too weak to enlist on its side any but men of eccentric modes of thinking, or of superficial understandings. The predominance of opinion was then, and ever since has been, decisively against it, not only as to the number, but the character and talents of its adversaries. Dr. Johnson calls it an idle question, and summarily disposes of it by assuming the incontrovertible position, that before ridícule be admitted as an evidence of truth or falsehood, it must itself be proved to be just. He might have gone farther, and shown, that even just ridicule is not, at all times, a test of falsehood. Ridicule attaches itself only to the externals of things, and is never successfully wielded even against exterpals, except when they are marked by something extravagant or absurd. It has no more to do with the truth or falsehood of a statement, than it has with the warmth or coldness of the weather. On the one hand, truth may be so uttered-by a satirist or a stammerer, for instance—as to appear ridiculous; while, on the other, falsehood may be too gravemas the wilful perjury which occasions a judicial decision against the innocent-for ridicule. Contempt, anger, malice, or any other of the adverse feelings, might as well be termed the tests of truth as ridicule. The legitimate provocatives of ridicule are, in fact, only vanity and blundering folly. Unless connected with at least one of these, wickedness however great, and falsehood however palpable, will not excite ridicule. It is said that, in the revised copy of his work which he did not live to finish, Akenside omitted the passage in which the fallacious doctrine here exposed, is contained. In so doing, he afforded good proof of conviction that he had the worst of the argument.
The last paragraph of the poem begins with some of the most delicious and valuable lines in it; and they are so, because while they are equally harmonious in versification and splendid in diction, with any other part of it, they are unusually rich in pointed sentiment and clearness of expression. They remain with more tenacity on the memory, and are quoted more frequently than other portion of the poem :
“O! blest of Heaven, whom not the languid songs
Of luxury, the siren! not the bribes
Of pageant honour, can seduce to leave
THE PLEASURES OF IMAGINATION.
The subject proposed. Difficulty of treating it poetically. The ideas of the Divine Mind, the origin of every quality pleasing to the imagination. The natural variety of constitution in the minds of men ; with its final cause. The idea of a fine imagination, and the state of the mind in the enjoyment of those pleasures which it affords. All the primary pleasures of the imagination result from the perception of greatness, or wonderfulness, or beauty in objects. The pleasure from greatness, with its final cause. Pleasure from novelty or wonderfulness, with its final cause. Pleasure from beauty with its final cause. The connexion of beauty with truth and good, applied to the conduct of life. Invitation to the study of moral philosophy. The different degrees of beauty, in different species of objects: colour; shape; natural concretes ; vegetables ; animals; the mind. The sublime, the fair, the wonderful of the mind. The connexion of the imagination and the moral faculty. Conclusion.