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THE ANTI-CRITIC And then a sudden hlaze appear’d to shoot Across the face of this terrestial globe : And then a mome
mentary striking up Of harps celestial : when the rapture rush'd Through all my veins; and suddenly I woke!
Extract of a Letter, July 4th 1821.
It is variety in mental gifts, which can alone lead to enduring distinction in the intellectual world. As we encourage one, or the other, by fits, it takes the temporary mastery, and gives the temporary character to our faculties : whether it be fancy or sentiment or reason, or memory.
The same person may therefore at different periods of life exhibit a very different intellectual character.
It is not unreasonable to wish to be fairly estimated because the power of impressing the opinions we believe to be right, greatly depends on the consideration in which we are held. My vanity has been long cured ; and I have long learned to work with little hope of notice and encouragement; but it is this sentiment which sometimes makes me endeavour to set myself right ; at least with my friends.
I do this with incessant variety. I feed my mind, it is true, with such infusions as are but of little use except to the
AUGUST 1821. ·
INTRODUCTORY. CHARACTER OF MODERN
ÉLAGGERATION, studied piquancy, partiality, envy, ignorance, affectation, bad taste, political, national, sectarian, and personal interests, with private intrigue, all pervade and debase even the best periodical Criticisms of the present day.
These works are now become mere manufactures of trade ; and are addressed rather to the passions, capacities, and acquirements of the multitude, than of the learned world.
Instead of intermingling the notice of Publications of a temporary nature, these Journals admit scarcely any thing
and the writers live so much within the atmosphere of factitious interests, that they can judge of nothing with the calmness calculated to establish permanent opinions.
Voyages, Travels , Pamphlets on the transient politics of the day, dull discussions of professional science in which men are endeavouring to force themselves into distinction for the purpose of aiding their professional advant cement, engross the place of elegant literature; of what increases our moral knowlege ; ameliorates the heart; and exalts the fancy.