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of knowledge was to be overlooked. I ranged mountains and deserts for images and resemblances, and pictured upon my mind every tree of the forest, and flower of the valley. I observed with equal care the crags of the rock and the pinnacles of the palace. Sometimes I wandered along the mazes of the rivulet, and sometimes watched the changes of the summer clouds. To. a poet nothing can be useless. Whatever is beautiful, and whatever is dreadful, must be familiar to his imagination: he must be conversant with all that is awfully vast or elegantly little. The plants of the gardeny the animals of the wood, the minerals of the earth, and meteors of the sky, must all concur to store his mind with inexhaustible variety; for every idea is useful for the enforcement or decoration of moral or religious truth; and he who knows most, will have most power of diversifying his scenes, and of gratifying his reader with remote allusions and unexpected instruction.
« All the appearances of nature I was therefore careful to study, and every country which I have surveyed has contributed something to my poetical powers.”
“In so wide a survey,” said the prince, you must surely have left much unobserved. I have lived, till now, within the circuit of these mountains, and yet cannot walk abroad without the sight of something which I had never beheld before, or never heeded.”
« The business of a poet,” said Imlac, “is to examine, not the individual, but the species; to remark general properties and large appearances: he does not number the streaks of the tulip, or describe the different shades in the verdure of the forest. He is to exhibit in his portraits of nature such prominent and striking features, as recal the original to every mind; and must neglect the minuter discriminations, which one may have remarked, and another have neglected, for those characters istics which are alike obvious to vigilance and carelessness.
“But the knowledge of nature is only half the task of a poet; he must be acquainted likewise with all the modes of life. His charac. ter requires that he estimate the happiness and misery of every condition; observe the power of all the passions in all their combinations, and trace the changes of the human mind as they are modified by various institutions and accidental influences of climate or custom, from the sprightliness of infancy to the despondence of decrepitude. He must divest himself of the prejudices of his age or country; he must consider right and wrong in their abstracted and invariable state : he must disregard present laws and opinions, and rise to general and transcendental truths, which will always be the same: he must therefore content himself with the slow progress of his name, contemn the applause of his own
ume, and commit his claims to the justice of posterity. He must write as the interpreter of nature, and the legislator of mankind, and consider himself as presiding over the thoughts and manners of future generations, as a being superior to time and place.
His labour is not yet at an end: he must know many languages and many sciences; and, that his style may be worthy of his thoughts, must by incessant practice, familiarize to himself every delicacy of speech and grace of harmony."
CHAP. 11. ,
Imlac's Narrative continued. A Hint on Pil
IMLAC now felt the enthusiastic fit, and was proceeding to aggrandize his own profession, when the prince cried out, “ Enough! thou hast convinced me that no human being can ever be a poet. Proceed with thy narration."
“To be a poet," said Imlac, “is indeed very difficult.” “So difficult," returned the prince, « that I will at present hear no more of his labours. Tell me whither you went when you had seen Persia.”
“From Persia,” said the poet, “I travelled through Syria, and for three years resided in Palestine, where I conversed with great numbers of the northern and western nations of Europe; the nations which are now in possession of all power and knowledge; whose armies are irresistible, and whose fleets command the remotest parts of the globe. When I compared these men with the natives of our own kingdom, and those that surround us, they appeared almost another order of beings. In their countries it is difficult to wish for any thing that may not be obtained: a thousand arts, of which we never heard, are continually labouring for their convenience and pleasure; and whatever their own climate has denied them, is supplied by their commerce.”
“ By what means, said the prince, are the Europeans thus powerful; or why, since they can so easily visit Asia and Africa for trade or conquest, cannot the Asiatics and Africans invade their coasts, plant colonies in their ports, and give laws to their natural princes? The same wind that carries them back would bring us thither."
66 They are more powerful, sir, than we,” answered Imlac,“ because they are wiser; knowledge will always predominate over ignorance, as man governs the other animals. But why their kowledge is more than ours. I know not what reason can be given, but the unsearchable will of the Supreme Being."
" When,” said the prince with a sigh, “shall I be able to visit Palestine, and mingle with this mighty confluence of nations ? Till that happy moment shall arrive, let me fill up the time with such representations as thou canst give me. I am not ignorant of the motive that assembles such numbers in that place, and cannot but consider it as the centre of wisdom and piety to which the best and wisest men of every land must be continually resorting."
"There are some nations,” said Imlac, “that send few visitants to Palestine; for many numerous and learned sects in Europe concur to censure pilgrimage as superstitious, or deride it as ridiculous."
6 You know,” said the prince, “how little my life has made me acquainted with diversity of opinions : it will be too long to hear the arguments on both sides; you, that have considered them, tell me the result.”
“ Pilgrimage,” said Imlac, “like many other acts of piety, may be reasonable or superstitious, according to the principles upon which it is performed. Long journies in search of truth are not commanded. Truth, such as is necessary to the regulation of life, is always found where it is honestly sought. Change of place is no natural cause of the increase of piety, for it inevitably produces dissipation of mind. Yet since men go every day to view the fields where great actions have been per