« AnteriorContinuar »
of wild abfurdities, decorated with a lively, but fantastic ftyle, and fo little drawn from truth, that the hiftorian degenerates into the mere novelift. VOLTAIRE's want of talents in criticism is proportioned to his hifto rical defects. Sublimity of conception is familiarly facrificed to a vein of buffoonery, like many an inferior wit, whatever the expence, he must have his jeft. His stric tures on MILTON and SHAKESPEARE, for whofe beauties his affected difrelish evinces an utter ignorance of English excellence, will forever rank him with fuperficial cavilers, while the lefs partial obferver will
the crime of WILLIAM was the monopoly of a large tract of ground, at the expense of the property, and (what was at that time as material as the game laws have fince denied it to be) the national recreation of the people? He pulled down houfes, even whole towns, which depopulated a country, the face of which, from his making choice of this (1) particular spot, may be prefamed to have been more immediately adapted to the chace.
(1) New Foreft, Hampshire.
impute his exaggerated censures to an invidious difpofition, confcious of an incapacity to emulate the worth it condemns. But, of all tyrants, literary tyrants are the moft intolerable; and VOLTAIRE's defpotism in the press is but an appendix to the defpotifm of his clofet. Ferney is the feat of a poffeffor, who in trifles cannot brook control.
His more recent rhapfodies, on fubjects of morality, grossly patched with ribaldry and profaneness, are the puny offspring of irreverend dotage. Thefe follies are below contempt, having fcarce a glimmering of genius to recommend them.
I know not whether it may be allowed, to infert the author of Lexiphanes in the foregoing lift of critics, his rancorous buffoonery excluding all imputation of literary
The following lines may serve as a monument to this nameless writer.
While YOUNG, with bold enthusiast raptures fraught,
Points the dull cares of fublunary thought;
E. B. G.