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religion, to be a very neceffary turn of mind; as indeed it is a vein which nature seems to have marked with more or lefs ftrength in the tempers of moft men. matter what the object is, whether bufinefs, pleasures, or the fine arts; whoever pursues them to any purpose must do fo con amore: and inamoratos, you know, of every kind, are all enthufiafts. There is indeed a certain heightening faculty which univerfally prevails thro' our fpecies; and we are all of us, perhaps, in our several favorite pursuits, pretty much in the circumftances of the renowned knight of La Mancha, when he attacked the barber's brazen bafon, for Mambrino's golden hel
WHAT is Tully's aliquid immenfum infinitumque, which he profeffes to aspire after in oratory, but a piece of true rhetorical Quixotifm? Yet never, I will venture to affirm, would he have glowed with fo much eloquence, had he been warmed with lefs enthufiafm. I am perfuaded indeed, that nothing great or glorious was ever performed, where this quality had not a principal concern;
as our paffions add vigor to our actions, enthusiasm gives spirit to our paffions. I might add too, that it even opens and enlarges our capacities. Accordingly, I have been informed, that one of the great lights of the prefent age never fits down. to ftudy, till he has raised his imagination by the power of mufic. For this purpose he has a band of inftruments placed near his library, which play till he finds himself elevated to a proper height; upon which he gives a fignal, and they inftantly cease.
BUT thofe high conceits, which are fuggefted by enthusiasm, contribute not only to the pleasure and perfection of the fine arts, but to moft other effects of our action and industry. To ftrike this fpirit therefore out of the human conftitution, to reduce things to their precife philofophical ftandard, would be to check fome of the main wheels of fociety, and to fix half the world in an useless apathy. For if enthufiafm did not add an imaginary value to most of the objects of our purfuit; if fancy did not give them their brightest colours, they would generally, perhaps,
perhaps, wear an appearance too contemptible to excite defire:
Weary'd we should lie down in death, This cheat of life would take no more, If you thought fame an empty breath, I Phillis but a perjur'd whore. PRIOR. In a word, this enthusiasm for which I am pleading, is a beneficent enchantress, who never exerts her magic but to our advantage, and only deals about her friendly fpells in order to raise imaginary beauties, or to improve real ones. The worst that
that can be faid of her is, that she is a kind deceiver, and an obliging flatterer. Let me conjure you then, good Clytander, not to break up her useful enchantments, which thus furround us on every fide; but spare her harmless deceptions in mere charity to mankind. I am, &c.
I SHOULD not have fuffered fo long an interval to interrupt our correfpondence, if my expedition to Euphronius
had not wholly employed me for these laft fix weeks. I had long promised to spend some time with him before he embarked with his regiment for Flanders; and as he is not one of those Hudibraftic heroes, who choose to run away one day, that they may live to fight another; I was unwilling to truft the opportunity of feeing him, to the very precarious contingency of his return. The high enjoyments he leaves behind him, might indeed be a pledge to his friends that his caution would at least be equal to his courage, if his notions of honor were lefs exquifitely delicate. But he will undoubtedly act as if he had nothing to hazard; though at the fame time, from the generous fenfibility of his temper, he feels every thing that his family can fuffer in their fears for his danger. I had an inftance whilst I was in his houfe, how much Euphronia's apprehenfions for his fafety are ready to take alarm upon every occafion. She called me one day into the gallery to look upon a picture which was just come out of the painter's hands; but the moment the carried me up to it, fhe burst out into a flood
a flood of tears. It was drawn at the requeft, and after a defign of her father's, and is a performance which does great honor to the ingenious artist who executed it. Euphronius is reprefented under the character of Hector when he parts from Andromache, who is perfonated in the piece by Euphronia; as her fifter, who holds their little boy in her arms, is shadowed out under the figure of the beautiful nurse with the young Aftyanax.
I WAS fo much pleased with the defign in this uncommon family-piece, that I thought it deserved particular mention; as I could wish it were to become a general fashion to have all pictures of the fame kind executed in fome fuch manner, If instead of furnishing a room with separate portraits, a whole family were to be thus introduced into a fingle piece, and reprefented under fome interesting historical fubject, fuitable to their rank and character; portraits, which are now fo generally and so deservedly defpifed, might become of real value to the public. By this means hiftory-painting would be encouraged among us, and a ridiculous vanity