« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
of his eloquence, it is well known, that the minister Walpole, and his brother Horace, (from motives very easily understood) ex. erted all their wit, all their oratory, all their acquirements of every description, sustained and enforced by the unfeeling “insolence of “ office,” to heave a mountain on his gigantick genius, and hide it from the world. Poor and powerless attempt!
The tables were turned. He rose upon them in the might and irresistible energy of his genius; and in spite of all their convolutions, frantick ago. nies and spasms, he strangled them and their whole faction with as much ease Hercules did the serpent ministers of jealousy, that were sent to assail his infant cradle. Who can turn over the debates of the day, and read the account of this conflict between youthful ardour and hoary headed cunning and power, without kindling in the cause of the tyro, and shouting at his victory ? That
sure the arrangement of those gentlemen's talents, have been long since swept away by the besom of oblivion. They wanted truth, that soul, which alone can secure immorta• lity to any literary work. And Mr Pitt and Mr. Fox have for many years been reciprocally and alternately recognized, just as their subject demands it, either as close and cogent reasoners, or as beautiful and superb rhetoricians.
Talents, therefore, which are before the publick, have nothing to dread, either from the jealous pride of power, or from the transient misrepresentations of party, spleen, or envy. In spite of opposition from any cause, their buoyant spirit will lift them to their proper grade: it would be unjust that it should lift them higher.
It is true, there always are, and always will be, in every society, individuals, who will fancy themselves examples of genius
overlooked, underrated, or invidiously oppressed. But the misfortune of such persons is imputable to their own vanity, and not to the publick opinion, which has weighed and graduated them.
We remember many of our schoolmates, whose geniuses bloomed and died within the walls of Alma Mater ; but whose bodies still live, the moving monuments of departed splendour, the animated and affecting remembrances of the extreme fragility of the human intellect. We remember others, who have entered on publick life, with the most exulting promise ; have flown from the earth, like rockets; and, after a short and brilliant flight, have bursted with one or two explosions-to blaze no more. Others, by a few premature scintillations of thought, have led themselves and their partial friends, to hope that they were fast advancing to a dawn of soft and beauteous light, and a meridian of
bright and gorgeous effulgence; but their day has never yet broken, and never will it break. They are doomed for ever to that dim, crepuscular light, which surrounds the frozen poles, when the sun ha retreated to the opposite circle of the heavens. Theirs is the eternal glimmering of the brain; and their most luminous displays are the faint twinklings of the glow worm. We have seen others, who, at their start, gain a casual projectility, which rises them above their proper grade; but by the just operation of their specifick gravity, they are made to subside again, and settle ultimately in the sphere to which they properly belong.
All these characters, and many others who have had even slighter bases for their once sanguine, but now blasted hopes, form a querulous and melancholy band of moonstruck declaimers against the injustice of the world, the agency of envy, the force of des
tiny, &c. charging their misfortune on every thing but the true cause: their own want of intrinsick sterling merit; their want of that copious, perennial spring of great and useful thought; without which a man may hope in vain for growing reputation. Nor are they always satisfied with wailing their own destiny, pouring out the bitterest imprecations of their souls on the cruel stars which presided at their birth, and aspersing the justice of the publick opinion which has scaled them: too often in the contortions and pangs of disappointed ambition, they cast a scowling eye over the world of man; start back and blanch at the lustre of superiour merit; and exert all the diabolical incantations of their black art, to conjure up an impervious vapour, in order to shroud its glories from the world. But it is all in vain. In spite of every thing, the publick opinion will finally do justice to us all. The man who comes fairly before the world and who pos