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for what he called and thought liberty; a zeal which fometimes disguises from the world, and not rarely from the mind which it poffeffes, an envious defire of plundering wealth or degrading greatnefs; and of which the immediate tendency is innovation and anarchy, an impetuous eagerness to fubvert and confound, with very little care what fhall be established.

Akenfide was one of thofe poets who have felt very. early the motions of genius, and one of those students who have very early ftored their memories with fentiments and images. Many of his performances were produced in his youth; and his greatest work, The Pleafures of Imagination, appeared in 1744. I have heard Dodfley, by whom it was published, relate, that when the copy was offered him, the price demanded for it, which was an hundred and twenty pounds, being fuch as he was not inclined to give precipitately, he carried the work to Pope, who, having looked into it, advised him not to make a niggardly offer; for this was no every-day writer.

In 1741 he went to Leyden, in purfuit of medical knowledge; and three years afterwards (May 16, 1744) became doctor of phyfick, having, according to the cuftom of the Dutch Univerfities, publifhed a thefis, or differtation. The fubje&t which he chofe was the Original and Growth of the Human Fatus; in which he is faid to have departed, with great judgement, from the opinion then established, and to have delivered that which has been fince confirmed and received.

Akenfide was a young man, warm with every notion that by nature or accident had been connected with the found of liberty, and, by an excentricity which fuch difpofitions do not eafily avoid, a lover of contradiction,

diction, and no friend to any thing established. He adopted Shaftesbury's foolish affertion of the efficacy of ridicule for the discovery of truth. For this he was attacked by Warburton, and defended by Dyfon : Warburton afterwards reprinted his remarks at the end of his dedication to the Freethinkers.

The refult of all the arguments which have been produced in a long and eager difcuffion of this idle queftion, may easily be collected. If ridicule be applied to any position as the test of truth, it will then become a question whether fuch ridicule be just; and this can only be decided by the application of truth, as the test of ridicule. Two men, fearing, one a real and the other a fancied danger, will be for a while equally exposed to the inevitable confequences of cowardice, contemptuous cenfure, and ludicrous reprefentation; and the true state of both cases must be known, before it can be decided whofe terror is rational, and whose is ridiculous; who is to be pitied, and who to be despised. Both are for a while equally expofed to laughter, but both are not therefore equally contemptible.

In the revifal of his poem, which he died before he had finished, he omitted the lines which had given occafion to Warburton's objections.

He published, foon after his return from Leyden (1745), his first collection of odes; and was impelled by his rage of patriotifm to write a very acrimonious epiftle to Pulteney, whom he ftigmatizes, under the name of Curio, as the betrayer of his country.

Being now to live by his profeffion, he first commenced phyfician at Northampton, where Dr. Stonehouse then practifed, with fuch reputation and fuccefs, that a ftranger was not likely to gain ground upon him.

him. Akenfide tried the contest a while; and, having deafened the place with clamours for liberty, removed to Hampstead, where he refided more than two years, and then fixed himself in London, the proper place for a man of accomplishments like his.

At London he was known as a poet, but was ftill to make his way as a phyfician; and would perhaps have been reduced to great exigences, but that Mr. Dyfon, with an ardour of friendship that has not many examples, allowed him three hundred pounds a year. Thus fupported, he advanced gradually in medical reputation, but never attained any great extent of practice, or eminence of popularity. A physician in a great city feems to be the mere play-thing of Fortune; his degree of reputation is, for the most part, totally cafual: they that employ him, know not his excellence; they that reject him, know not his deficience. By an acute obferver, who had looked on the tranfactions of the medical world for half a century, a very curious book might be written on the Fortune of Phyficians.

Akenfide appears not to have been wanting to his own fuccefs: he placed himself in view by all the common methods; he became a Fellow of the Royal Society; he obtained a degree at Cambridge, and was admitted into the College of Physicians; he wrote little poetry, but published, from time to time, medical effays and obfervations; he became phyfician to St. Thomas's Hofpital; he read the Gulftonian Lectures in Anatomy; but began to give, for the Crounian Lecture, a history of the revival of Learning, from which he foon defifted; and, in converfation, he very eagerly forced himself into notice by an ambitious oftentation of elegance and literature.

VOL. IV.

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His Difcourfe on the Dyfentery (1764) was confi dered as a very confpicuous fpecimen of Latinity, which entitled him to the fame height of place among the scholars as he poffeffed before among the wits; and he might perhaps have rifen to a greater elevation of character, but that his ftudies were ended with his life, by a putrid fever, June 23, 1770, in the forty-ninth year of his age.

AKENSIDE is to be confidered as a didactick and lyrick poet. His great work is the Pleafures of Imagination; a performance which, publifhed, as it was, at the age of twenty-three, raifed expectations that were not afterwards very amply fatisfied. It has undoubtedly a juft claim to very particular notice, as án example of great felicity of genius, and uncommon amplitude of acquifitions, of a young mind ftored with images, and much exercifed in combining and comparing them.

With the philofophical or religious tenets of the author I have nothing to do: my bufinefs is with his poetry. The fubject is well-chofen, as it includes all images that can strike or please, and thus comprises every fpecies of poetical delight. The only difficulty is in the choice of examples and illuftrations, and it is not eafy in fuch exuberance of matter to find the middle point between penury and fatiety. The parts feem artificially difpofed, with fufficient coherence, fo as that they cannot change their places without injury to the general defign.

His images are difplayed with fuch luxuriance of ex preffion, that they are hidden, like Butler's Moon, by

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a Veil of Light; they are forms fantastically loft under fuperfluity of drefs. Pars minima eft ipfa Puella fui.· The words are multiplied till the fenfe is hardly perceived; attention deferts the mind, and fettles in the ear. The reader wanders through the gay difufion, fometimes amazed, and fometimes delighted; but, after many turnings in the flowery labyrinth, comes out as he went in. He remarked little, and laid hold on nothing.

To his verfification juftice requires that praife fhould not be denied. In the general fabrication of his lines he is perhaps fuperior to any other writer of blank verfe; his flow is smooth, and his paufes are musical; but the concatenation of his verfes is commonly too long continued, and the full clofe does not recur with fufficient frequency. The fenfe is carried on through a long intertexture of complicated claufes; and as nothing is distinguished, nothing is remembered.

The exemption which blank verfe affords from the neceffity of clofing the fenfe with the couplet, betrays luxuriant and active minds into fuch felf-indulgence, that they pile image upon image, ornament upon ornament, and are not eafily perfuaded to close the sense at all. Blank verfe will therefore, I fear, be too often found in defcription exuberant, in argument loquacious, and in narration tirefome.

His diction is certainly poetical as it is not profaick, and elegant as it is not vulgar. He is to be com mended as having fewer artifices of difguft than most of his brethren of the blank fong. He rarely either recalls old phrafes or twifts his metre into harth inverfions. The fenfe however of his words is ftrained; when he views the Ganges from Alpine heights; that

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