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Though Cellini was fo blind to his own imperfections as to commit the most unjustifiable actions, with a full perfuafion of the goodnefs of his cause and the rectitude of his intention, yet no man was a keener and more accurate obferver of the blemishes of others; hence his book abounds with farcaftick wit and fatirical expreffion. Yet though his portraits are fometimes grotefque and over-charged, from mifinformation, from melancholy, from infirmity, and from peculiarity of humour; in general it must be allowed that they are drawn from the life, and conformable to the idea given by cotemporary writers. His characters of pope Clement the feventh, Paul the third, and his baftard fon Pier Luigi; Francis the firft, and his favourite mistress madam d'Estampes, Cofmo duke of Florence, and his duchefs, with many others, are touched by the hand of a master.
General history cannot defcend to minute details of the domeftick life and private tranfactions, the paffions and foibles of great perfonages; but these give truer reprefentations of their characters than all the elegant and laboured compofitions of poets and hiftorians.
To fome a register of the actions of a ftatuary may feem a heap of uninterefting occurrences; but the difcerning will not difdain the efforts of a powerful mind, because the writer is not ennobled by birth, or dignified by ftation.
The man who raifes himfelf by confummate merit in his profeflion to the notice of princes, who converies with them in a language dictated by honeft freedom, who fcruples not to tell them thofe truths
which they muft defpair to hear from courtiers and favourites, from minions and parafites, is a bold leveller of diftinctions in the courts of powerful monarchs. Genius is the parent of truth and courage; and thefe, united, dread no oppofition.
The Tuscan language is greatly admired for its elegance, and the meaneft inhabitants of Florence fpeak a dialect which the reft of Italy are proud to imitate. The ftyle of Cellini, though plain and familiar, is vigorous and energetick. He poffeffes, to an uncommon degree, ftrength of expreffion, and rapidity of fancy. Dr. Nugent feems to have carefully ftudied his author, and to have tranflated him with eafe and freedom, as well as truth and fidelity.
VIEW OF THE CONTROVERSY
Monf. CROUSAZ and Mr. WARBURTON,
ON THE SUBJECT OF
Mr. POPE's ESSAY on
In a LETTER to the
EDITOR of the GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, vol. xiii,
T would not be found ufelefs in the learned world, if in written controverfies as in oral difputations, a moderator could be felected, who might in fome degree fuperintend the debate, reftrain all needlefs excurfions, reprefs all perfonal reflections, and at laft recapitulate the arguments on each fide; and who, though he should not affume the province of deciding the queftion, might at leaft exhibit it in its true state.
This reflection arofe in my mind upon the confideration of Mr. Croufaz's Commentary on the Effay on Man, and Mr. Warburton's Answer to it. The importance of the fubject, the reputation and abilities of the controvertifts, and perhaps the ardour with which each has endeavoured to fupport his caufe,
caufe, have made an attempt of this kind neceffary for the information of the greatest number of Mr. Pope's readers.
Among the duties of a moderator, I have mentioned that of recalling the difputants to the fubject, and cutting off the excrefcences of a debate, which Mr. Croufaz will not fuffer to be long unemployed, and the repreffion of personal invectives which have not been very carefully avoided on either part; and are lefs excufable, because it has not been proved, that either the poet, or his commentator, wrote with any other defign than that of promoting happiness by cultivating reason and piety.
Mr. Warburton has indeed fo much depreffed the character of his adverfary, that before I confider the controverfy between them, I think it necessary to exhibit fome fpecimens of Mr. Croufaz's fentiments, by which it will probably be fhewn, that he is far from deferving either indignation or contempt; that his notions are juft, though they are fometimes introduced without neceffity, and defended when they are not opposed; and that his abilities and parts are fuch as may entitle him to reverence from those who think his criticisms superfluous.
In page 35 of the English tranflation, he exhibits an obfervation which every writer ought to impress upon his mind, and which may afford a fufficient apology for his commentary.
On the notion of a ruling paffion he offers this remark: Nothing fo much hinders men from obtaining a complete victory over their ruling 'paffion,
paffion, as that all the advantages gained in their days of retreat, by just and sober reflections, whether ftruck out by their own minds, or borrowed from good books, or from the converfation of men of merit, are deftroyed in a few moments by a free intercourfe and acquaintance with libertines; and thus the work is always to be begun anew. A gamefter refolves to leave off play, by which he finds his health impaired, his family ruined, and his paffions inflamed; in this refolution he perfifts a few days, but foon yields to an invitation, which will give his prevailing inclination an opportunity of reviving in all its force. The cafe is the fame with other men; but is reafon to be charged with thefe calamities and follies, or rather the man who refufes to listen to its voice in oppofition to impertinent folicita<tions?'
On the means recommended for the attainment of happinefs, he obferves, that the abilities which our Maker has given us, and the internal and external advantages with which he has invested us, are of two very different kinds; thofe of one kind are beftowed in common upon us and the brute creation, but the other exalt us far above other animals. To difregard any of thefe gifts would be ingratitude; but to neglect those of greater excellence, to go no farther than the grofs fatisfactions of fenfe, and the functions of mere animal life, would be a far greater crime. We are formed by our Creator capable of ac
quiring knowledge, and regulating our conduc by reasonable rules; it is therefore our duty to