« AnteriorContinuar »
Author of Lucianus Redivivus,'- A Trip to Holland,'' Socrates; a
As in the present performance the Supreme Being is at one time made mention of, and Jupiter at another, it may possibly happen that the scrupulous, yet well-meaning critic, will take alarm, and exclaim against that which he will consider as a mixture of Paganism and Christianity, a blending of false religion and true. But on this I must be allowed to observe, that such objection would be by no means valid, as the Pagan Deities (so denominated) are regarded typically, even by the ancients themselves; and that, in composition, the influence said to belong to each is merely intended to signify, and according to the ordinary language of poetry, the attributes of the Godhead. This censure, as to what is called the intermingling of Christianity and Heathenism, which, by the way, has very injudiciously been passed on some of our most esteemed authors, and which has arisen with persons who have not sufficiently reflected on the causes that have led to it, I think right to invalidate. A more beautiful system than that of the Greek mythology could not be invented for the use of the poet. To suppose that it must necessarily include the worship of idols, is truly absurd; yet such is commonly the idea annexed to it.
However, and to remove all objection in this matter, we may fairly conclude, that the imaginary Deities are nothing more than the several powers of Nature personified. The fancied being which thus is given to Nature's operatious, in the character of immortal agents, is that which constitutes the great beauty of the ancient machinery, and which, as I before remarked, it is not very easy to equal in
See the Preface to Bacon "On the Wisdom of the Ancients."
any other allegorical scheme which might be devised, and certainly impossible to surpass.
In this production, some few lines will be found which were formerly printed with proposals for a dramatic poem intitled LAVINIA, and by way of specimen of the work: a work, however, which I never had an opportunity of giving to the world. As the lines in question (about fifty in number) were better suited to my present purpose; they are accordingly made use of: a circumstance I thought adviseable to mention, lest any person should perchance have recollected them, and thence have charged me (as they appeared anonymously) with printing verses which were not my own.
ANDREW BECKET. 1