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Π Ε Ρ Ι Β Α Θ Ο Υ Σ.
CH A P. I.
T hath been long (my dear Countrymen) the
my concern and surprize, that whereas numberless Poets, Critics, and Orators have compiled and digested the Art of ancient Poesy, there hath not arisen among us one person so publick-spirited, as to perform the like for the Modern. Although it is universally known, that our every-way industrious Moderns, both in the Weight of their writings, and in the Velocity of their judgments, do so infinitely excel the said Ancients:
Nevertheless, too true it is, that while a plain and direct road is paved to their bos, or Sublime ; no track has been yet chalk'd out, to arrive at our Bálos, or Profund. The Latins, as they came between the Greeks and Us, make use of the word Altitude, which implies equally height and depth. Wherefore considering with no small grief, how many promising Genius's of this age are wandering (as
I may say) in the dark without a guide, I have undertaken this arduous but necessary task, to lead them as it were by the hand, and step by step, the gentle down-hill way to the Bathos; the bottom, the end, the central point, the non plus ultra, of true Modern Poesy!
When I consider (my dear Countrymen) the extent, fertility, and populousness of our Lowlands of Parnaflus, the flourishing state of our Trade, and the plenty of our Manufacture ; there are two reflections which administer great occasion of surprize: The one, that all dignities and honours Thould be bestowed
upon the exceeding few meager inhabitants of the Top of the mountain ; the other, that our own nation should have arrived to that pitch of greatness it now possesses, without any regular System of Laws. As to the first, it is with great pleasure I have observed of late the gradual Decay of Delicacy and Refinement among mankind, who are become too reasonable to require that we aliould labour with infinite pains to come up to the taste of these Mountaineers, when they without any may condescend to ours. But as we have now an unquestionable Majority on our fide, I doubt not but we shall shortly be able to level the Highlanders, and
procure a farther vent for our own product, which is already so much relished, encouraged, and rewarded, by the Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain.
Therefore to supply our former defect, I purpofe to collect the scattered Rules of our Art into regular Institutes, from the example and practice of the deep Genius's of our nation; imitating herein my predecessors the Master of Alexander, and the Secretary of the renowned Zenobia. And in this my undertaking I am the more animated, as I expect more success than has attended even those great Critics ; since their Laws (tho' they might be good) have ever been slackly executed, and their Precepts (however strict) obey'd only by fits, and by a very small number.
At the same time I intend to do justice upon our neighbours, inhabitants of the upper Parnalfus; who, taking advantage of the rising ground, are perpetually throwing down rubbish, dirt and stones upon us, never suffering us to live in peace. . These men, while they enjoy the crystal stream of Helicon, envy us our common water, which (thank our stars) tho'it is somewhat muddy, flows in much greater abundance. Nor is this the greatest injustice that we have to complain of; for though it is evident that we never made the least attempt or inrode into Their territories, but lived contented in our native fens; they have often not only committed Petty Larcenies upon our borders, but driven the country, and carried off at once whole Cart-loads of our manufacture; to reclaim some of which stolen goods is part of the design of this Treatise.
For we shall see in the course of this work, that our greatest Adversaries have sometimes descended towards us; and doubtless might now and then have arrived at the Bathos itself, had it not been for that mistaken opinion they all entertained, that the Rules of the Ancients were equally necessary to the Moderns; than which there cannot be a more grievous Error, as will be amply proved in the following discourse. And indeed when
of these have gone so far, as by the light of their own Genius to attempt new Models, it is wonderful to observe, how nearly they have approached us in those particular pieces ; though in their others they differ'd toto cælo from us.
CH A P. II.
That the Bathos, or Profund, is the na
tural Taste of Man, and in particular, of the present Age.
HE Taste of the Bathos is implanted by
Nature itself in the foul of man; till, perverted by custom or example, he is taught, or rather compelled, to relish the Sublime. Accordingly, we see the unprejudiced mind of Children delight only in such productions, and in such