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'Of Genius', in The Occasional Paper, and Preface to The Creation
Sir, About two Years ago, upon a slight Misapprehension of some Expressions of yours, which my Resentment, or perhaps my Pride, interpreted to the Disadvantage of a Poetical Trifle, I had then newly publish'd, I suffer'd myself to be unreasonably transported, so far, as to inscribe you an angry, and inconsiderate Preface; without previous Examination into the Justness of my Proceeding. I have lately had the Mortification to learn from your own Hand that you were entirely guiltless of the fact charg'd upon you; so that, in attempting to retaliate a suppos'd Injury, I have done a real Injustice. The only Thing which an honest Man ought to be more asham'd of than his faults, is a Reluctance against confessing them. I have already acknowledg'd mine to yourself: But no publick Guilt is well aton'd, by a private Satisfaction; I therefore send you a Duplicate of my Letter, by way of the World, that all, who remember my Offence, may also witness my Repentance. Sir, I am under the greatest Confusion I ever felt in my Life, to find by your Letter, that I have been guilty of a Crime, which I can never forgive Myself, were it for no other Reason, than that You have forgiven it. I might have learnt from your Writings the Extent of your Soul, and shou'd have concluded it impossible for the Author of those elevated Sentiments, to sink beneath them in his Practice. You are generously moderate, when you mitigate my Guilt, and miscall it a Credulity; 'twas a passionate, and most unjustifiable Levity, and must still have remain'd unpardonable, whatever Truth might have been found in its mistaken Occasion. What stings me most, in my Reflection on this Folly, is, that I know not how to atone it; I will endeavour it, however; being always asham'd, when I have attempted to revenge an Injury, but never more proud, than when I have begg'd pardon for an Error. If you needed an Inducement to the strengthening your Forgiveness, you might gather it from these two Considerations; First, The Crime was almost a Sin against Conviction; for though not happy enough to know you personally, your Mind had been my intimate Acquaintance, and regarded with a kind of partial Tenderness, that made it little less than Miracle, that I attempted to offend you. A sudden Warmth, to which, by Nature, I am much too liable, transported me to a Condition, I shall best describe in Shakespear's Sense, somewhere or other. Blind in th' obscuring Mist of heedless Rage, I've rashly shot my Arrows o'er a House, And hurt my Brother.... A Second Consideration is, the Occasion you have gather'd to punish my Injustice, with more than double Sharpness, by your Manner of receiving it. The Armour of your Mind is temper'd so divinely, that my mere Human Weapons have not only fail'd to pierce, but broke to pieces in rebounding. You meet Assaults, like some expert Arabian, who, declining any Use of his own Javelin, arrests those which come against him, in the Fierceness of their Motion, and overcomes his Enemies, by detaining their own Weapons. 'Tis a noble Triumph you now exercise, by the Superiority of your Nature; and while I see you looking down upon the Distance of my Frailty, I am forc'd to own a Glory, which I envy you; and am quite asham'd of the poor Figure I am making, in the bottom of the Prospect. I feel, I am sure, Remorse, enough to satisfy you for the Wrong, but to express it, wou'd, I think, exceed even your own Power. Yours, whose sweet Songs can rival Orpheu's Strain, And force the wondring Woods to dance again, Make moving Mountains hear your pow'rful Call, And headlong Streams hang list'ning in their Fall. No Words can be worthy to come after these; I will therefore hasten to tell you, that I am, and will ever be, with the greatest Truth and Respect, SIR, Your Most Humble, and Most Obedient Servant, A. Hill. ......Buy Now (To Read More)
Ebook Number: 15870
Author: Hill, Aaron
Release Date: May 20, 2005
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