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To thee, O God,
To thee all angels, all thy glorious court on high,
They fing loud anthems of immortal praife:
Printed by R. FLEMING, and fold by YAIR and
NY one who confiders the nature of man, must needs own that poetry is very proper to work upon it; that it may be of excellent ufe unto him, and that it has in fome respects the advantage of abstract reafoning and philofophy.
Tis true, were we nothing but pure intellect, were we ftript of flesh and blood, and arriv'd at that perfect ftate the faints above enjoy, then a bare abftraction of thought, and orderly ranging of ideas might ferve the turn. But while we continue fuch beings as we are, while blood, and spirit, imagination and passion, make up a part of our nature, thefe must have their proper objects and incentives, or we shall scarcely engage in the queft of glory: For what are thefe but a fort of wings to the foul? She may creep, but will hardly foar without them.
Now the great bufinefs of poetry (as every one knows) is to paint agreeable pictures on the imagination, to actuate the fpirits, and give the paffions a noble pitch. All its daring metaphors, surprising turns, melting accents, lofty flights, and lively defcriptions, ferve for this end. While we read, we feel a strange warmth boiling with in, the blood dances through the veins, joy lightens in the countenance, and we are infenfibly led into a pleafing captivity.
Thefe are fome of the genuine effects of poetry; so that without all queftion, it may be of excellent ufe to mankind, may improve our fouls, and ferve as a powerful charm to deter us from vice, and engage us on the fide of wisdom and virtue..
But then, for the fame reafon, it cannot be deny'd, that it may be equally pernicious. Profane and leud