網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

delivered that which has been since confirmed and received.. .

Akenside was a young man, warm with every notion that by nature or ac. cident had been connected with the sound of liberty, and by an excentricity which such dispositions do not easily ayoid, a lover of contradiction, and no friend to any thing established. He adopted Shaftesbury's foolish assertion of the efficacy of ridicule for the discovery of truth. For this he was attacked by Warburton, and defended by Dyson : Warburton afterwards reprinted his remarks at the end of his dedication to the Freethinkers.

The result of all the arguments which have been produced in a long and eager

dif

A 3

one a

discussion of this idle question, may be easily collected. If ridicule be applied to any position as the test of truth, it will then become a question whether such ridicule be just; and this can only be decided by the application of truth, as the test of ridicule. Two men, fearing, one a real and the other a fancied danger, will be for a while equally exposed to the inevitable consequences of cowardice, contemptuous cenfure, and ludicrous representation; and the true state of both cases must be known, before it can be decided whose terror is rational, and whose is ridiculous; who is to be pitied, and who to be despised.

In the revisal of his poem, which he died before he had finished, he omitted the lines which had given occafion to Warburton's objections.

He published, soon after his return from Leyden (1745), his first collection of odes; and was impelled by his rage of patriotisın to write a very acrimonious epistle to Pulteney, whom he stigmatizes, under the name of Curio, as the betrayer of his country.

Being now to live by his profession, he first commenced physician at Northampton, where Dr, Stonehouse then practised, with such reputation and success, that a stranger was not likely to gain ground upon him. Akenside tried the contest awhile; and,

A4 having having deafened the place with clamours for liberty, removed to Hampstead, where he resided more than two years, and then fixed himself in London, the proper place for a man of accomplishments like his.

At London he was known as a poet, but was still to make his way as a phyfician; and would perhaps have been reduced to great exigencies, but that Mr. Dyson, with an ardour of friendship that has not many examples, allowed him three hundred pounds a year. Thus supported, he advanced gradually in medical reputation, but never attained any' great extent of practice, or eminence of popularity. A physician in a great city seems to be the mere play

nen

thing of Fortune ; his degree of reputation is, for the most part, totally casual : they that employ him, know not his excellence; they that reject him, know not. his deficience. By an acute observer, who had looked on the transactions of the medical world for half a century, a very curious book might be written on the Fortune of Physicians.

Akenfide appears not to have been wanting to his own success : he placed himself in view by all the common methods; he became a Fellow of the Royal Society; he obtained a degree at Çambridge, and was admitted into the College of Physicians ; he wrote little poetry, but published, from time to time, medical essays and observations ;

he

« 上一頁繼續 »