An essay on genius by Alexander Gerard

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Sap. 11. (*) Nec dubitari debet, quin fuerint ante Homerum poetȰ, puod ex eis carminibus intelligi potest, quȰ apud ilium, et , jn PhȰacuni, et in procorum epulis canuntur. Qic. Brut, rudeness. rudeness of his essays, than with esteem, a8 the inventor of the drama (a). It is acknowleged that the Greeks received the beginnings of their knowlege in philosophy and mathematics, from the Egyptians; but there is reason to suspect, that among the Egyptians, these sciences were in a very imperfect state: it is certain that the earliest Greek philosophers learned, in Egypt, only the first elements of mathematics.

Neither fertility nor regularity of imagination will form a good genius, if the one be disjoined from the other. If fertility be wanting, the correctest imagination will be confined within narrow bounds, and will be very flow in its operations; there can be no penetration or copious invention. If regularity be absent, an exuberant invention will lose itself in a wilderness of its own creation. There is a false fertility, -which arises from a disordered and irregular fancy. As the same idea bears some relation to an infinite number of other ideas, the associating principles may lead us, after a very few steps, to such ideas as are connected with the last that was present, yet have no connexion either with the former ones, or with the main design.

Xy. my9 any question or problem which has not something peculiar. Neither fertility nor regularity of imagination will form a good genius, if the one be disjoined from the other. If fertility be wanting, the correctest imagination will be confined within narrow bounds, and will be very flow in its operations; there can be no penetration or copious invention. If regularity be absent, an exuberant invention will lose itself in a wilderness of its own creation. There is a false fertility, -which arises from a disordered and irregular fancy.

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