OLIVARII GOLDSMITH, Poetae, Physici, Historici, Qui nullum ferè scribendi genus Non tetigit, Nullum quod tetigit non ornavit. Sive risus essent movendi, Sive lacrymae, Affectuum potens at lenis dominator: Ingenio sublimis, vividus, versatilis, Oratione grandis, nitidus, venustus: Hoc monumento memoriam coluit Sodalium amor, Amicorum fides, Lectorum veneratio.
As the book may not be common in England, I shall transcribe my own character from the Bibliotheca Historica of Meuselius, a learned and laborious German. "Summis aevi nostri historicis Gibbonus sine dubio adnumerandus est. Inter capitolii ruinas stans primum hujus operis scribendi concilium cepit. Florentissimos vitae annos colligendo et laborando eidem impendit.
The very foundation of poetry is good sense, if we may allow Horace to be a judge of the art. "Scribendi recte sapere est et principium et fons." "Such judgment is the ground of writing well." And if so, we have reason to believe that the same man who writes well can prescribe well, if he has applied himself to the study of both.
Now, on board a merchantman, a person might, if afflicted with Cacoethes Scribendi, detail the peculiarities of the skipper, and any little accident which may have befallen him; such as the admixture of briny fluid, which Father Neptune may have chosen to infuse into his glass of sherry, by sending an envoy, in the shape of a wave, across the poop, who dropped his credentials as he passed over the unclosed skylight: the numerous evils which befell the mate: the jokes of Jones: the puns of Smith, or the sallies of Sandy.
The noticeable feature of all this irruption of the cacoethes scribendi was the direct appeal to the Bible for the settlement not only of strictly theological controversies but of points of social and political ethics also.
Stormed by an attack of his cacoethes scribendi, after those few blank days at Becket, Felix saw nothing amiss with his young daughter. The great observer was not observant of things that other people observed. Neither he nor Flora, occupied with matters of more spiritual importance, could tell, offhand, for example, on which hand a wedding-ring was worn.
Harte's to acknowledge; so that this letter is the effect of that 'scribendi cacoethes, which my fears, my hopes, and my doubts, concerning you give me.
The striking inferiority of several of these latter Discourses in point of style, as compared with the first 150 pages of this volume, perplexes me. It seems more than mere carelessness, or the occasional 'infausta tempora scribendi', can account for.
Had our learned author, the modern Sangerado, confined himself to facts and to reasoning on the constitution, he might have continued to write without interruption from its opposers, until by instructing others, he had obtained that instruction which he seems to need, or a temporary relief from the inenviable malady, the cacoethes scribendi; but his frequent misrepresentations having exposed him to suspicions that as a disciple of Mandeville he was an advocate for vice, or that to correct his curiosity some humourist has palmed on him a spurious history of the proceedings of the federal convention, and exhibited his credulity as a subject of ridicule, it is proper to set him right in facts, which, in almost every instance he has misstated.
Induitur, formosa est: Exuitur, ipsa forma est. No. 62. Friday, May 11, 1711. Addison. 'Scribendi recte sapere est et principium et fons. Hor. Mr. Lock has an admirable Reflexion upon the Difference of Wit and Judgment, whereby he endeavours to shew the Reason why they are not always the Talents of the same Person.