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An essay on genius by Alexander Gerard

By Alexander Gerard

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Example text

On this account, some subjects of the greatest importance have been totally neglected, and many more have been imperfectly examined, and prosecuted no farther than superficial observations spontaneoufly occurred, and casual inclination disposed men to attend to them. This has happened in all the sciences, but especially in the B scienc* science of human nature. It has seldom, been explored with that care which is requisite in a subject so subtile and abstruse. Far from taking a complete survey of this curious region, men have satisfied themselves with some random incursions, visiting only a fewtracts which happened to engage their curiosity, and penetrating even into these, only so far as some present view required.

Cic. Acad. S>u

These latter have only one tie, but the former have a double relation, and will therefore rush into the thoughts with double violence. They will occur and be observed, while the rest never come into view, or, if they make their appearance, are rejected so quickly that we instantly forget our ever having thought of them. them. No sooner does the imagination, in a moment of wandering, suggest any idea not conducive to the design, than the conception of this design breaks in of its own accord, and, like an antagonist muscle, counteracting the other association, draws us off to the view of a more proper idea.

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