Friday, July 02, 2004

"Beauty, Virtue, Truth, and Love, and Melody"

While I'm still thinking about Beattie, here is a link to an excerpt from the source of Beattie's (poetic) fame, The Minstrel (1771-1774). His full poetic oeuvre can be found at Project Gutenberg, in less readable form, here. An example of Beattie (almost) at his best:

But who the melodies of morn can tell?
The wild brook babbling down the mountain side;
The lowing herd; the sheepfold's simple bell;
The pipe of early shepherd dim descried
In the lone valley; echoing far and wide
The clamorous horn along the cliffs above;
The hollow murmur of the ocean-tide;
The hum of bees, the linnet's lay of love,
And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.


Beattie is also very good at single lines and excellent phrases (one of my favorites is "Fret not yourselves, ye silken sons of pride").

Beattie's other great work, which earned him his philosophical fame, is, of course, the Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, which is a critique, from the point of view of Scottish Common Sense Philosophy, of a number of lines in early modern philosophical thought (particularly Hume).

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