genius--ordinary capacity of original thought. Such envy in early times is innocuous or does not exist, at least to the extent which is felt as so baneful in subsequent periods. But in a refined and enlightened age, its influence becomes incalculable. Whoever strikes out a new region of thought or composition, whoever opens a fresh vein of imagery or excellence, is persecuted by the critics. He disturbs settled ideas, endangers established reputations, brings forward rivals to dominant fame. That is sufficient to render him the enemy of all the existing rulers in the world of taste. Even Jeffrey seriously lamented, in one of his first reviews of Scott's poems, that he should have identified himself with the unpicturesque and expiring images of feudality, which no effort could render poetical. Racine's tragedies were received with such a storm of criticism as wellnigh cost the sensitive author his life; and Rousseau was so rudely handled by contemporary writers on his first appearance, that it confirmed him i
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