Genius
From Timber, Or Discoveries by Ben Jonson (1620-1635)

It cannot but come to pass that these men who commonly seek to do more than enough may sometimes happen on something that is good and great; but very seldom: and when it comes, it doth not recompense the rest of their ill. For their jests and their sentences, which they only and ambitiously seek for, stick out and are more eminent, because all is sordid and vile about them; as lights are more discerned in a thick darkness than a faint shadow. Now because they speak all they can, however unfitly, they are thought to have the greater copy. Where the learned use ever election and a mean they look back to what they intended at first, and make all an even and proportioned body. The true artificer will not run away from Nature, as he were afraid of her, or depart from life and the likeness of Truth, but speak to the capacity of his hearers. And though his language differ from the vulgar somewhat, it shall not fly from all humanity, with the Tamerlanes and Tamer-Chams of the late age, which had nothing in them but the scenical strutting and furious vociferation to warrant them to the ignorant gapers. He knows it is his only art so to carry it, as none but artificers perceive it. In the meantime perhaps he is called barren, dull, lean, a poor writer, or by what contumelious words can come in their cheeks, by these men who, without labour, judgement, knowledge, or almost sense, are received or preferred before him. He [con]gratulates them and their fortune. Another age or juster men will acknowledge the virtues of his studies, his wisdom in dividing, his subtilty in arguing, with what strength he doth inspire his readers, with what sweetness he strokes them; in inveighing, what sharpness; in jest, what urbanity he uses; how he doth reign in men's affections; how invade and break in upon them, and makes their minds like the thing he writes. Then in his elocution, to behold what word is proper, which hath ornament, which height, what is beautifully translated, where figures are fit, which gentle, which strong to show the composition manly: and how he hath avoided faint, obscure, obscene, sordid, humble, improper, or effeminate phrase, which is not only praised of the most, but commended, which is worse, especially for that it is naught.

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