Morning pleasant. I finished this morning the review of Aristotle’s Poetic. The reading has not been without it’s use to me as I have obtained some idea of what may be called the origin of criticism. Aristotle confines himself to the successful efforts of genius for his Models of writing, and argues from them to Nature. Perhaps this is the safest though it is certainly not the most philosophical method. A thing pleases for some reason or other springing from the peculiar constitution of man. That reason should be traced to explain the sub-106ject. Aristotle merely says that it does please, therefore let it be done. Notwithstanding all this, he has given valuable advice to a Poet.
Went to the Office where I was busy in copying the Bible Letters. Thence to the Athenaeum where I got hold of the History of the Western World and was amused with it.1 If I could get, I would review it.
Home to dinner. Afternoon, read the Letters of Cicero with some of Caelius to him. The eighth book is made up entirely of these. Their style is colloquial and so concise as to be very obscure. I was amused with their liveliness. It is one of the great branches of Epistolary Composition, to touch familiar subjects just enough to excite pleasant ideas and leave off to take new ones. Evening, Mr. Degrand sat an hour. He is just from Washington. Writing afterwards, and the Spectator.
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