By Stephen Prickett (auth.)
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Extra info for England and the French Revolution
It was active and even (in its human forms) creative rather than passively responding to preset directions. Which of these two models, asks Burke in effect, is the more appropriate analogy for the body politic? The revolution of the machine or the evolution of the organism? Which of these two is the more 'natural'? The former is the one chosen by the French, who have destroyed their political institutions in the belief that reason will enable them to create something altogether new and superior in its place; the latter must be the response of the English, who are historically aware of how delicate and tender a plant is the tree of liberty and how easily it is damaged or destroyed by too sharp a change in its circumstances.
Seen in this light it is not difficult to understand the claim made by both Wordsworth and Coleridge in later life that it was not they, but the revolutionaries in France, culminating in that ultimate abomination, Napoleon, who had altered their principles. Moreover, the critique of conventional Augustan aesthetics implicit in these arguments of Lowth was not missed by his successors. Hugh Blair, one of the most influential critics of Wordsworth's youth and a source of much of the argument for the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, devotes a whole chapter of his Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (1783) to discussing Lowth's work and its consequences.
There is no such thing as a neutral observer, no such thing as perspectiveless knowledge. Our perception of the universe is conditioned by the preconceptions that we bring to it. e. the 'scientific'] & Experimental would soon be at the ratio of all things, & stand still, unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again. There is No Natural Religion, 1st Series, Conclusion. If it were not already clear what Blake intends by 'the same dull round', the point is clarified by what seems to be explicit reference to an orrery in the second series of There is No Natural Religion: The bounded is loathed by its possessor.