"That a Man may be scarce less ignorant of his own powers, than an Oyster of its pearl, or a Rock of its diamond; that he may possess dormant, unsuspected abilities, till awakened by loud calls, or stung up by striking emergencies, is evident from the sudden eruption of some men, out of perfect obscurity, into publick admiration, on the strong impulse of some animating occasion"
— Young, Edward (bap. 1683, d. 1765)
What there thou seest, fair creature is thyself. MILT.
Genius, in this view, is like a dear Friend in our company under disguise; who, while we are lamenting his absence, drops his mask, striking us, at once, with equal surprize and joy. This sensation, which I speak of in a writer, might favour, and so promote, the fable of poetic Inspiration: A Poet of a strong imagination, and stronger vanity, on feeling it, might naturally enough realize the world's mere compliment, and think himself truly inspired. Which is not improbable; for Enthusiasts of all kinds do no less.
See Conjectures on Original Composition. In a Letter to the Author of Sir Charles Grandison. (London: Printed for A. Millar, in The Strand; and R. and J. Dodsley, in Pall-Mall, 1759). <Link to ESTC><Link to Google Books>
The text was initially drawn from RPO and Chadwyck-Healey's Literature Online (LION). The LION text claims to reproduce the 1759 printing but is marred by typographical errors and has been irregularly modernized. These entries checked against Google Books page images for accuracy and corrected for obvious errors, but italics and capitalization have not yet been uniformly transcribed.