The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets: With Critical Observations on Their Works, Volume 2

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Nichols and Son, Red-Lion-Passage, Fleet-Street, 1801
 

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Page 111 - Works of imagination excel by their allurement and delight ; by their power of attracting and detaining the attention. That book is good in vain, which the reader throws away. He only is the master, who keeps the mind in pleasing captivity; whose pages are perused with eagerness, and in hope of new pleasure are perused again ; and whose conclusion is perceived with an eye of sorrow, such as the traveller casts upon departing day.
Page 97 - From harmony, from heavenly harmony, This universal frame began : When Nature underneath a heap of jarring atoms lay, And could not heave her head, The tuneful voice was heard from high. Arise ye more than dead. Then cold and hot, and moist and dry, In order to their stations leap, And music's power obey. From harmony, from heavenly harmony, This universal frame began : From harmony to harmony Through all the compass of the notes it ran, The diapason closing full in man.
Page 77 - There was therefore before the time of Dryden no poetical diction, no system of words at once refined from the grossness of domestic use, and free from the harshness of terms appropriated to particular arts. Words too familiar, or too remote, defeat the purpose of a poet.
Page 60 - I have pleaded guilty to all thoughts and expressions of mine, which can be truly argued of obscenity, profaneness, or immorality, and retract them. If he be my enemy, let him triumph ; if he be my friend, as I have given him no personal occasion to be otherwise, he will be glad of my repentance.
Page 75 - They have not the formality of a settled style, in which the first half of the sentence betrays the other. The clauses are never balanced, nor the periods modelled: every word seems to drop by chance, though it falls into its proper place. Nothing is cold or languid; the whole is airy, animated, and vigorous; what is little, is gay; what is great, is splendid.
Page 69 - Shakespeare may stand as a perpetual model of encomiastic criticism; exact without minuteness, and lofty without exaggeration. The praise lavished by Longinus on the attestation of the heroes of Marathon by Demosthenes fades away before it. In a few lines is exhibited a character so extensive in its comprehension, and so curious in its limitations, that nothing can be added, diminished or reformed; nor can the editors and admirers of...
Page 124 - Perhaps no nation ever produced a writer that enriched his language with such variety of models. To him we owe the improvement, perhaps the completion, of our metre, the refinement of our language, and much of the correctness of our sentiments.
Page 118 - There is surely reason to suspect that he pleased himself as well as his audience ; and that these, like the harlots of other men, had his love, though not his approbation. He had sometimes faults of a less generous and splendid kind.
Page 69 - Dryden is the criticism of a poet ; not a dull collection of theorems, nor a rude detection of faults, which perhaps the censor was not able to have committed; but a gay and vigorous dissertation, where delight is mingled with instruction, and where the author proves his right of judgment by his power of performance.
Page 102 - As only buz to Heaven with evening wings ; Strike in the dark, offending but by chance ; Such are the blindfold blows of Ignorance : They know not beings,, and but hate a name ; To them the Hind and Panther are the same.

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