The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets: With Critical Observations on Their Works, Volume 1

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Page 149 - Nothing can less display knowledge, or less exercise invention, than to tell how a shepherd has lost his companion, and must now feed his flocks alone, without any judge of his skill in piping ; and how one god asks another god what is become of Lycidas, and how neither god can tell. He who thus grieves will excite no sympathy ; he who thus praises will confer no honour.
Page 22 - Yet great labour, directed by great abilities, is never wholly lost : if they frequently threw away their wit upon false conceits, they likewise sometimes struck out unexpected truth : if their conceits were far-fetched, they were often worth the carriage. To write on their plan, it was at least necessary to read and think.
Page 100 - I had taken two degrees, as the manner is, signified many ways how much better it would content them that I would stay ; as by many letters full of kindness and loving respect, both before that time and long after, I was assured of their singular good affection towards me.
Page 155 - ... such is the power of his poetry, that his call is obeyed without resistance ; the reader feels himself in captivity to a higher and a nobler mind, and criticism sinks in admiration.
Page 149 - He seems to have been well acquainted with his own genius, and to know what it was that nature had bestowed upon him more bountifully than upon others...
Page 21 - Great thoughts are always general, and consist in positions not limited by exceptions, and in descriptions not descending to minuteness.
Page 394 - She gave but glimpses of her glorious mind : And multitudes of virtues pass'd along; Each pressing foremost in the mighty throng, Ambitious to be seen, and then make room For greater multitudes that were to come. Yet unemploy'd no minute slipp'd away; Moments were precious in so short a stay.
Page 20 - Their thoughts are often new, but seldom natural ; they are not obvious, but neither are they just ; and the reader, far from wondering that he missed them, wonders more frequently by what perverseness of industry they were ever found.
Page 357 - Hope is always liberal ; and they that trust her promises make little scruple of revelling to-day on the profits of the morrow. Of his plays the profit was not great ; and of the produce of his other works very little intelligence can be Kad.
Page 414 - I knew, says he, that they were bad enough to please, even when I wrote them. 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. He makes, like almost all other poets, very frequent use of mythology, and sometimes connects religion and fable too closely without distinction. He descends to display his knowledge with...

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