Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, to the Works of the English Poets, Volume 1

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J. Nichols, 1779 - English poetry - 10 pages

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Page 38 - If the father of criticism has rightly denominated poetry, an imitative art, these writers will, without great wrong, lose their right to the name of poets for they cannot be said to have imitated any thing; they neither copied nature nor life; neither painted the forms of matter, nor represented the operations of intellect.
Page 4 - The true genius is a mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction.
Page 59 - On a round ball A workman that hath copies by, can lay An Europe, Afric, and an Asia, And quickly make that, which was nothing, all...
Page 113 - ... running all beside, Make a long row of goodly pride, Figures, conceits, raptures, and sentences, In a well-worded dress, And innocent loves, and pleasant truths, and useful lies, In all their gaudy liveries.
Page 75 - The essence of poetry is invention; such invention as, by producing something unexpected, surprises and delights. The topics of devotion are few, and being few are universally known ; but, few as they are, they can be made no more ; they can receive no grace from novelty of sentiment, and very little from novelty of expression.
Page 30 - He was now,' says the courtly Sprat, 'weary of the vexations and formalities of an active condition. He had been perplexed with a long compliance to foreign manners. He was satiated with the arts of a court; which sort of life, though his virtue made it innocent to him, yet nothing could make it quiet.
Page 104 - The compositions are such as might have been written for penance by a hermit, or for hire by a philosophical rhymer who had only heard of another sex...
Page 36 - COWLEY, like other poets who have written with narrow views, and, instead of tracing intellectual pleasure to its natural sources in the mind of man, paid their court to temporary prejudices, has been at one time too much praised, and too much neglected at another.
Page 161 - He doubtless praised some whom he would have been afraid to marry, and perhaps married one whom he would have been ashamed to praise. Many qualities contribute to domestic happiness, upon which poetry has no colours to bestow ; and many airs and sallies may delight imagination, which he who flatters them never can approve.
Page 145 - tis imposture all; And as no chemic yet the elixir got, But glorifies his pregnant pot If by the way to him befall Some odoriferous thing, or medicinal, So lovers dream a rich and long delight, But get a winter-seeming summer's night.

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