The Works of Samuel Johnson ...: Lives of the poets

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Talboys and Wheeler, 1825

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Page 119 - In this poem there is no nature, for there is no truth : there is no art, for there is nothing new. Its form is that of a pastoral : easy, vulgar, and, therefore, disgusting ; whatever images it can supply are long ago exhausted ; and its inherent improbability always forces dissatisfaction on the mind.
Page 61 - Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer; Willing to wound and yet afraid to strike, Just hint a fault and hesitate dislike; Alike...
Page 470 - It is not uncommon for those who have grown wise by the labour of others to add a little of their own, and overlook their masters. Addison is now despised by some who perhaps would never have seen his defects, but by the lights which he afforded them.
Page 330 - She made a mannerly excuse to stay, Proffering the Hind to wait her half the way: That, since the sky was clear, an hour of talk Might help her to beguile the tedious walk. With much good-will the motion was embrac'd...
Page 326 - 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.
Page 330 - A slimy-born and sun-begotten tribe ; Who far from steeples and their sacred sound, In fields their sullen conventicles found. These gross, half-animated lumps I leave ; Nor can I think what thoughts they can conceive. But if they think at all, 'tis sure no higher Than matter, put in motion, may aspire : Souls that can scarce ferment their mass of clay ; So drossy, so divisible are they, 319 As would but serve pure bodies for allay...
Page 30 - To the following comparison of a man that travels and his wife that stays at home, with a pair of compasses, it may be doubted whether absurdity or ingenuity has better claim : Our two souls, therefore, which are one.
Page 380 - At this man's table I enjoyed many cheerful and instructive hours, with companions such as are not often found — with one who has lengthened, and one who has gladdened life ; with Dr. James, whose skill in physic will be long remembered ; and with David Garrick, whom I hoped to have gratified with this character of our common friend. But what are the hopes of man ? I am disappointed by that stroke of death which has eclipsed the gaiety of nations, and impoverished the public stock of harmless pleasure.
Page 16 - But wit, abstracted from its effects upon the hearer, may be more rigorously and philosophically considered as a kind of discordia concors; a combination of dissimilar images or discovery of occult resemblances in things apparently unlike. Of wit, thus defined, they have more than enough. The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together ; nature and art are ransacked for illustrations, comparisons, and allusions ; their learning instructs and their subtlety surprises ; but the reader commonly...
Page 120 - This poem has yet a grosser fault. With these trifling fictions are mingled the most awful and sacred truths, such as ought never to be polluted with such irreverend combinations.

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