The Works of Samuel Johnson: Lives of the poets

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W. Pickering, London; and Talboys and Wheeler, Oxford, 1825 - English literature

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Page 346 - After all this, it is surely superfluous to answer the question that has once been asked, Whether Pope was a poet ? otherwise than by asking in return, If Pope be not a poet, where is poetry to be found...
Page 295 - As fruits ungrateful to the planter's care, On savage stocks inserted, learn to bear, The surest virtues thus from passions shoot. Wild nature's vigour working at the root. What crops of wit and honesty appear From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear ! See anger zeal and fortitude supply ; E'en avarice prudence, sloth philosophy ; Lust, through some certain strainers well refin'd, Is gentle love, and charms all womankind; Envy, to which th...
Page 262 - As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night! O'er heaven's clear azure spreads her sacred light, When not a breath disturbs the deep serene, And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene; Around her throne the vivid planets roll, And stars unnumbered gild the glowing pole; O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed, And tip with silver every mountain's head.
Page 257 - Iliad." It is certainly the noblest version of poetry which the world has ever seen ; and its publication must therefore be considered as one of the great events in the annals of Learning.
Page 321 - These benefits of nature he improved by incessant and unwearied diligence; he had recourse to every source of intelligence, and lost no opportunity of information ; he consulted the living as well as the dead ; he read his compositions to his friends, and was never content with mediocrity when excellence could be attained.
Page 378 - Liberty," when it first appeared, I tried to read, and soon desisted. I have never tried again, and therefore will not hazard either praise or censure. The highest praise which he has received ought not to be suppressed : it is said by Lord Lyttelton, in the Prologue to his posthumous play, that his works contained No line which, dying, he could wish to blot.
Page 160 - He lodged as much by accident as he dined, and passed the night sometimes in mean houses which are set open at night to any casual wanderers, sometimes in cellars, among the riot and filth of the meanest and most profligate of the rabble...
Page 325 - Pope constrains his mind to his own rules of composition. Dryden is sometimes vehement and rapid ; Pope is always smooth, uniform, and gentle. Dryden's page is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation ; Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by the sithe, and levelled by the roller.
Page 68 - As he carried it on, he showed what he wrote to both of us ; and we now and then gave a correction, or a word or two of advice : but it was wholly of his own writing. When it was done, neither of us thought it would succeed. We showed it to Congreve, who, after reading it over, said, ' It would either take greatly, or be damned confoundedly...
Page 291 - ... you have made my system as clear as I ought to have done, and could not. It is indeed the same system as mine, but illustrated with a ray of your own, as they say our natural body is the same still when it is glorified4. I am sure I like it better than I did before, and so will every man else.

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