The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets: With Critical Observations on Their Works, Volume 2
C. Bathurst ... [and 34 others], 1783
Comprises short biographies and critical appraisals of 52 English poets, most of whom lived during the eighteenth century.
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Page 110 - Criticism, either didactic or defensive, occupies almost all his prose, except those pages which he has devoted to his patrons; but none of his prefaces were ever thought tedious. 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.
Page 357 - He not only made the proper use of wit himself, but taught it to others ; and from his time it has been generally subservient to the cause of reason and of truth. He has dissipated the prejudice that had long connected gaiety with vice, and easiness of manners with laxity of principles.
Page 176 - 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 393 - All the enchantment of fancy, and all the cogency of argument, are employed to recommend to the reader his real interest, the care of pleasing the Author of his being.
Page 231 - 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...
Page 152 - 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 231 - His studies had been so various, that I am not able to name a man of equal knowledge. His acquaintance with books was great; and what he did not immediately know, he could at least tell where to find.
Page 100 - Learning once made popular is no longer learning ; it has the appearance of something which we have bestowed upon ourselves, as the dew appears to rise from the field which it refreshes.
Page 263 - The life of Dr. Parnell is a task which I should very willingly decline, since it has been lately written by Goldsmith, a man of such variety of powers, and such felicity of performance, that he always seemed to do best that which he was doing; a man who had the art of being minute without tediousness, and general without confusion; whose language was copious without exuberance, exact without constraint, and easy without weakness.
Page 110 - 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.