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Page 97 - All the images of nature were still present to him, and he drew them, not laboriously, but luckily; when he describes anything, you more than see it, you feel it too. Those who accuse him to have wanted learning give him the greater commendation: he was naturally learned; he needed not the spectacles of books to read nature; he looked inwards and found her there.
Page 101 - He was deeply conversant in the ancients, both Greek and Latin, and he borrowed boldly from them : there is scarce a poet or historian among the Roman authors of those times whom he has not translated in Sejanus and Catiline. But he has done his robberies so openly, that one may see he fears not to be taxed by any law. He invades authors like a monarch ; and what would be theft in other poets, is only victory in him.
Page 40 - Crites himself did not much oppose it: and every one was willing to acknowledge how much our poesy is improved, by the happiness of some writers yet living ; who first taught us to mould our thoughts into easy and significant words, to retrench the superfluities of expression, and to make our rhyme so properly a part of the verse, that it should never mislead the sense, but itself be led and governed by it.
Page 195 - Witness the lameness of their plots ; many of which, especially those which they writ first (for even that age refined itself in some measure), were made up of some ridiculous incoherent story, which in one play many times took up the business of an age. I suppose I need not name Pericles, Prince of Tyre, nor the historical plays of Shakespeare : besides many of the rest, as the Winter's Tale, Love's Labour Lost, Measure for Measure...
Page 144 - Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
Page 244 - His characters are so much nature herself, that it is a sort of injury to call them by so distant a name as copies of her.
Page 68 - ... stuffs; and two actions, that is, two plays, carried on together, to the confounding of the audience; who, before they are warm in their concernments for one part, are diverted to another; and by that means espouse the interest of neither.
Page 32 - The drift of the ensuing discourse is chiefly to vindicate the honour of our English writers from the censure of those who unjustly prefer the French before them. This I intimate, lest any should think me so exceeding vain, as to teach others an art, which they understand much better than myself.
Page 124 - I answer you, therefore, by distinguishing betwixt what is nearest to the nature of comedy, — which is the imitation of common persons and ordinary speaking, — and what is nearest the nature of a serious play. "This last is indeed the representation of nature, but 'tis nature wrought up to an higher pitch.
Page 213 - The desire of imitating so great a pattern first awakened the dull and heavy spirits of the English from their natural reservedness ; loosened them from their stiff forms of conversation, and made them easy and pliant to each other in discourse. Thus, insensibly, our way of living became more free; and the fire of the English wit, which was before stifled under a constrained, melancholy way of breeding, began first to display its force, by mixing the solidity of our nation with the air and gaiety...