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Page 209 - Homer is not more decidedly the first of heroic poets, Shakspeare is not more decidedly the first of dramatists, Demosthenes is not more decidedly the first of orators, than Boswell is the first of biographers. He has no second. He has distanced all his competitors so decidedly that it is not worth while to place them. Eclipse is first, and the rest nowhere.
Page 83 - And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me : neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem : neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.
Page 36 - The men of Dedan were thy merchants ; Many isles were the merchandise of thine hand ; They brought thee for a present horns of ivory, and ebony.
Page 209 - ... and feeblest intellect. Johnson described him as a fellow who had missed his only chance of immortality by not having been alive when the Dunciad was written. Beauclerk used his name as a proverbial expression for a bore. He was the laughing-stock of the whole of that brilliant society which has owed to him the greater part of its fame. He was always laying himself at the feet of some eminent man, and begging to be spit upon and trampled upon. He was always earning some ridiculous nickname, and...
Page 210 - But these men attained literary eminence in spite of their weaknesses. Boswell attained it by reason of his weaknesses. If he had not been a great fool, he would never have been a great writer. Without all the qualities which made him the jest and the torment of those among whom he lived, — without the officiousness, the inquisitiveness, the effrontery, the toad-eating, the insensibility to all reproof, he never could have produced so excellent a book. He was a slave proud of...
Page 199 - I take my subjects' money, when I want it, without all this formality of parliament?" The bishop of Durham readily answered, "God forbid, Sir, but you should: you are the breath of our nostrils." Whereupon the King turned and said to the bishop of Winchester, "Well, my Lord, what say you?" "Sir," replied the bishop, "I have no skill to judge of parliamentary cases." The King answered, "No put-offs, my Lord; answer me presently.
Page 235 - The King's Players had a new play, called All is True, representing some principal pieces of the reign of Henry the Eighth, which was set forth with many extraordinary circumstances of pomp and majesty, even to the matting of the stage; the Knights of the Order with their Georges and Garter, the guards with their embroidered coats, and the like — sufficient in truth within awhile to make greatness very familiar, if not ridiculous.
Page 67 - ... there, all equally alarmed at what they heard; this was greatly increased by my asking whether he could furnish me with accommodations for myself and my baby. The man looked blank, and foolish, while the others stared with still greater astonishment. After diverting myself for a minute or two at their expense, I drew my Woodpecker from under the cover, and a general laugh took place.