Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, to the Works of the English Poets: Milton. Butler (Google eBook)

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J. Nichols, 1779 - Poets, English
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Page 154 - 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 140 - To be of no church is dangerous. Religion, of which the rewards are distant and which is animated only by Faith and Hope, will glide by degrees out of the mind unless it be invigorated and reimpressed by external ordinances, by stated calls to worship, and the salutary influence of example.
Page 35 - ... devout prayer to that eternal Spirit who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim, with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases...
Page 155 - We know that they never drove a field, and that they had no flocks to batten; and though it be allowed that the representation may be allegorical, the true meaning is so uncertain and remote, that it is never sought because it cannot be known when it is found.
Page 197 - The plan of Paradise Lost has this inconvenience, that it comprises neither human actions nor human manners. The man and woman who act and suffer are in a state which no other man or woman can ever know. The reader finds no transaction in which he can be engaged, beholds no condition in which he can by any effort of imagination place himself; he has, therefore, little natural curiosity or sympathy.
Page 29 - But the truth is that the knowledge of external nature, and the sciences which that knowledge requires or includes, are not the great or the frequent business of the human mind. Whether we provide for action or conversation, whether we wish to be useful or pleasing, the first requisite is the religious and moral knowledge of right and wrong ; the next is an acquaintance with the history of mankind, and with those examples which may be said to embody truth and prove by events the reasonableness of...
Page 220 - ... and preserved by the artifice of rhyme. The variety of pauses, so much boasted by the lovers of blank verse, changes the measures of an English poet to the periods of a declaimer ; and there are only a few skilful and happy readers of Milton, who enable their audience to perceive where the lines end or begin. " Blank verse," said an ingenious critic, "seems to be verse only to the eye.
Page 172 - Bossu is of opinion, that the poet's first work is to find a moral, which his fable is afterwards to illustrate and establish.
Page 31 - It was his labour to turn philosophy from the study of nature to speculations upon life; but the innovators whom I oppose are turning off attention from life to nature. They seem to think that we are placed here to watch the growth of plants or the motions of the stars; Socrates was rather of opinion, that what we had to learn was how to do good and avoid evil.
Page 223 - From his contemporaries he neither courted nor received support : There is in his writings nothing by which the pride of other authors might be gratified, or favour gained ; no exchange of praise, nor solicitation of support.

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