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Page 61 - Shakespeare is above all writers, at least above all modern writers, the poet of nature; the poet that holds up to his readers a faithful mirrour of manners and of life. His characters are not modified by the customs of particular places, unpractised by the rest of the world; by the peculiarities of studies or professions, which can operate but upon small numbers; or by the accidents of transient fashions or temporary opinions: they...
Page 63 - When Shakespeare's plan is understood, most of the criticisms of Rymer and Voltaire vanish away. The play of Hamlet is opened, without impropriety, by two centinels ; lago bellows at Brabantio's window, without injury to the scheme of the play, though in terms which a modern audience would not easily endure ; the character of Polonius is seasonable and useful ; and the grave-diggers themselves may be heard with applause.
Page 64 - In tragedy he is always struggling after some occasion to be comick, but in comedy he seems to repose, or to luxuriate, as in a mode of thinking congenial to his nature. In his tragick scenes there is always something wanting, but his comedy often surpasses expectation or desire. His comedy pleases by the thoughts and the language, and his tragedy for the greater part by incident and action. His tragedy seems to be skill, his comedy to be instinct.
Page 64 - ... his disposition, as Rhymer has remarked, led him to comedy. In tragedy he often writes with great appearance of toil and study, what is...
Page 62 - His story requires Romans or kings, but he thinks only on men. He knew that Rome, like every other city, had men of all dispositions ; and wanting a buffoon, he went into the senate-house for that which the senate-house would certainly have afforded him.
Page 141 - Gentleman, who tas not been prefent at the Reprefentation, wonders with what• his London Friends have been fo highly entertained, and is as much perplexed at the Town-manner of Writing as Mr. Smith in The Rehearfal. The Excellencies of our old Writers are, on the contrary, not confined to Time and Place, but always bear about them the Evidences of true Genius.
Page 143 - Attend my noble friend. Stay you, Francisco. You see how things stand with me ? Fran. To my grief : And if the loss of my poor life could be A sacrifice to restore them as they were, I willingly would lay it down.
Page 285 - The coming, all his evening preparation. By Law let others toil to gain renown ' Florio's a gentleman, a man o'th
Page 63 - He was inclined to show an usurper and a murderer not only odious but despicable; he therefore added drunkenness to his other qualities, knowing that kings love wine like other men, and that wine exerts its natural power upon kings. These are the petty cavils of petty minds; a poet overlooks the casual distinction of country and condition, as a painter, satisfied with the figure, neglects the drapery.