PREFACES BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL TO THE WORKS OF THE ENGLISH POETS.

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Page 129 - We were all at the first night of it in great uncertainty of the event; till we were very much encouraged by overhearing the Duke of Argyle, who sat in the next box to us, say: "it will do, — it must do! — I see it in the eyes of them.
Page 225 - His character, therefore, must be formed from the multiplicity and diversity of his attainments, rather than from any single performance ; for it would not be safe to claim for him the highest rank in any single denomination of literary dignity ; yet perhaps there was nothing in which he would not have excelled, if he had not divided his powers, to different pursuits.
Page 86 - ... him ; the peruser of Swift wants little previous knowledge; it will be sufficient that he is acquainted with common words and common things : he is neither required to mount elevations nor to explore profundities; his passage is always on a level, along solid ground, without asperities, without obstruction.
Page 166 - ... language was copious without exuberance, exact without constraint, and easy without weakness. What such an author has told, who would tell again? I have made an abstract from his larger narrative; and have this gratification from my attempt, that it gives me an opportunity of paying due tribute to the memory of Goldsmith.
Page 220 - ... for children he condescended to lay aside the scholar, the philosopher, and the wit, to write little poems of devotion, and systems of instruction, adapted to their wants and capacities, from the dawn of reason through its gradations of advance in the morning of life. Every man, acquainted with the common principles of human action, will look with veneration on the writer, who is at one time combatting Locke, and at another making a catechism for children in their fourth year. A voluntary descent...
Page 63 - Travels ;" a production so new and strange, that it filled the reader with a mingled emotion of merriment and amazement. It was received with such avidity, that the price of the first edition was raised before the second could be made ; it was read by the high and the low, the learned and illiterate. Criticism was for a while lost in wonder ; no rules of judgment were applied to a book written in open defiance of truth and regularity.
Page 96 - I'll tell you one that first comes into my head. One evening, Gay and I went to see him : you know how intimately we were all acquainted. On our coming in,
Page 131 - Polly, till then obfcure, became all at once the favourite of the town ; her pictures were engraved, and fold in great numbers ; her life written, books of letters and verfes to her puhlifhed; and pamphlets made even of her fayings and jefts. Furthermore, it drove out of England, for that feafon, the Italian Opera, which had carried all before it for ten years.
Page 21 - What wonderful productions of wit should we be deprived of, from those whose genius by continual practice hath been wholly turned upon raillery and invectives against religion, and would therefore never be able to shine or distinguish themselves upon any other subject. We are daily complaining of the great decline of wit among us, and would we take away the greatest, perhaps the only topic we have left?
Page 213 - Here he dwelt in a family, which, for piety, order, harmony, and every virtue, was a house of God. Here he had the privilege of a country recess, the fragrant bower, the spreading lawn, the flowery garden, and other advantages to soothe his mind, and aid his restoration to health...

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