The British Poets, Including Translations, Volumes 56-58
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1822 edition. Excerpt: ...This is a distinction, I think, not hitherto made, and a distinction of consequence. For the first may make us their equals; the second must pronounce us their inferiors even in our utmost success. But the first of these prizes is not so readily taken by the moderns; as valuables too massy for easy carriage, are not so liable to the thief. The ancients had a particular regard to the choice of their subjects; which were generally national and great. My subject is, in its own nature, noble; most proper for an Englishman; never more proper than on this occasion; and (what is strange) hitherto unsung. If I stand not absolutely condemned by my own rules; if I have hit the spirit of ode in general; if I cannot think with Mr. Cowley, that Music alone, sometimes, makes an excellent ode;' Versus mopes rerlim, nugoeque canorae; if there is any thought, enthusiasm, and picture, which are as the body, soul, and robe of poetry; in a word, if in any degree I have provided rather food for men, than air for wits, I hope smaller faults will meet indulgence for the sake of the design, which is the glory of my country and my king. And indeed, this may be said, in general, that great subjects are above being nice; that dignity and spirit ever suffer from scrupulous exactness; and that the minuter cares effeminate a composition. Great masters of poetry, painting and statuary, in their nobler works, have even affected the contrary: and justly; for a truly masculine air partakes more of the negligent, than of the neat, both in writings and in life--Grandis oratio liaberet majestatis sure pondus. Petron. A poem, like a criminal, under too severe correction, may lose all its spirit, and expire. We know it was Faberrimus, that was such an artist at a hair or a nail. And...
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