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Page lix - There scattered oft, the earliest of the year, By hands unseen are showers of violets found; The red-breast loves to build and warble there, And little footsteps lightly print the ground.
Page cvi - And that which casts our proficiency therein so much behind is our time lost partly in too oft idle vacancies given both to schools and universities; partly in a preposterous exaction, forcing the empty wits of children to compose themes, verses, and orations, which are the acts of ripest judgment and the final work of a head filled by long reading and observing with elegant maxims and copious invention.
Page lxxv - Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the zephyr blows, While proudly riding o'er the azure realm In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes: Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm: Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway, That hush'd in grim repose expects his evening prey.
Page 153 - I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion, Cheated of feature by dissembling nature, Deform'd, unfinished, sent before my time Into this breathing world, scarce half made up, And that so lamely and unfashionable That dogs bark at me as I halt by them...
Page 9 - It is very possible that two and two make four, but I would not give four farthings to demonstrate this ever so clearly ; and if these be the profits of life, give me the amusements of it.
Page cxiv - The Prospect of Eton College suggests nothing to Gray, which every beholder does not equally think and feel. His supplication to father Thames, to tell him who drives the hoop or tosses the ball, is useless and puerile. Father Thames has no better means of knowing than himself. His epithet buxom health is not elegant; he seems not to understand the word.
Page cviii - It is indisputably evident that a great part of every man's life must be employed in collecting materials for the exercise of genius. Invention, strictly speaking, is little more than a new combination of those images which have been previously gathered and deposited in the memory...
Page 147 - I admire in him above all this, is his detestation of tyranny, and the high spirit of liberty that every now and then breaks out, as it were, whether he would or no. I remember a sentence in his Agricola that (concise as it is) I always admired for saying much in a little compass. He speaks of Domitian, who upon seeing the last will of that general, where he had made him coheir with his wife and daughter, " Satis constabat laetatum eum, velut honore, judicioque: tam caeca et corrupta mens assiduis...
Page lix - There at the foot of yonder nodding beech, That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch, And pore upon the brook that babbles by. 'Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove; Now drooping, woful-wan, like one forlorn, Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
Page 3 - When you have seen one of my days, you have seen a whole year of my life ; they go round and round like the blind horse in the mill, only he has the satisfaction of fancying he makes a progress and gets some ground ; my eyes are open enough to see the same dull prospect, and to know that, having made four-and-twenty steps more, I shall be just where I was.