The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets,: With Critical Observations on Their Works, Volume 1

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J. Rivington & Sons, L. Davis, B. White & Son, T. Longman, B. Law, ... [and 35 others in London], 1790 - Poets, English
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Review: The Lives of the Poets: Boxed Set

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It is not Johnson's fault that I am not included: I came along too late for that. Notwithstanding this unavoidable, but lamentable, omission, this is among the very greatest of biographical works, endlessly entertaining and informed by wisdom. Read full review

Review: The Lives of the Poets: Boxed Set

User Review  - Goodreads

The critical gold standard, of course, at the gold standard price of $650. Happily there are cheaper editions. Read full review

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Page 113 - Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer; Willing to wound and yet afraid to strike, Just hint a fault and hesitate dislike; Alike...
Page 55 - To move, but doth if th' other do. And, though it in the centre sit, Yet, when the other far doth roam, It leans and hearkens after it, And grows erect as that comes home. Such wilt thou be to me, who must Like th
Page 347 - He doubtless praised some whom he would have been afraid to marry, and perhaps married one whom he would have been ashamed to praise. Many qualities contribute to domestic happiness, upon which poetry has no colours to bestow ; and many airs and sallies may delight imagination, which he who flatters them never can approve.
Page 119 - Horace's wit and Virgil's state He did not steal, but emulate, And when he would like them appear, Their garb, but not their clothes, did wear ; He not from Rome alone, but Greece, Like Jason brought the golden fleece ; To him that language, though to none Of th' others, as his own was known.
Page 271 - ... 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. His great works were performed under discountenance, and in blindness, but difficulties vanished at his touch; he was born for whatever is arduous ; and his work is not the greatest of heroick poems, only because it is not the first.
Page 216 - 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 25 - I am yet unable to move or turn myself in my bed. This is my personal fortune here to begin with. And, besides, I can get no money from my tenants, and have my meadows eaten up every night by cattle put in by my neighbours. What this signifies, or may come to in time, God knows ; if it be ominous, it can end in nothing less than hanging.
Page 30 - The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together ; nature and art are ransacked for illustrations, comparisons, and allusions ; their learning instructs and their subtlety surprises ; but the reader commonly thinks his improvement dearly bought, and, though he sometimes admires, is seldom pleased.
Page 260 - But such airy beings are for the most part suffered only to do their natural office, and retire. Thus Fame tells a tale and Victory hovers over a general or perches on a standard; but Fame and Victory can do no more. To give them any real employment or ascribe to them any material agency is to make them allegorical no longer, but to shock the mind by ascribing effects to non-entity.
Page 40 - On a round ball A workman that hath copies by, can lay An Europe, Afric, and an Asia, And quickly make that, which was nothing, all...

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