The Works of the English Poets: With Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, Volumes 17-19

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Samuel Johnson
C. Bathurst, 1779

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Page 97 - I had intended to have put in practice (though far unable for the attempt of such a poem) ; and to have left the stage, to which my genius never much inclined me, for a work which would have taken up my life in the performance of it. This, too, I had intended chiefly for the honour of my native country, to which a poet is particularly obliged.
Page 286 - But every man cannot distinguish between pedantry and poetry: every man, therefore, is not fit to innovate. Upon the whole matter, a poet must first be certain that the word he would introduce is beautiful in the Latin, and is to consider, in the next place, whether it will agree with the English idiom: after this, he ought to take the opinion of judicious friends, such as are learned in both languages: and, lastly, since no man is infallible...
Page 82 - For great contemporaries whet and cultivate each other ; and mutual borrowing, and commerce, makes the common riches of learning, as it does of the civil government.
Page 37 - Oppressed with numbers in th' unequal field, His men discouraged, and himself expell'd, Let him for succour sue from place to place, Torn from his subjects, and his son's embrace. First let him see his friends in battle slain, And their untimely fate lament in vain ; And when at length the cruel war shall cease, On hard conditions may he buy his peace ; Nor let him then enjoy supreme command, But fall untimely by some hostile hand, And lie unburied on the barren sand.
Page 172 - His father hew'd it out, and bound with iron chains) He broke the heavy links, the mountain clos'd, And bars and levers to his foe oppos'd. The wretch had hardly made his dungeon fast ; The fierce avenger came with bounding haste ; 300 Survey'd the mouth of the forbidden hold ; And here and there his raging eyes he roll'd.
Page 236 - ... any thing might be allowed to his son Virgil, on the account of his other merits ; that, being a monarch, he had a dispensing power, and pardoned him. But, that this special act of grace might never be drawn into example, or pleaded by his puny successors in justification of their ignorance, he decreed for the future, no poet should presume to make a lady die for love two hundred years before her birth.
Page 53 - Within the space, an olive tree had stood, A sacred shade, a venerable wood, For vows to Faunus paid, the Latins
Page 346 - Go thou from me to fate, And to my father my foul deeds relate. Now die!
Page 315 - Invites them forth to labour in the sun. Some lead their youth abroad, while some condense Their liquid store, and some in cells dispense. Some at the gate stand ready to receive The golden burden, and their friends relieve. All with united force combine to drive The lazy drones from the laborious hive; With envy stung, they view each other's deeds; The fragrant work with diligence proceeds. "Thrice happy you, whose walls already rise...
Page 87 - ... words may then be laudably revived, when either they are more sounding or more significant than those in practice ; and when their obscurity is taken away, by joining other words to them which clear the sense, according to the rule of Horace, for the admission of new words.

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