Contemporary Criticisms of Dr. Samuel Johnson, His Works, and His Biographers

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John Ker Spittal
J. Murray, 1923 - Literary Criticism - 412 pages
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Page 114 - My Lord, I have been lately informed, by the proprietor of The World, that two papers, in which my Dictionary is recommended to the public, were written by your Lordship.
Page 115 - The shepherd in Virgil grew at last acquainted with Love, and found him a native of the rocks. Is not a patron, my Lord...
Page 287 - Man's feeble race what ills await ! . Labour, and Penury, the racks of Pain, Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train, And Death, sad refuge from the storms of fate ! The fond complaint, my song, disprove, And justify the laws of Jove.
Page 226 - He seems to have been well acquainted with his own genius, and to know what it was that Nature had bestowed upon him more bountifully than upon others ; the power of displaying the vast, illuminating the splendid, enforcing the awful, darkening the gloomy, and aggravating the dreadful...
Page 203 - If their greatness seldom elevates, their acuteness often surprises; if the imagination is not always gratified, at least the powers of reflection and comparison are employed; and in the mass of materials which ingenious absurdity has thrown together, genuine wit and useful knowledge may be sometimes found, buried perhaps in grossness of expression, but useful to those who know their value; and such as, when they are expanded to perspicuity, and polished to elegance, may give lustre to works which...
Page 218 - Arcadia, and imputing it to the king ; whom he charges, in his Iconoclastes, with the use of this prayer, as with a heavy crime, in the indecent language with which prosperity had emboldened the advocates for rebellion to insult all that is venerable or great : " Who would have imagined so little fear in him of the true all-seeing Deity...
Page 135 - But his superiority over other learned men consisted chiefly in what may be called the art of thinking, the art of using his mind: a certain continual power of seizing the useful substance of all that he knew, and exhibiting it in a clear and forcible manner; so that knowledge, which we often see to be no better than lumber in men of dull understanding, was in him true, evident and actual wisdom.
Page 206 - And, though the moving hand approach not near, Themselves with awful fear A kind of numerous trembling make. Now all thy forces try ; Now all thy charms apply ; Revenge upon her ear the conquests of her eye. Weak lyre ! thy virtue sure Is useless here, since thou art only found To cure, but not to wound, And she to wound, but not to cure. Too weak, too, wilt thou prove My passion to remove ; Physic to other ills, thou 'rt nourishment to love.
Page 221 - The women had not then aspired to literature, nor was every house supplied with a closet of knowledge. Those, indeed, who professed learning, were not less learned than at any other time ; but of that middle race of students who read for pleasure or accomplishment, and who buy the numerous products of modern typography, the number was then comparatively small. To prove the paucity of readers...
Page 263 - If the flights of Dryden therefore are higher, Pope continues longer on the wing. If of Dryden's fire the blaze is brighter, of Pope's the heat is more regular and constant. Dryden often surpasses expectation, and Pope never falls below it. Dryden is read with frequent astonishment, and Pope with perpetual delight.

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