The Works of John Dryden: In Verse and Prose, Volume 2

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Harper & Brothers, 1859
 

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Page 241 - He was the man who of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul. All the images of nature were still present to him, and he drew them not laboriously, but luckily: when he describes anything, you more than see it, you feel it too.
Page 134 - The gates of hell are open night and day ; Smooth the descent, and easy is the way : But, to return, and view the cheerful skies — In this the task and mighty labour lies.
Page 233 - Xenophon affirms to have died in his bed of extreme old age. Nay more, when the event is past dispute, even then we are willing to be deceived, and the poet, if he contrives it with appearance of truth, has all the audience of his party ; at least during the time his play is acting : so naturally we are kind to virtue, when our own interest is not in question, that we take it up as the general concernment of mankind. On the other side, if you consider the historical plays of...
Page 255 - The pity which the poet is to labour for, is for the criminal, not for those or him whom he has murdered, or who have been the occasion of the tragedy. The terror is likewise in the punishment of the same criminal, who, if he be represented too great an offender, will not be pitied ; if altogether innocent, his punishment will be unjust.
Page 84 - Endure, and conquer ! Jove will soon dispose, To future good, our past and present woes. With me, the rocks of Scylla you have tried ; Th' inhuman Cyclops, and his den defied.
Page 97 - And, where the rafters on the columns meet, We push them headlong with our arms and feet. The lightning flies not swifter than the fall, Nor thunder louder than the ruin'd wall : Down goes the top at once ; the Greeks beneath Are piecemeal torn, or pounded into death.
Page 77 - I found the difficulty of translation growing on me in every succeeding book: for Virgil, above all poets, had a stock, which I may call almost inexhaustible, of figurative, elegant, and sounding words. I, who inherit but a small portion of his genius, and write in a language so much inferior to the Latin, have found it very painful to vary phrases, when the same sense returns upon me. Even he himself, whether out of necessity or choice, has often expressed the same thing in the same words, and often...
Page 242 - As for Jonson, to whose character I am now arrived, if we look upon him while he was himself (for his last plays were but his dotages), I think him the most learned and judicious writer which any theatre ever had. He was a most severe judge of himself, as well as others. One cannot say he wanted wit, but rather that he was frugal of it.
Page 240 - ... counter-turns of plot, as some of them have attempted, since Corneille's plays have been less in vogue, you see they write as irregularly as we, though they cover it more speciously. Hence the reason is perspicuous why no French plays, when translated, have,' or ever can succeed on the English stage.
Page 242 - But he has done his robberies so openly that one may see he fears not to be taxed by any law. He invades authors like a monarch; and what would be theft in other poets is only victory in him. With the spoils of these writers he so represents old Rome...

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