The lives of the most eminent English poets; with critical observations on their works, Volume 1

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William Durell., 1811 - English poetry
 

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Page 371 - From harmony, from heavenly harmony This universal frame began : From harmony to harmony Through all the compass of the notes it ran, The diapason closing full in Man.
Page 26 - To write on their plan, it was at least necessary to read and think. No man could be born a metaphysical poet, nor assume the dignity of a writer by descriptions copied from descriptions, by imitations borrowed from imitations, by traditional imagery and hereditary similes, by readiness of rhyme and volubility of syllables.
Page 158 - The want* of human interest is always felt. Paradise Lost is one of the books which the reader admires and lays down, and forgets to take up again. None ever wished it longer than it is. Its perusal is a duty rather than a pleasure. We read Milton for instruction, retire harassed and overburdened, and look elsewhere for recreation ; we desert / our master, and seek for companions.
Page 24 - ... they had no regard to that uniformity of sentiment which enables us to conceive and to excite the pains and the pleasure of other minds ; they never inquired what, on any occasion, they should have said or done ; but wrote rather as beholders than partakers of human nature ; as beings looking upon good and evil, impassive and at leisure ; as Epicurean deities, making remarks on the actions of men, and the vicissitudes of life, without interest and without emotion. Their courtship was void of...
Page 93 - ... but by devout prayer to that eternal spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his Seraphim with the hallowed fire of his altar to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases; to this must be added industrious and select reading, steady observation, insight into all seemly and generous arts and affairs ; till which in some measure be compassed at mine own peril and cost I refuse not to sustain this expectation...
Page 61 - His spear, — to equal which, the tallest pine Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast Of some great ammiral, were but a wand...
Page 206 - Having been compelled by his necessities to contract debts, and hunted, as is supposed, by the terriers of the law, he retired to a publick house on Tower-hill, where he is said to have died of want; or, as it is related by one of his biographers, by swallowing, after a long fast, a piece of bread which charity had supplied. He went out, as is reported, almost naked, in the rage of hunger, and, finding a gentleman in a neighbouring coffee-house, asked him for a shilling: the gentleman gave him a...
Page 92 - Memory and her siren daughters, but by devout prayer to that Eternal Spirit who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his Seraphim with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases.
Page 24 - ... a combination of dissimilar images, or discovery of occult resemblances in things apparently unlike. Of wit, thus defined, they have more than enough. The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together ; nature and art are ransacked for illustrations, comparisons, and allusions ; their learning instructs, and their subtilty surprises ; but the reader commonly thinks his improvement dearly bought, and, though he sometimes admires, is seldom pleased.
Page 208 - Parliament ?' The Bishop of Durham readily answered, ' God forbid, sir, but you should ; you are the breath of our nostrils.' Whereupon the king turned and said to the Bishop of Winchester, ' Well, my lord, what say you ?' 'Sir,' replied the bishop, ' I have no skill to judge of parliamentary cases.

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