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Page 86 - Whenever I read a book or a passage that particularly pleased me, in which a thing was said or an effect rendered with propriety, in which there was either some conspicuous force or some happy distinction in the style, I must sit down at once and set myself to ape that quality. I was unsuccessful, and I knew it; and tried again, and was again unsuccessful and always unsuccessful; but at least in these vain bouts, 1 got some practice in rhythm, in harmony, in construction and the co-ordination of...
Page 289 - Witch. WHEN shall we three meet again, In thunder, lightning, or in rain ? 2 Witch.
Page 40 - WHY am I loth to leave this earthly scene ? Have I so found it full of pleasing charms ? Some drops of joy with draughts of ill between; Some gleams -of sunshine 'mid renewing storms. Is it departing pangs my soul alarms ; Or death's unlovely, dreary, dark abode ? For guilt, for guilt, my terrors are in arms ; I tremble to approach an angry God, And justly smart beneath his sin-avenging rod. Fain would I say, Forgive my foul offence...
Page 53 - All the faculties of Burns's mind were, as far as I could judge, equally vigorous; and his predilection for poetry was rather the result of his own enthusiastic and impassioned temper, than of a genius exclusively adapted to that species of composition. From his conversation I should have pronounced him to be fitted to excel in whatever walk of ambition he had chosen to exert his abilities.
Page 14 - ... her, — and the abominable scene of 1789, which I was describing, — did draw tears from me, and wetted my paper. These tears came again into my eyes, almost as often as I looked at the description ; they may again.
Page 149 - ... affords no news, no subject of entertainment or amusement, for fine men of wit and pleasure about town understand' not the language, and taste not the pleasures of the inanimate world. My flatterers here are all mutes. The oaks, the beeches, the chestnuts, seem to contend which best shall please the lord of the manor. They cannot deceive, they will not lie.
Page 54 - I recollect once," said Dugald Stewart, speaking of Burns, " he told me, when I was admiring a distant prospect in one of our morning walks, that the sight of so many smoking cottages gave a pleasure to his mind which none could understand who had not witnessed, like himself, the happiness and worth which they contained.
Page 39 - My constitution and frame were, ab origins, blasted with a deep incurable taint of hypochondria, which poisons my existence. Of late a number of domestic vexations, and some pecuniary share in the ruin of these...
Page 155 - Ah, friend, if once escaped from this battle we were for ever to be ageless and immortal, neither would I fight myself in the foremost ranks, nor would I send thee into the war that giveth men renown, but now — for assuredly ten thousand fates of death do every way beset us. and these no mortal may escape nor avoid — now let us go forward, whether we shall give glory to other men, or others to us.
Page 66 - ... alone, but of sorrow, — perhaps mellowed and ripened, perhaps stricken and withered and sour. How, then, shall we judge any one ? How, at any rate, shall we judge a giant, — great in gifts and great in temptation ; great in strength and great in weakness ? Let us glory in his strength and be comforted in his weakness.

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