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Page 409 - ... he must therefore content himself with the slow progress of his name; contemn the applause of his own time, and commit his claims to the justice of posterity. He must write as the interpreter of nature, and the legislator of mankind, and consider himself as presiding over the thoughts and manners of future generations ; as a being superior to time and place.
Page 408 - The business of a poet, said Imlac, is to examine, not the individual, but the species ; to remark general properties and large appearances : he does not number the streaks of the tulip, or describe the different shades in the verdure of the forest. He is to exhibit in his portraits of nature such prominent and striking features as recall the original to every mind ; and must neglect the minuter discriminations, which one may have remarked, and another have neglected, for those characteristicks which...
Page 286 - Here will I hold. If there's a power above us — And that there is, all nature cries aloud Through all her works — He must delight in virtue; And that which He delights in must be happy.
Page 499 - In time some particular train of ideas fixes the attention ; all other intellectual gratifications are rejected ; the mind, in weariness or leisure, recurs constantly to the favourite conception, and feasts on the luscious falsehood whenever she is offended with the bitterness of truth. By degrees the reign of fancy is confirmed; she grows first imperious, and in time despotic. Then fictions begin to operate as realities, false opinions fasten upon the mind, and life passes in dreams of rapture or...
Page 286 - Why shrinks the soul Back on herself, and startles at destruction ? 'Tis the divinity that stirs within us; 'Tis Heaven itself that points out an hereafter, And intimates eternity to man.
Page 396 - I should with great alacrity teach them all to fly. But what would be the security of the good, if the bad could at pleasure invade them from the sky? Against an army sailing through the clouds, neither walls, nor mountains, nor seas, could afford any security. A flight of northern savages might hover in the wind, and light at once with irresistible violence upon the capital of a fruitful region that was rolling under them.
Page 378 - Johnson wrote it, that with the profits he might defray the expense of his mother's funeral, and pay some little debts which she had left. He told Sir Joshua Reynolds, that he composed it in the evenings of one week ; sent it to the press in portions as it was written, and had never since read it orer. 1 Mr. Strahan, Mr. Johnston, and Mr. Dodsley, purchased it for a hundred pounds ; but afterwards paid him twentyfive pounds more, when it came to a second edition.
Page 408 - But the knowledge of nature is only half the task of a poet; he must be acquainted likewise with all the modes of life. His character requires that he estimate the happiness and misery of every condition; observe the power of all the passions in all their combinations, and trace the changes of the human mind as they are modified by various institutions and accidental influences of climate or custom, from the spriteliness of infancy to the despondence of decrepitude.
Page 394 - Sir, said he, you have seen but a small part of what the mechanick sciences can perform. I have been long of opinion, that, instead of the tardy conveyance of ships and chariots, man might use the swifter migration of wings ; that the fields of air are open to knowledge, and that only ignorance and idleness need crawl upon the ground.