Eighteenth Century Essays on Shakespeare

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David Nichol Smith
J. MacLehose and Sons, 1903 - 358 ページ

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12 ページ - All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits, and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms...
119 ページ - Shakespeare has united the powers of exciting laughter and sorrow not only in one mind but in one composition. Almost all his plays are divided between serious and ludicrous characters, and, in the successive evolutions of the design, sometimes produce seriousness and sorrow, and sometimes levity and laughter. That this is a practice contrary to the rules of criticism will be readily allowed; but there is always an appeal open from criticism to nature.
121 ページ - The accidental compositions of heterogeneous modes are dissolved by the chance which combined them ; but the uniform simplicity of 'primitive qualities neither admits increase, nor suffers decay. The sand heaped by one flood is scattered by another, but the rock always continues in its place. The stream of time, which is continually washing the dissoluble fabrics of other poets, passes without injury by the adamant of Shakespeare.
128 ページ - Delusion, if delusion be admitted, has no certain limitation; if the spectator can be once persuaded, that his old acquaintance are Alexander and Caesar, that a room illuminated with candles is the plain of Pharsalia, or the bank of Granicus, he is in a state of elevation above the reach of reason, or of truth, and from the heights of empyrean poetry, may despise the circumscriptions of terrestrial nature.
323 ページ - The style of Dryden is capricious and varied ; that of Pope is cautious and uniform. Dryden obeys the motions of his own mind ; Pope constrains his mind to his own rules of composition. Dryden is sometimes vehement and rapid; Pope is always smooth, uniform, and gentle. Dryden's page is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation ; Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by the scythe, and levelled by the roller.
115 ページ - Yet his real power is not shown in the splendour of particular passages, but by the progress of his fable, and, the tenor of his dialogue; and he that tries to recommend him by select quotations, will succeed like the pedant in Hierocles, who, when he offered his house to sale, carried a brick in his pocket as a specimen.
344 ページ - Lastly, I would inform you, that this book, in all numbers, is not the same with that which was acted on the public stage ; wherein a second pen had good share...
xix ページ - ... there is more beauty in the works of a great genius, who is ignorant of all the rules of art, than in the works of a little genius, who not only knows but scrupulously observes them.
122 ページ - If there be, what I believe there is, in every nation a style which never becomes obsolete, a certain mode of phraseology so consonant and congenial to the analogy and principles of its respective language as to remain settled and unaltered, this style is probably to be sought in the common intercourse of life, among those who speak only to be understood, without ambition of elegance.
191 ページ - I' the presence He would say untruths; .and be ever double, Both in his words and meaning : He was never, But where he meant to ruin, pitiful : His promises were, as he then was, mighty ; But his performance, as he is now, nothing.

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