The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.: Miscellaneous pieces
W. Pickering, 1825
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action allowed ancient appear Aristophanes attempt beauty better called cause censure character comedy common considered continued copy criticism desire dictionary discovered easily easy editions effect endeavoured English equally examine excellence exhibit expected followed force frequent genius give given greater hands honour hope human imagined importance Italy kind king knowledge known labour language learned least less likewise living lord manner means mentioned mind nature necessary never NOTE observed occasion once opinion original particular pass passage passions performed perhaps Plautus play poet practice praise present produced proper publick published reader reason received regard rules scenes seems sense Shakespeare sometimes success suffered sufficient supposed things thought tion tragedy true truth whole writers written
Page 67 - Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine ear ; And chastise with the valour of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round, Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem To have thee crown'd withal.
Page 72 - Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither'd murder, Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace, With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth, Hear not my steps which way they walk, for fear Thy very stones prate of my whereabout And take the present horror from the time, Which now suits with it.
Page 152 - Shakespeare, and who desires to feel the highest pleasure that the drama can give, read every play, from the first scene to the last, with utter negligence of all his commentators. When his fancy is once on the wing, let it not stoop at correction or explanation. When his attention is strongly engaged, let it disdain alike to turn aside to the name of Theobald and of Pope. Let him read on through brightness and obscurity, through integrity and corruption ; let him preserve his comprehension of the...
Page 117 - It is incident to him to be now and then entangled with an unwieldy sentiment which he cannot well express and will not reject; he struggles with it a while, and if it continues stubborn, comprises it in words such as occur and leaves it to be disentangled and evolved by those who have more leisure to bestow upon it.
Page 114 - The polite are always catching modish innovations, and the learned depart from established forms of speech in hope of finding or making better; those who wish for distinction forsake the vulgar when the vulgar is right. But there is a conversation above grossness and below refinement, where propriety resides and where this poet seems to have gathered his comic dialogue.
Page 108 - This, therefore, is the praise of Shakespeare, that his drama is the mirror of life; that he who has mazed his imagination in following the phantoms which other writers raise up before him may here be cured of his delirious ecstasies by reading human sentiments in human language, by scenes from which a hermit may estimate the transactions of the world and a confessor predict the progress of the passions.
Page 56 - To deny the possibility, nay, actual existence, of witchcraft and sorcery is at once flatly to contradict the revealed word of God, in various passages both of the Old and New Testament : and the thing itself is a truth to which every nation in the world hath in its turn borne testimony, either by examples seemingly well attested or by prohibitory laws; which at least suppose the possibility of commerce with evil spirits.
Page 90 - She should have died hereafter ; There would have been a time for such a word. To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death.
Page 73 - The night has been unruly : where we lay, Our chimneys were blown down : and, as they say, Lamentings heard i...
Page 106 - His characters are not modified by the customs of particular places, unpractised by the rest of the world; by the peculiarities of studies or professions, which can operate but upon small numbers; or by the accidents of transient fashions or temporary opinions: they are the genuine progeny of common humanity, such as the world will always supply, and observation will always find.