The Plays of William Shakspeare: In Fifteen Volumes. With the Corrections and Illustrations of Various Commentators. To which are Added Notes
T. Longman, 1793
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Page 186 - He carries his persons indifferently through right and wrong, and at the close dismisses them without further care, and leaves their examples to operate by chance. This fault the barbarity of his age cannot extenuate, for it is always a writer's duty to make the world better, and justice is a virtue independent on time or place.
Page 221 - He was the man who of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul. All the images of nature were still present to him, and he drew them not laboriously, but luckily : when he describes anything, you more than see it, you feel it too.
Page 179 - 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 221 - All the images of nature were still present to him, and he drew them not laboriously but luckily: when he describes anything you more than see it, you feel it too. Those who accuse him to have wanted learning, give him the greater commendation: he was naturally learned; he needed not the spectacles of books to read Nature; he looked inwards, and found her there.
Page 47 - They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.
Page 176 - Shakespeare is above all writers, at least above all modern writers, the poet of Nature; the poet that holds up to his readers a faithful mirror of manners and of life.
Page 220 - Notes are often necessary, but they are necessary evils. Let him that is yet unacquainted with the powers of 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.
Page 192 - The objection arising from the impossibility of passing the first hour at Alexandria and the next at Rome supposes that, when the play opens, the spectator really imagines himself at Alexandria, and believes that his walk to the theatre has been a voyage to Egypt, and that he lives in the days of Antony and Cleopatra. Surely he that imagines this may imagine more.
Page 358 - tis a common proof, That lowliness is young ambition's ladder, Whereto the climber-upward turns his face; But when he once attains the upmost round, He then unto the ladder turns his back, Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees By which he did ascend: so Caesar may; Then, lest he may, prevent.
Page 184 - Shakespeare engaged in dramatic poetry with the world open before him. The rules of the ancients were yet known to few; the public judgment was unformed; he had no example of such fame as might force him upon imitation, nor critics of such authority as might restrain his extravagance.