« PreviousContinue »
Mr. HUME'S ESSAYS, page 265.
Those compofitions, which we read the oftenest, and which every man of tafte has got by heart, have the recommendation of fimplicity, and have nothing furprising in the thought, when divested of that elegance of expreffion, and harmony of numbers, with which it is cloathed. If the merit of the compofition lies in a point of wit, it may strike at first; but the mind anticipates the thought in the second perufal, and is no longer affected by it. When I read an epigram of MARTIAL, the first line recalls the whole; and I have no pleasure in repeating to myself what I know already. But each line, each word in CATULLUS has its merit; and I am never tired with the perufal of him. It is fufficient to run over COWLEY once; but PARNELL, after the fiftieth reading, is as fresh as at the firft.
ESSAY of SIMPLICITY and REFINEMENT.