The Works, Volume 4

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J. Murray, 1823
 

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Page xxiv - Imagination," and that such poets " are of imagination all compact ;" let it be further conceded, that theirs is a higher and more dignified kind of composition, nay, the only kind that has -pretensions to inspiration : still, that these poets should so entirely engross the title as to exclude those who address their productions to the plain sense and sober judgment of their readers, rather than to their fancy and imagination, I must repeat that I am unwilling to admit — because I conceive 1 Midsummer...
Page xv - I conceive myself to be placed. There has been recommended to me, and from authority which neither inclination nor prudence leads me to resist, in any new work I might undertake, an unity of subject, and that arrangement of my materials which connects the whole and gives additional interest to every part ( ' ) ; in fact, if not an Epic Poem, strictly so denominated, yet such composition as would possess a regular succession of events, and a catastrophe to which every incident should be subservient,...
Page xx - Italian writer would have been perfectly easy, but, could be of no service : the attempt .-at union therefore has been relinquished, and these relations are submitted to the public, connected by no other circumstance than their being the -productions of the same author, and devoted to the same purpose, the entertainment of his readers. It has been already acknowledged...
Page xv - Reproof and advice, it is probable, every author will receive, if we except those who merit so much of the former, that the latter is contemptuously denied them; now of these, reproof, though it may cause more temporary uneasiness, will in many cases create less difficulty, since errors may be corrected when opportunity occurs: but advice, I repeat, may be of such nature, that it will be painful to reject, and yet impossible to follow it; and in this predicament I conceive myself to be placed.
Page xviii - In one continued and connected poem, the reader is, in general, highly gratified or severely disappointed ; by many independent narratives, he has the renovation of hope, although he has been dissatisfied, and a prospect of reiterated pleasure, should he find himself entertained. I mean not, however, to compare these different modes of writing as if I were balancing their advantages and defects before I could give preference to either ; with me the way I take is not a matter of choice, but of necessity...
Page xxi - I have not ambition of so humble a kind as to be satisfied with a concession which requires nothing in the poet except his ability for counting syllables; and I trust something more of the poetic character will be allowed to the succeeding pages than what the heroes of The Dunciad might share with the author: nor was I aware that, by describing, as faithfully as I could, men, manners, and things, I was forfeiting a just title to a name which has been freely granted to many, whom to equal, and even...
Page xvi - ... in unison with the movements and grand purposes of the whole body; where there is a community of interests and a subordination of actors : and it was upon this view of the subject, and of the necessity for such distribution of persons and events, that I found myself obliged...

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