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when we turn our eyes upon those whom fortune has let loose to their own conduct; who, not being chained down by their condition to a regular and stated allotment of their hours, are obliged to find themselves business or diversion; and, having nothing within that can entertain or employ them, are compelled to try all the arts of destroying time.
The general remedy of those who are uneasy without knowing the cause, is CHANGE OF PLACE. They are willing to imagine that their pain is the consequence of some local inconvenience, -and endeavour to fly from it as children from their shadows, always hoping for some more satisfactory delight from every new scene, and always returning home with disappointment and complaint. Such resemble the expedition of cowards, who, for want of venturing to look behind then, think the enemy perpetually at their heels.
Rambler, vol. 1, p. 31, 32, & 34.
No one ought to remind another of misfortunes of which the sufferer does not complain, and which there are no means proposed of alleviating. We have no right to excite thoughts which necessarily give pain, whenever they return, and which perhaps might not have revived but by absurd and unseasonable compassion.
. Rambler, vol. 2. p. 122.
Nothing is more offensive to a mind convinced that its distress is without a remedy, and prepare lag to submit' quietly to irresistible calamity,
H6 n o .. than
than those petty and conjectured comforts which unskilful officiousness thinks it virtue to adininister.
Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. 5, p. 197.
CURIOSITY. ' * Curiosity, like all other desires, produces pain as well as pleasure. .
C . Rambler, vol. 4, p. 8. i Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect. Every advance into knowledge opens new prospects, and produces new incitements to further progress.
Rámbler, vol. 2, p. 287. Curiosity is the thirst of the soul; it inflames and torments us, and makes us taste every thing with joy, however otherwise insipid, by which it *may bc quenched.
Ibid. p. 289.
There is no snare more dangerous to busy and excursive minds than the cobwebs of petty inquisitiveness, which entangle them in trivial employments and minute studies, and detain them in a middle state between the tediousness of total inactivity and the fatigue of laborious efforts, enchant them at once with ease and novelty, and vitiate them with the luxury of learning. The necessity of doing something, and the fear of undertaking much, sinks the historian to a gener logist; the philosopher to a journalist of the weather; and the mathematician to a constructor of , dials.
Ibid. p. 290. Favours of every kind are doubled when they are speedily conferred. This is particularly true
of the gratification of CURIOSITY. He that long delays a story, and suffers his auditor to torment himself with expectation, will seldom be able to recompense the uneasiness, or equal the hope which he suffers to be raised.
Ibid. vol. 4, p. 188.
The eye of the intellect, like that of the body, is not equally perfect in all, nor equally adapted in any to all objects. The end of Criticism is to supply its defects. Rules are the instruments of mental vision, which may, indeed, assist our faculties when properly used, but produce confusion and obscurity by unskilful application.'
Ibid. p. 91.'
In Criticism, as in every other art, we fail sometimes by our weakness, but more frequently by our fault. We are sometimes bewildered by ignorance, and sometimes by prejudice, but we seldom deviate far from the right, but when we deliver ourselves up to the direction of vanity.
Ibid. p. 92.
Whatever is much read will be much criticised.
Life of Sir Thomas Browne, p. 257. An account of the labours and productions of the learned was for a long time among the deficiences of English literature; but as the caprice of man is always starting from too little to too much, we have now, among other disturbers of human quiet, a numerous body of reviewers and remarkers. Preliminary Discourse to the London Chronicle, p. 156.,
- He who is taught by a critic to dislike that which pleased him in his natural state, has the same reason to complain of his instructor, as the madman to rail at his Doctor, who, when, he thought himself master of Peru, physicked him to poverty...
Idler, vol. I, p. 16.
No genius was ever blasted by the breath of erities; the poison, which, if confined, would have burst the heart, fumes away in empty hisses, and malice is set.at ease with very little danger to merit.
Ibid vol. 2, p. 40.
The critic will be lead but a little-way towards "the just estimation of the sublime beauties in works of genius, who judges merely by rules; for whatever part of an art that can be executed or criticised thus, that part is no longer the work of genius, which implies excellence' out of the reach of rules,
Ibid. p. 130.
That reading may generally be suspected to be right, which requires many words to prove it worong; and the emendation wrong, which cannot without so much labour appear to be right.
"Preface to Shakspeare, vol. 5, p. 66. Every man acquainted with critical emendations, must see how much easier they are de.stroyed than made, and how willingly every man would be changing the text, if his imagination would furnish alterations. . Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. 1, p. 20.
When there are two ways of setting a passage in an author right, it gives reason to suspect that there may be a third way better than either.
Ibid. vol. 2, p. 381. .
The coinage of new words in emendatory cri- : ticism is a violent remedy, not to be used but in the last necessity.
Ibid. vol. 3, p. 40. In the chasms of old writings, which cannot be filled up with authority, attempting 'to restore the words is impossible; all that can be done without copies, is to note the fault.
There is no reason for critics to persecute their predecessors with such implacable anger as they sometimes do. The dead, it is true, can make no resistance.; they may be attacked with great security; but, since they can neither feel nor mend, the safety of mauling them seems greater than the pleasure. Nor, perhaps, would it in much misbeseem them to remember, that amidst. all our triumphs over the nonsensical and the -senseless, that we likewise are men, and as Swift observed to Burnet, shall soon be among the dead ourselves."
.. Ibid. vol. 10, p.293
To choose the best among many good, is one of the most hazardous attempts of criticism,
Life of Cowley.
What Baudius says of Erasmus seems applicable to many (critics).: Magis habuit quod