Johnson's Life of Swift, with intr. and notes by F. Ryland

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Página xvii - There was therefore before the time of Dryden no poetical diction, no system of words at once refined from the grossness of domestic use, and free from the harshness of terms appropriated to particular arts.
Página 23 - Travels ;" a production so new and strange, that it filled the reader with a mingled emotion of merriment and amazement. It was received with such avidity, that the price of the first edition was raised before the second could be made ; it was read by the high and the low, the learned and illiterate. Criticism was for a while lost in wonder ; no rules of judgment were applied to a book written in open defiance of truth and regularity.
Página 35 - This was all said and done with his usual seriousness on such occasions ; and, in spite of every thing we could say to the contrary, he actually obliged us to take the money.
Página 34 - I'll tell you one that first comes into my head. One evening Gay and I went to see him : you know how intimately we were all acquainted. On our coming in, " Heyday, gentlemen (says the Doctor), what's the meaning of this visit ? How came you to leave all the great Lords that you are so fond of, to come hither to see a poor Dean ? " — " Because we would rather see you than any of them.
Página 35 - It may be justly supposed that there was in his conversation, what appears so frequently in his letters, an affectation of familiarity with the great, an ambition of momentary equality sought and enjoyed by the neglect of those ceremonies which custom has established as the barriers between one order of society and another. This transgression of regularity was by himself and his admirers termed greatness of soul. But a great mind disdains to hold anything by courtesy, and therefore never usurps what...
Página 10 - The certainty and stability which, contrary to all experience, he thinks attainable, he proposes to secure by instituting an academy ; the decrees of which every man would have been willing, and many would have been proud, to disobey, and which, being renewed by successive elections, would in a short time have differed from itself. Swift now attained the zenith of his political importance : he published (1712) the " Conduct of the Allies," ten days before the Parliament assembled.
Página v - I had looked into a great many books, which were not commonly known at the Universities, where they seldom read any books but what are put into their hands by their tutors; so that when I came to Oxford, Dr. Adams, now master of Pembroke College, told me, I was the best qualified for the University that he had ever known come there.
Página 30 - That he has in his works no metaphor, as has been said, is not true ; but his few metaphors seem to be received rather by necessity than choice.
Página 38 - In the poetical works of Dr. Swift there is not much upon which the critic can exercise his powers. They are often humorous, almost always light, and have the qualities which recommend such compositions, easiness and gaiety. They are, for the most part, what their author intended. The diction is correct, the numbers are smooth, and the rhymes exact. There seldom occurs a hard-laboured expression, or a redundant epithet; all his verses exemplify his own definition of a good style — they consist...
Página 8 - ... in all points whereon to display their abilities? What wonderful productions of wit should we be deprived of, from those whose genius by continual practice hath been wholly turned upon raillery and invectives against religion, and would therefore never be able to shine or distinguish themselves upon any other subject. We are daily complaining of the great decline of wit among us, and would we take away the greatest, perhaps the only topic we have left?

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