صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

C. A. ALVORD, Printer,

20 Gold-stroot.

gl. & Wm hainers

[graphic]

Actions. Things may be seen differently, and differently shown; but actions are visible, though motives are secret.

Life of Cowley.

Authors. There are those who condemn authors for a want of novelty, which they are only supposed to want, from their accusers having already found similar thoughts in later books; not knowing, or inquiring, who produced them first. This treatment is unjust. Let not the original author lose by his imitators.

Life of Waller.

The writer who thinks his works formed for auration, mistakes his interest when he mentions his enemies. He degrades his own dignity by showing that he was affected by their censures, and gives lasting importance to names, which, left

themselves would vanish from remembrance.

Life of Dryden.

To judge rightly of an author, we must transport ourselves to his time, and examine what were the wants of his contemporaries, and what were his means of supplying them. That which is easy at one time, was difficult at another.

Ibid.

[ocr errors]

The two most engaging powers of an author are, to make new things familiar, and familiar things new. Life of Pope.

Making any material alterations in the works of a writer, after his death, is a liberty which, as it has a manifest tendency to lessen the confidence of society, anıl to con found the characters of authors by making one man write by the judgment of another, cannot be justified by any supposed propriety of the alteration or kindness of the friend.

Life of Thomson.

There is nothing more dreadful to an author than neglect ;-compared with which, reproach, hatred, and opposition, are names of happiness : yet this worst, this meanest fate, every one who dares to write has reason to fear.

Rambler, vol. I.

A successful author is equally in danger of the diminution of his fame, whether he continues or ceases to write.

The regard of the public is not to be kept but by tribute; and the remembrance of past service will quickly languish, unless successive performances frequently revive it. Yet in every new attempt there is new hazard; and there are few who do not, at some unlucky time, injure their own characters by attempting to enlarge them.

Rambler, vol. 1.

He that lays out his labours upon temporary subjects easily finds readers, and quickly loses them: for what should make the book valued, when its subject is no more?

Idler, vol. 2.

The task of an author is either to teach what is not known, or to recommend known truths by his manner of adorning them; either to let new light upon the mind, and open new scenes to the prospect, or vary the dress and situation of common objects, so as to give them fresh grace and more powerful attractions; to spread such flowers over the regions through which the intellect has already made its progress, as may tempt it to return, and take a second

view of things hastily passed over, or negligently regarded.

Rambler, vol. I.

An author who sacrifices virtue to convenience, and seems to write without any moral purpose, even 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 and place.

Preface to Shakspeare.

Many causes may vitiate a writer's judgment of his own works. On that which has cost him much labour he sets a high value, because he is unwilling to think he has been diligent in vain ; what has been produced without toilsome effort is consid. ered with delight, as a proof of vigorous faculties and fertile invention; and the last work, whatever it be, has necessarily most of the grace of novelty. Life of Milton.

A writer who obtains his full purpose loses himself in his own lustre. Of an opinion which is no longer doubted, the evidence ceases to be examined. Of an art universally practised, the teacher is forgotten. Learning once made popular is no longer learning; it has the appearance of something which we have bestowed upon

« السابقةمتابعة »