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For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1802
Earth has not anything to show more fair :
Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour :
“Nuns Fret Not”
Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room;
10 "The World is too Much with Us"
The world is too much with us : late and soon,
“Scorn not the Sonnet”
Scorn not the Sonnet; Critic, you have frowned,
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE
(From Table Talk) I take unceasing delight in Chaucer. His manly cheerfulness is especially delicious to me in my old age. How exquisitely tender he is, and yet how perfectly free from the least touch of sickly melancholy or morbid drooping! The sympathy of the poet with the subjects of his poetry is par-5 ticularly remarkable in Shakspeare and Chaucer; but what the first effects by a strong act of imagination and mental metamorphosis, the last does without any effort, merely by the inborn kindly joyousness of his nature. How well we seem to know Chaucer! How absolutely nothing do we know 10 of Shakspeare!
(From Table Talk) Othello must not be conceived as a negro, but a high and chivalrous Moorish chief. Shakspeare learned the spirit of the character from the Spanish poetry, which was prevalent in England in his time. Jealousy does not strike me as the point in his passion; I take it to be rather an agony that 5 the creature whom he had believed angelic, with whom he had garnered up his heart, and whom he could not help still loving, should be proved impure and worthless. It was the struggle not to love her. It was a moral indignation and regret that virtue should so fall : “But yet the pity of it, 10 Iago ! — O lago! the pity of it, Iago !” In addition to this, his honor was concerned : Iago would not have succeeded but by hinting that his honor was compromised. There is no ferocity in Othello; his mind is majestic and composed.
15 He deliberately determines to die, and speaks his last speech
with a view of showing his attachment to the Venetian state, though it had superseded him.
An Observation on Patriotism
(From Table Talk) The free class in a slave state is always, in one sense, the most patriotic class of people in an empire; for their patriotism is not simply the patriotism of other people, but an aggregate of lust of power, and distinction, and supremacy.
(From Lectures) In order to form a good style, the primary rule and condition is, not to attempt to express ourselves in language before we thoroughly know our own meaning: when a man perfectly understands himself, appropriate diction will generally 5 be at his command either in writing or speaking. In such cases the thoughts and the words are associated. In the next place preciseness in the use of terms is required, and the test is whether you can translate the phrase adequately
into simpler terms, regard being had to the feeling of the 10 whole passage. Try this upon Shakspeare or Milton, and
see if you can substitute other simpler words in any given passage without a violation of the meaning or tone. The source of bad writing is the desire to be something more
than a man of sense, — the straining to be thought a genius ; 15 and it is just the same in speech-making. If men would
only say what they have to say in plain terms, how much more eloquent they would be! Another rule is to avoid converting mere abstractions into persons. I believe you will very rarely find, in any great writer before the Revolution,