The British Prose Writers: Gray's letters

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Page 57 - I do not remember to have gone ten paces without an exclamation, that there was no restraining : Not a precipice, not a torrent, not a cliff, but is pregnant with religion and poetry.
Page 17 - It is a little chaos of mountains and precipices; mountains, it is true, that do not ascend much above the clouds, nor are the declivities quite so amazing as Dover cliff; but just such hills as people who love their necks as well as I do may venture to climb, and crags that give the eye as much pleasure as if they were more dangerous. Both vale and hill are covered with most venerable beeches, and other very reverend vegetables, that, like most other ancient people, are always dreaming out their...
Page 6 - There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow : there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.
Page 113 - I have this to say : the language of the age is never the language of poetry ; except among the French, whose verse, where the thought or image does not support it, differs in nothing from prose. Our poetry, on the contrary, has a language peculiar to itself ; to which almost every one, that has written, has added something by enriching it with foreign idioms and derivatives : nay sometimes words of their own composition or invention.
Page 176 - I know, will make me ridiculous enough; but to appear in proper person, at the head of my works, consisting of half a dozen ballads in thirty pages, would be worse than the pillory. I do assure you, if I had received such a book, with such a frontispiece, without any warning, I believe it would have given me a palsy...
Page 134 - In the first place he is the hardest author by far I ever meddled with. Then he has a dry conciseness that makes one imagine one is perusing a table of contents rather than a book ; it tastes for all the world like chopped hay, or rather like chopped logic ; for he has a violent affection to that art, being in some sort his own invention ; so that he often loses himself in little trifling distinctions and verbal niceties, and what is worse, leaves you to extricate yourself as you can. Thirdly, he...
Page 160 - Nor cast one longing, ling'ring look behind? On some fond breast the parting soul relies. Some pious drops the closing eye requires; Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries, Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires. For thee, who mindful of th...
Page 3 - When you have seen one of my days, you have seen a whole year of my life ; they go round and round like the blind horse in the mill, only he has the satisfaction of fancying he makes a progress and gets some ground ; my eyes are open enough to see the same dull prospect, and to know that, having made four-and-twenty steps more, I shall be just where I was.
Page 164 - Guernsey lilies bloom in every window ; the town, clean and well-built, surrounded by its old stone walls, with their towers and gateways, stands at the point of a peninsula, and opens full south to an arm of the sea. which, having formed two beautiful bays on each hand of it, stretches away in direct view till it joins the British Channel: it is skirted on either side with gently-rising grounds, clothed with thick wood, and directly cross its mouth rise the high lands of the Isle of Wight at distance,...
Page 158 - As I am not at all disposed to be either so indulgent, or so correspondent, as they desire, I have but one bad way left to escape the honour they would inflict upon me ; and, therefore, am obliged to desire you would make Dodsley print it immediately (which may be done in less than a week's time) from your copy, but without...

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