A theoretical and practical grammar of the French tongue

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Page 531 - But the knowledge of nature is only half the task of a poet : he must be acquainted likewise with all the modes of life. His character requires that he estimate the happiness and misery of every condition, observe the power of all the passions in all their combinations, and trace the changes of the human mind as they are modified by various institutions and accidental influences of climate or custom, from the sprightliness of infancy to the despondence of decrepitude.
Page 530 - Being now resolved to be a poet, I saw every thing with a new purpose ; my sphere of attention was suddenly magnified ; no kind of knowledge was to be overlooked. I ranged mountains and deserts for images and resemblances, and pictured upon my mind every tree of the forest and flower of the valley.
Page 530 - ... poetry is to describe nature and passion, which are always the same, the first writers took possession of the most striking objects for description, and the most probable occurrences for fiction, and left nothing to those that followed them but transcription of the same events, and new combinations of the same images. Whatever be the reason, it is commonly observed that the early writers are in possession of nature, and their followers of art; that the first excel in strength and invention, and...
Page 531 - To a poet nothing can be useless. Whatever is beautiful, and whatever is dreadful, must be familiar to his imagination : he must be conversant with all that is awfully vast or elegantly little. The plants of the garden, the animals of the wood, the minerals of the earth, and meteors of the sky, must all concur to store his mind with inexhaustible variety...
Page 532 - First follow Nature, and your judgment frame By her just standard, which is still the same: Unerring Nature, still divinely bright, One clear, unchang'd, and universal light, Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart, At once the source, and end, and test of Art. Art from that fund each just supply provides, Works without show, and without pomp presides: In some fair body thus th...
Page 533 - In some fair body thus th' informing soul With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole, Each motion guides, and every nerve sustains; Itself unseen, but in th' effects remains. Some, to whom Heaven in wit has been profuse, Want as much more to turn it to its use; For wit and judgment often are at strife, Though meant each other's aid, like man and wife.
Page 531 - The business of a poet," said Imlac, "is to examine, not the individual, but the species ; to remark general properties and large appearances ; he does not number the streaks of the tulip, or describe the different shades in the verdure of the forest.
Page 531 - ... religious truth, and he who knows most will have most power of diversifying his scenes and of gratifying his reader with remote allusions and unexpected instruction. "All the appearances of nature I was therefore careful to study, and every country which I have surveyed has contributed something to my poetical powers.
Page 530 - ... the province of poetry is to describe nature and passion, which are always the same, the first writers took possession of the most striking objects for description and the most probable occurrences for fiction, and left nothing to those that followed them but transcription of the same events and new combinations of the same images.
Page 464 - Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth, by calling imagination to the help of reason.

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