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Side 140 - Shakespeare's plays are not, in the rigorous and critical sense, either tragedies or comedies, but compositions of a distinct kind, exhibiting the real state of sublunary nature, which partakes of good and evil, joy and sorrow, mingled with endless variety of proportion and innumerable modes of combination...
Side 136 - ... find. His persons act and speak by the influence of those general passions and principles by which all minds are agitated, and the whole system of life is continued in motion. In the writings of other poets a character is too often an individual; in those of Shakespeare it is commonly a species.
Side 88 - Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full Of direst cruelty...
Side 66 - ... be perfect, since while it is hastening to publication, some words are budding, and some falling away; that a whole life cannot be spent upon syntax and etymology, and that even a whole life would not be sufficient; that he, whose design includes whatever language can express, must often speak of what he does not understand...
Side 149 - He no sooner begins to move, than \ he counteracts himself; and terror and pity, as they 1 are rising in the mind, are checked and blasted by ! sudden frigidity. - - , A quibble is to Shakespeare, what luminous vapours are to the traveller; he follows it at all adventures : it is sure to lead him out of his way, and sure to engulf him in the mire.
Side 139 - This therefore is the praise of Shakespeare, that his drama is the mirror of life; that he who has mazed his imagination in following the phantoms which other writers raise up before him, may here be cured of his delirious ecstasies by reading human sentiments in human language; by scenes from which a hermit may estimate the transactions of the world, and a confessor predict the progress of the passions.
Side 87 - Than wishest should be undone. Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine ear; And chastise with the valour of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round, Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem To have thee crown'd withal.
Side 37 - I am not yet so lost in lexicography, as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven.