Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
John Dryden
 
  The causes and designs of an action are the beginning; the effects of these causes, and the difficulties met with in the execution of these designs, are the middle; and the unravelling and resolution of these difficulties are the end.
John Dryden.    
  1
 
  The passions always move, and therefore (consequently) please: for without motion there can be no delight; which cannot be considered but as an active passion. When we view those elevated ideas of nature, the result of that view is admiration, which is always the cause of pleasure.
John Dryden.    
  2
 
  The continual agitations of the spirits must needs be a weakening of any constitution, especially in age: and many causes are required for refreshment betwixt the heats.
John Dryden.    
  3
 
  Sobriety in our riper years is the effect of a well-concocted warmth; but where the principles are only phlegm, what can be expected but an insipid manhood and old infancy?
John Dryden.    
  4
 
  Age oppresses us by the same degrees that it instructs us, and permits not that our mortal members, which are frozen with our years, should retain the vigour of our youth.
John Dryden.    
  5
 
  From fifty to threescore he loses not much in fancy; and judgment, the effect of observation, still increases.
John Dryden.    
  6
 
  An ardent thirst of honour; a soul unsatisfied with all it has done, and an unextinguished desire of doing more.
John Dryden.    
  7
 
  ’Tis almost impossible for poets to succeed without ambition: imagination must be raised by a desire of fame to a desire of pleasing.
John Dryden.    
  8
 
  A long series of ancestors shows the native lustre with advantage; but if he any way degenerate from his line, the least spot is visible on ermine.
John Dryden.    
  9
 
  What English readers, unacquainted with Greek or Latin, will believe me when we confess we derive all that is pardonable in us from ancient fountains?
John Dryden.    
  10
 
  In tragedy and satire I maintain, against some critics, that this age and the last have excelled the ancients; and I would instance in Shakespeare of the former, in Dorset of the latter.
John Dryden.    
  11
 
  Some are offended because I turned these tales into modern English; because they look on Chaucer as a dry, old-fashioned wit, not worth reviving.
John Dryden.    
  12
 
  The heathen poet in commending the charity of Dido to the Trojans spoke like a Christian.
John Dryden.    
  13
 
  The ancient pieces are beautiful because they resemble the beauties of nature; and nature will ever be beautiful which resembles those beauties of antiquity.
John Dryden.    
  14
 
  In the dark recesses of antiquity, a great poet may and ought to feign such things as he finds not there, if they can be brought to embellish that subject which he treats.
John Dryden.    
  15
 
 
 
  The prints which we see of antiquities may contribute to form our genius and to give us great ideas.
John Dryden.    
  16
 
  Arts and sciences in one and the same century have arrived at great perfection; and no wonder, since every age has a kind of universal genius, which inclines those that live in it to some particular studies; the work then, being pushed on by many hands, must go forward.
John Dryden.    
  17
 
  Ariosto observed not moderation in the vastness of his draught.
John Dryden.    
  18
 
  Episodical ornaments, such as descriptions and narratives, were delivered to us from the observations of Aristotle.
John Dryden.    
  19
 
  He furnished me with all the passages in Aristotle and Horace used to explain the art of poetry by painting; which, if ever I retouch this essay, shall be inserted.
John Dryden.    
  20
 
  For the Italians, Dante had begun to file their language in verse before Boccace, who likewise received no little help from his master Petrarch; but the reformation of their prose was wholly owing to Boccace.
John Dryden.    
  21
 
  Boccace lived in the same age with Chaucer, had the same genius, and followed the same studies: both writ novels, and each of them cultivated his mother tongue.
John Dryden.    
  22
 
  When I took up Boccace unawares, I fell on the same argument of preferring virtue to nobility of blood and titles, in the story of Sigismunda.
John Dryden.    
  23
 
  Boileau’s numbers are excellent, his expressions noble, his thoughts just, his language pure, and his sense close.
John Dryden.    
  24
 
  Chaucer in many things resembled Ovid, and that with no disadvantage on the side of the modern author.
John Dryden.    
  25
 
  Shakspeare rather writ happily than knowingly and justly; and Jonson, who by studying Horace had been acquainted with the rules, yet seemed to envy to posterity that knowledge, and to make a monopoly of his learning.
John Dryden.    
  26
 
  Shakspeare was naturally learned: he needed not the spectacles of books to read nature; he looked inwards and found her there.
John Dryden.    
  27
 
  Spenser endeavoured it [imitation] in the Shepherd’s Kalendar; but neither will it succeed in English.
John Dryden.    
  28
 
  Spenser has followed both Virgil and Theocritus in the charms which he employs for curing Britomartis of her love; but he had also our poet’s Ceiris in his eye.
John Dryden.    
  29
 
  I dare venture nothing without a strict examination; and am as much ashamed to put a loose indigested play upon the public as to offer brass money in a payment.
John Dryden.    
  30
 
  He who proposes to be an author, should first be a student.
John Dryden.    
  31
 
  Too much labour often takes away the spirit by adding to the polishing; so that there remains nothing but a dull correctness; apiece without any considerable faults, but with few beauties.
John Dryden.    
  32
 
  Whatsoever makes nothing to your subject, and is improper to it, admit not into your work.
John Dryden.    
  33
 
  The quickness of the imagination is seen in the invention, the fertility in the fancy, and the accuracy in the expression.
John Dryden.    
  34
 
  He knew when to leave off,—a continence which is practised by few writers.
John Dryden.    
  35
 
  What can be urged for them who, not having the vocation of poverty to scribble, out of mere wantonness make themselves ridiculous?
John Dryden.    
  36
 
  Comedy is both excellently instructive and extremely pleasant; satire lashes vice into reformation; and humour represents folly so as to render it ridiculous.
John Dryden.    
  37
 
  The French writers do not burden themselves too much with plot, which has been reproached to them as a fault.
John Dryden.    
  38
 
  Had covetous men, as the fable goes of Briareus, each of them one hundred hands, they would all of them be employed in grasping and gathering, and hardly one of them in giving or laying out, but all in receiving and none in restoring: a thing in itself so monstrous that nothing in nature besides is like it, except it be death and the grave, the only things I know which are always carrying off the spoils of the world and never making restitution. For otherwise, all the parts of the universe, as they borrow of one another, so they still pay what they borrow, and that by so just and well-balanced an equality that their payments always keep pace with their receipts.
John Dryden.    
  39
 
  Beauty is only that which makes all things as they are in their proper and perfect nature; which the best painters always choose by contemplating the forms of each.
John Dryden.    
  40
 
  The most important part of painting is to know what is most beautiful in nature; that which is most beautiful is the most noble subject.
John Dryden.    
  41
 
  He is somewhat arrogant at his first entrance, and too inquisitive through the whole; yet these imperfections hinder not our compassion.
John Dryden.    
  42
 
  These, wanting wit, affect gravity, and go by the name of solid men.
John Dryden.    
  43
 
  Poplicola’s doors were opened on the outside, to save the people even the common civility of asking entrance; where misfortune was a powerful recommendation, and where want itself was a powerful mediator.
John Dryden.    
  44
 
  My errors, I hope, are only those of charity to mankind; and such as my own charity has caused me to commit, that of others may more easily excuse.
John Dryden.    
  45
 
  Comedy is a representation of common life, in low subjects.
John Dryden.    
  46
 
  In comedy there is somewhat more of the worse likeness to be taken, because it is often to produce laughter, which is occasioned by the sight of some deformity.
John Dryden.    
  47
 
  In quatrains the last line of the stanza is to be considered in the composition of the first.
John Dryden.    
  48
 
  Claudian perpetually closes his sense at the end of a verse, commonly called golden, or two substantives and two adjectives, with a verb betwixt them to keep the peace.
John Dryden.    
  49
 
  A good conscience is a port which is land-locked on every side, where no winds can possibly invade. There a man may not only see his own image, but that of his Maker, clearly reflected from the undisturbed and silent waters.
John Dryden.    
  50
 
  Your modesty is so far from being ostentatious of the good you do, that it blushes even to have it known: and therefore I must leave you to the satisfaction of your own conscience, which, though a silent panegyric, is yet the best.
John Dryden.    
  51
 
  Steady to my principles, and not dispirited with my afflictions, I have, by the blessing of God on my endeavours, overcome all difficulties; and, in some measure, acquitted myself of the debt which I owed the public when I undertook this work.
John Dryden.    
  52
 
  How much happier is he who … remains immovable, and smiles at the madness of the dance about him!
John Dryden.    
  53
 
  Rural recreations abroad, and books at home, are the innocent pleasures of a man who is early wise; and give fortune no more hold of him than of necessity he must.
John Dryden.    
  54
 
  Tasso, in his similitudes, never departed from the woods; that is, his representations were taken from the country.
John Dryden.    
  55
 
  An intrepid courage is at best but a holiday kind of virtue, to be seldom exercised, and never but in cases of necessity: affability, mildness, tenderness, and a word which I would fain bring back to its original signification of virtue,—I mean good nature,—are of daily use; they are the bread of mankind and staff of life.
John Dryden.    
  56
 
  Let not the covetous design of growing rich induce you to ruin your reputation, but rather satisfy yourself with a moderate fortune; and let your thoughts be wholly taken up with acquiring to yourself a glorious name.
John Dryden.    
  57
 
  I have just occasion to complain of them who, because they understand not Chaucer, would hoard him up as misers do their grandam gold, only to look on it themselves, and hinder others from making use of it.
John Dryden.    
  58
 
  Those hypercritics in English poetry differ from the opinion of the Greek and Latin judges, from the Italians and French, and from the general taste of all ages.
John Dryden.    
  59
 
  For want of these requisites, most of our ingenious young men take up some cried up English poet, adore him, and imitate him, without knowing wherein he is defective.
John Dryden.    
  60
 
  I should be glad if I could persuade him to write such another critic on anything of mine; for when he condemns any of my poems he makes the world have a better opinion of them.
John Dryden.    
  61
 
  ’Tis unjust that they who have not the least notion of heroic writing should therefore condemn the pleasure which others receive from it, because they cannot comprehend it.
John Dryden.    
  62
 
  There are limits to be set between the boldness and rashness of a poet; but he must understand those limits who pretends to judge, as well as he who undertakes to write; and he who has no liking to the whole ought in reason to be excluded from censuring of the parts.
John Dryden.    
  63
 
  We are naturally displeased with an unknown critic, as the ladies are with a lampooner, because we are bitten in the dark.
John Dryden.    
  64
 
  The most judicious writer is sometimes mistaken after all his care; but the hasty critic, who judges on a view, is full as liable to be deceived.
John Dryden.    
  65
 
  They wholly mistake the nature of criticism who think its business is principally to find fault.
John Dryden.    
  66
 
  The thought of being nothing after death is a burden insupportable to a virtuous man.
John Dryden.    
  67
 
  I touch here but transiently … on some of those many rules of imitating nature which Aristotle drew from Homer, which he fitted to the drama; furnishing himself also with observations from the theatre when it flourished under Æschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles.
John Dryden.    
  68
 
  The unity of piece we neither find in Aristotle, Horace, or any who have written of it, till in our age the French poets first made it a precept of the stage.
John Dryden.    
  69
 
  Aristotle has left undecided the duration of the action.
John Dryden.    
  70
 
  In the unity of place they are full as scrupulous, which many of their critics limit to that very spot of ground where the play is supposed to begin.
John Dryden.    
  71
 
  When in the knot of the play no other way is left for the discovery, then let a god descend, and clear the business to the audience.
John Dryden.    
  72
 
  No incident in the piece or play but must carry on the main design: all things else are like six fingers to the hand, when nature can do her work with five.
John Dryden.    
  73
 
  One of these advantages, which Corneille has laid down, is the making choice of some signal and long-expected day, whereon the action of the play is to depend.
John Dryden.    
  74
 
  The catastasis, called by the Romans status, the height and full growth of the play, we may call properly the counter turn, which destroys that expectation, embroils the action in new difficulties, and leaves you far distant from that hope in which it found you.
John Dryden.    
  75
 
  When these petty intrigues of a play are so ill ordered that they have no coherence with the other, I must grant that Lysidius has reason to tax that want of due connection; for co-ordination in a play is as dangerous and unnatural as in a state.
John Dryden.    
  76
 
  The propriety of thoughts and words, which are the hidden beauties of a play, are but confusedly judged in the vehemence of action.
John Dryden.    
  77
 
  He gives you an account of himself, and of his returning from the country, in monologue; to which unnatural way of narration Terence is subject in all his plays.
John Dryden.    
  78
 
  A play ought to be a just image of human nature.
John Dryden.    
  79
 
  The French have brought on themselves that dearth of plot, and narrowness of imagination, which may be observed in all their plays.
John Dryden.    
  80
 
  I maintain, against the enemies of the stage, that patterns of piety, decently represented, may second the precepts.
John Dryden.    
  81
 
  The world is running mad after farce, the extremity of bad poetry; or rather the judgment that is fallen upon dramatic poetry.
John Dryden.    
  82
 
  An heroic play ought to be an imitation of an heroic poem, and consequently love and valour ought to be the subject of it: both these Sir William Davenant began to shadow; but it was so as discoverers draw their maps with headlands and promontories.
John Dryden.    
  83
 
  Ben Jonson, in his Sejanus and Catiline, has given us this olio of a play, this unnatural mixture of comedy and tragedy.
John Dryden.    
  84
 
  I must bear this testimony to Otway’s memory, that the passions are truly touched in his Venice Preserved.
John Dryden.    
  85
 
  An ugly woman in a rich habit set out with jewels nothing can become.
John Dryden.    
  86
 
  The third happiness of this poet’s imagination is elocution, or the art of clothing the thought in apt, significant, and sounding words.
John Dryden.    
  87
 
  Discover the opinion of your enemies, which is commonly the truest; for they will give you no quarter, and allow nothing to complaisance.
John Dryden.    
  88
 
  I know no reason we should give that advantage to the commonalty of England to be foremost in brave actions which the nobless of France would never suffer in their peasants.
John Dryden.    
  89
 
  Difficult it is to understand the purity of English, and critically to discern good writers from bad, and a proper style from a corrupt one.
John Dryden.    
  90
 
  The proprieties and delicacies of the English are known to few: ’tis impossible even for a good wit to understand and practise them without the help of a liberal education and long reading; in short, without wearing off the rust which he contracted while he was laying in a stock of learning.
John Dryden.    
  91
 
  From the time of Boccace and of Petrarch the Italian has varied very little. The English of Chaucer, their contemporary, is not to be understood without the help of an old dictionary.
John Dryden.    
  92
 
  He did Romanize our tongue, leaving the words translated as much Latin as he found them: wherein he followed their language, but did not comply with the idiom of ours.
John Dryden.    
  93
 
  Poetry, which, by a kind of enthusiasm or extraordinary emotion of the soul, makes it seem to us that we behold those things which the poet paints.
John Dryden.    
  94
 
  Fame is in itself a real good, if we may believe Cicero, who was perhaps too fond of it.
John Dryden.    
  95
 
  Fame and reputation are weak ties: many have not the least sense of them: powerful men are only awed by them as they conduce to their interest.
John Dryden.    
  96
 
  There is yet a lower sort of poetry and painting, which is out of nature; for a farce is that in poetry which grotesque is in a picture: the persons and actions of a farce are all unnatural, and the manners false; that is, inconsistent with the characters of mankind; grotesque painting is the just resemblance of this.
John Dryden.    
  97
 
  The world is running mad after farce, the extremity of bad poetry.
John Dryden.    
  98
 
  Fiction is of the essence of poetry as well as of painting: there is a resemblance in one of human bodies, things, and actions which are not real, and in the other of a true story by fiction.
John Dryden.    
  99
 
  It is a madness to make Fortune the mistress of events, because in herself she is nothing, but is ruled by prudence.
John Dryden.    
  100
 
  Why should a reasonable man put it into the power of Fortune to make him miserable, when his ancestors have taken care to release him from her?
John Dryden.    
  101
 
  Every man is the maker of his own fortune, and must be, in some measure, the trumpet of his fame.
John Dryden.    
  102
 
  Neither can the natural harshness of the French, or the perpetual ill accent, be ever refined into perfect harmony like the Italian.
John Dryden.    
  103
 
  I forsake an argument on which I could delight to dwell; I mean your judgment in your choice of friends.
John Dryden.    
  104
 
  To take away rewards and punishments is only pleasing to a man who resolves not to live morally.
John Dryden.    
  105
 
  A happy genius is the gift of nature: it depends on the influence of the stars, say the astrologers; on the organs of the body, say the naturalists; it is the particular gift of heaven, say the divines, both Christian and heathens.
John Dryden.    
  106
 
  Longinus has judiciously preferred the sublime genius that sometimes errs, to the midding or indifferent one, which makes few faults, but seldom rises to any excellence.
John Dryden.    
  107
 
  We ought to attempt no more than what is in the compass of our genius, and according to our vein.
John Dryden.    
  108
 
  You are still living to enjoy the blessings of all the good you have performed, and many prayers that your power of doing generous actions may be extended as you will.
John Dryden.    
  109
 
  Profuseness of doing good, a soul unsatisfied with all it has done, and an unextinguished desire of doing more.
John Dryden.    
  110
 
  Affability, mildness, tenderness, and a word which I would fain bring back to its original signification of virtue,—I mean good-nature,—are of daily use: they are the bread of mankind and staff of life.
John Dryden.    
  111
 
  Good-sense and good-nature are never separated, though the ignorant world has thought otherwise. Good-nature, by which I mean beneficence and candour, is the product of right reason, which, of necessity, will give allowance to the failings of others, by considering that there is nothing perfect in mankind; and by distinguishing that which comes nearest to excellency, though not absolutely free from faults, will certainly produce a candour in the judge.
John Dryden.    
  112
 
  This makes us act with wonderful tranquillity, because it ascertains us of the goodness of our work.
John Dryden.    
  113
 
  Res non parta labore, sed relicta, was thought by a poet to be one of the requisites of a happy life.
John Dryden.    
  114
 
  The thought of being nothing after death is a burden insupportable to a virtuous man: we naturally aim at happiness, and cannot bear to have it confined to our present being.
John Dryden.    
  115
 
  We are not so much to strain ourselves to make those virtues appear in us which really we have not, as to avoid those imperfections which may dishonour us.
John Dryden.    
  116
 
  All history is only the precepts of moral philosophy reduced into examples.
John Dryden.    
  117
 
  The action of Homer, being more full of vigour than that of Virgil, is more pleasing to the reader: one warms you by degrees, the other sets you on fire all at once, and never intermits his heat.
John Dryden.    
  118
 
  I touch here but transiently, without any strict method, on some few of those manly rules of imitating nature which Aristotle drew from Homer.
John Dryden.    
  119
 
  The Roman orator endeavoured to imitate the copiousness of Homer, and the Latin poet made it his business to reach the conciseness of Demosthenes.
John Dryden.    
  120
 
  Homer took all occasions of setting up his own countrymen, the Grecians, and of undervaluing the Trojan chiefs.
John Dryden.    
  121
 
  Scaliger would needs turn down Homer. and abdicate him, after the possession of three thousand years.
John Dryden.    
  122
 
  Horace, in his first and second book of odes, was still rising, but came not to his meridian till the third. After which his judgment was an over-poise to his imagination. He grew too cautious to be bold enough, for he descended in his fourth by slow progress.
John Dryden.    
  123
 
  Horace confines himself strictly to one sort of verse or stanza in every ode.
John Dryden.    
  124
 
  Horace purged himself from these splenetic reflections in odes and epodes before he undertook his satires.
John Dryden.    
  125
 
  According to this model Horace writ his odes and epodes; for his satires and epistles, being intended wholly for instruction, required another style.
John Dryden.    
  126
 
  A secret happiness in Petronius is called curiosa felicitas, and which I suppose he had from the feliciter audere of Horace.
John Dryden.    
  127
 
  Though Horace gives permission to painters and poets to dare everything, yet he encourages neither to make things out of nature and verisimility.
John Dryden.    
  128
 
  Humility and resignation are our prime virtues.
John Dryden.    
  129
 
  Rude and unpolished are all the operations of the soul in their beginnings, before they are cultivated with art and study.
John Dryden.    
  130
 
  Imaging is, in itself, the very height and life of poetry, which, by a kind of enthusiasm, or extraordinary emotion of soul, makes it seem to us that we behold those things which the poet paints.
John Dryden.    
  131
 
  Since a true knowledge of nature gives us pleasure, a lively imitation of it, either in poetry or painting, must produce a much greater; for both these arts are not only true imitations of nature, but of the best nature.
John Dryden.    
  132
 
  In the way of imitation, the translator not only varies from the words and sense, but forsakes them as he sees occasion; and, taking only some general hints from the original, runs diversions upon the groundwork.
John Dryden.    
  133
 
  Imitation pleases, because it affords matter for inquiring into the truth or falsehood of imitation, by comparing its likeness or unlikeness to the original.
John Dryden.    
  134
 
  Imitators are but a servile kind of cattle, says the poet.
John Dryden.    
  135
 
  That which causes us to lose most of our time is the repugnance which we naturally have to labour.
John Dryden.    
  136
 
  Invention is a kind of muse, which, being possessed of the other advantages common to her sisters, and being warmed by the fire of Apollo, is raised higher than the rest.
John Dryden.    
  137
 
  A severe reflection Montaigne has made on princes, that we ought not in reason to have any expectations of favour from them.
John Dryden.    
  138
 
  That which causes us to lose most of our time is the repugnance which we naturally have to labour.
John Dryden.    
  139
 
  Work with all the ease and speed you can without breaking your head.
John Dryden.    
  140
 
  Such difference there is in tongues, that the same figure which roughens one gives majesty to another.
John Dryden.    
  141
 
  The learned languages were less constrained in the quantity of every syllable, beside helps of grammatical figures for the lengthening or abbreviation of them.
John Dryden.    
  142
 
  Latin is a far more succinct language than the Italian, Spanish, French, or even than the English, which, by reason of its monosyllables, is far the most compendious of them.
John Dryden.    
  143
 
  The Latin, a most severe and compendious language, often expresses that in one word which either the barbarity or the narrowness of modern tongues cannot supply in more.
John Dryden.    
  144
 
  It is a good thing to laugh at any rate; and if a straw can tickle a man, it is an instrument of happiness.
John Dryden.    
  145
 
  Give us leave to enjoy the government and benefit of laws under which we were born, and which we desire to transmit to our posterity.
John Dryden.    
  146
 
  A man who is no judge of law may be a good judge of poetry, or eloquence, or of the merits of a painting.
John Dryden.    
  147
 
  A noble soul is better pleased with a zealous vindicator of liberty than with a temporizing poet, or well-mannered court slave, and one who is ever decent because he is naturally servile.
John Dryden.    
  148
 
  They made as sure of health and life as if both of them were at their disposal.
John Dryden.    
  149
 
  Those who in a logical dispute keep in general terms would hide a fallacy.
John Dryden.    
  150
 
  Love, a penurious god, very niggardly of his opportunities, must be watched like a hard-hearted treasurer.
John Dryden.    
  151
 
  Truth is the object of our understanding, as good is of our will; and the understanding can no more be delighted with a lie than the will can choose an apparent evil.
John Dryden.    
  152
 
  Mankind is ever the same, and nothing lost out of nature, though everything is altered.
John Dryden.    
  153
 
  Knowledge of man and manners, the freedom of habitudes, and conversation with the best company of both sexes, is necessary.
John Dryden.    
  154
 
  Milton’s Paradise Lost is admirable: but cannot I admire the height of his invention, and the strength of his expression, without defending his antiquated words and the perpetual harshness of their sound?… Am I therefore bound to maintain that there are no flats amongst his elevations, when it is evident he creeps along sometimes for above an hundred lines together?
John Dryden.    
  155
 
  To take away rewards and punishments is only pleasing to a man who resolves not to live morally.
John Dryden.    
  156
 
  I grant that nature all poets ought to study; but then this also undeniably follows, that those things which delight all ages must have been an imitation of nature.
John Dryden.    
  157
 
  Since a true knowledge of nature gives us pleasure, a lively imitation of it in poetry or painting must produce a much greater.
John Dryden.    
  158
 
  We could not allow him an orator who had the best thoughts, and who knew all the rules of rhetoric, if he had not acquired the art of using them.
John Dryden.    
  159
 
  The most severe censor cannot but be pleased with the prodigality of Ovid’s wit; though he could have wished that the master of it had been a better manager.
John Dryden.    
  160
 
  If sometimes Ovid appears too gay, there is a secret gracefulness of youth which accompanies his writings, though the stayedness and sobriety of age be wanting.
John Dryden.    
  161
 
  No man has ever treated the passions of love with so much delicacy of thought and of expression, or searched into the nature of it more philosophically, than Ovid.
John Dryden.    
  162
 
  The turn of words, in which Ovid excels all poets, are sometimes a fault or sometimes a beauty, as they are used properly or improperly.
John Dryden.    
  163
 
  No man is so bold, rash, and overweening of his own works as an ill painter and a bad poet.
John Dryden.    
  164
 
  The most important part of painting is to know what is most beautiful in nature, and most proper for that art; that which is the most beautiful is the most noble subject: so in poetry, tragedy is more beautiful than comedy, because the persons are greater whom the poet instructs, and consequently the instructions of more benefit to mankind.
John Dryden.    
  165
 
  They who are desirous of a name in painting, should read with diligence, and make their observations of such things as they find for their purpose, and of which they may have occasion.
John Dryden.    
  166
 
  Out of the true fountains of science painters and statuaries are bound to draw, without amusing themselves with dipping in streams which are often muddy, at least troubled: I mean the manner of their masters after whom they creep.
John Dryden.    
  167
 
  Painting and poesy are two sisters so like that they lend to each other their name and office: one is called a dumb poesy and the other a speaking picture.
John Dryden.    
  168
 
  Raphael writes thus concerning his Galatea: To paint a fair one, ’tis necessary for me to paint many fair ones; but because there is so great a scarcity of lovely women, I am constrained to make use of one certain idea which I have formed in my fancy.
John Dryden.    
  169
 
  The whole knowledge of groups, of the lights and shadows, and of those masses which Titian calls a bunch of grapes, is in the prints of Reubens exposed clearly to the sight.
John Dryden.    
  170
 
  The emperor, one day, took up a pencil which fell from the hand of Titian, who was then drawing his picture; and, upon the compliment which Titian made him on that occasion, he said, “Titian deserves to be served by Cæsar.”
John Dryden.    
  171
 
  The fortitude of a Christian consists in patience, not in enterprises which the poets call heroic, and which are commonly the effects of interest, pride, and worldly honour.
John Dryden.    
  172
 
  Persius professes the stoic philosophy; the most generous among all the sects who have given rules of ethics.
John Dryden.    
  173
 
  Let Epicurus give indolency as an attribute to his gods, and place in it the happiness of the blest: the Divinity which we worship has given us not only a precept against it, but his own example to the contrary.
John Dryden.    
  174
 
  Like him who, being in good health, lodged himself in a physician’s house, and was overpersuaded by his landlord to take physic, of which he died.
John Dryden.    
  175
 
  Apelles made his pictures so very like that a physiognomist and fortune-teller foretold, by looking on them, the time of their deaths whom these pictures represented.
John Dryden.    
  176
 
  You may enjoy your quiet in a garden, where you have not only the leisure of thinking, but the pleasure to think of nothing which can discompose your mind.
John Dryden.    
  177
 
  A poet is a maker, as the word signifies; and he who cannot make, that is, invent, hath his name for nothing.
John Dryden.    
  178
 
  The moral is the first business of the poet, as being the ground-work of his instruction: this being formed, he contrives such a design or fable as may be most suitable to the moral.
John Dryden.    
  179
 
  Supposing verses are never so beautiful, yet if they contain anything that shocks religion or good manners they are
        “Versus inopes rerum, nugæque canoræ.”
John Dryden.    
  180
 
  The greatest age for poetry was that of Augustus Cæsar: yet painting was then at its lowest ebb, and perhaps sculpture was also declining.
John Dryden.    
  181
 
  The female rhymes are in use with the Italians in every line, with the Spaniards promiscuously, and with the French alternately, as appears from the Alarique, the Pucelle, or any of their later poems.
John Dryden.    
  182
 
  Our numbers should, for the most part, be lyrical. For variety, or rather where the majesty of thought requires it, they may be stretched to the English heroic of five feet, and to the French Alexandrine of six.
John Dryden.    
  183
 
  Is the grandesophos of Perseus, and the sublimity of Juvenal, to be circumscribed with the meanness of words, and vulgarity of expression?
John Dryden.    
  184
 
  An epic poem, or the heroic action of some great commander, enterprised for the common good and honour of the Christian cause, and executed happily, may be as well written as it was of old by the heathens.
John Dryden.    
  185
 
  He is the only proper person of all others for an epic poem, who to his natural endowments of a large invention, a ripe judgment, and a strong memory, has joined the knowledge of the liberal arts.
John Dryden.    
  186
 
  The shining quality of an epic hero, his magnanimity, his constancy, his patience, his piety, or whatever characteristical virtue his poet gives him, raises our admiration.
John Dryden.    
  187
 
  An heroic poem should be more fitted to the common actions and passions of human life, and more like a glass of nature, figuring a more practicable virtue to us than was done by the ancients.
John Dryden.    
  188
 
  If this economy must be observed in the minutest parts of an epic poem, what soul, though sent into the world with great advantage of nature, cultivated with the liberal arts and sciences, can be sufficient to inform the body of so great a work?
John Dryden.    
  189
 
  An heroic poem requires, as its last perfection, the accomplishment of some extraordinary undertaking, which requires more of the heroic virtue than the suffering.
John Dryden.    
  190
 
  Spenser and Fairfax, great masters of our language, saw much farther into the beauties of our numbers than those who followed.
John Dryden.    
  191
 
  The scum that rises upmost when the nation boils.
John Dryden.    
  192
 
  The commendation of adversaries is the greatest triumph of a writer, because it never comes unless extorted.
John Dryden.    
  193
 
  Reason is always striving and always at a loss, while it is exercised about that which is not its proper object.
John Dryden.    
  194
 
  A foundation of good sense, and a cultivation of learning, are required to give a seasoning to retirement, and make us taste the blessing.
John Dryden.    
  195
 
  Let not the covetous desire of growing rich induce you to ruin your reputation, but rather satisfy yourself with a moderate fortune.
John Dryden.    
  196
 
  It is easy to run into ridicule the best descriptions when once a man is in the humour of laughing till he wheezes at his own dull jest.
John Dryden.    
  197
 
  Satire is a kind of poetry in which human vices are reprehended, partly dramatically, partly simply; but for the most part figuratively and occultly.
John Dryden.    
  198
 
  Satire among the Romans, but not among the Greeks, was a biting invective poem.
John Dryden.    
  199
 
  Juvenal’s genius was sharp and eager; and as his provocations were great, he has revenged them tragically.
John Dryden.    
  200
 
  The Bishop of Salisbury recommendeth the tenth satire of Juvenal, in his pastoral letter, to the serious perusal of the divines of his diocese.
John Dryden.    
  201
 
  Hence comes lowness of style to be so much the propriety of satire that without it a poet can be no more a satirist than without visibility he can be a man.
John Dryden.    
  202
 
  The end of satire is the amendment of vices by correction; and he who writes honestly is no more an enemy to the offender, than the physician to the patient when he prescribes harsh remedies.
John Dryden.    
  203
 
  There is sweetness in good verse, which tickles even while it hurts; and no man can be heartily angry with him who pleases him against his will.
John Dryden.    
  204
 
  Sculptors are obliged to follow the manners of the painters, and to make many ample folds, which are unsufferable hardness, and more like a rock than a natural garment.
John Dryden.    
  205
 
  The idea of the painter and the sculptor is undoubtedly that perfect and excellent example of the mind by imitation of which imagined form all things are represented which fall under human sight.
John Dryden.    
  206
 
  Our own productions flatter us: it is impossible not to be fond of them at the moment of their conception.
John Dryden.    
  207
 
  A consort of voices supporting themselves by their different parts makes a harmony, pleasingly fills the ears, and flatters them.
John Dryden.    
  208
 
  Some of our philosophizing divines have too much exalted the faculties of our souls, when they have maintained that by their force mankind has been able to find out God.
John Dryden.    
  209
 
  Wicked spirits may by their cunning carry farther in a seeming confederacy or subserviency to the designs of a good angel.
John Dryden.    
  210
 
  Quickness of imagination is seen in the invention, fertility in the fancy, and accuracy in the expression.
John Dryden.    
  211
 
  If you write in your strength, you stand revealed at first; and should you write under it, you cannot avoid some peculiar graces.
John Dryden.    
  212
 
  Some men, imagining themselves possessed with a divine fury, often fall into toys and trifles which are only puerilities.
John Dryden.    
  213
 
  After Chaucer there was a Spenser, a Harrington, Fairfax, before Waller and Denham were in being; and our numbers were in their nonage till these last appeared.
John Dryden.    
  214
 
  Chaucer, I confess, is a rough diamond, and must be first polished ere he shine.
John Dryden.    
  215
 
  Chaucer has refined on Boccace, and has mended the stories he has borrowed: though prose allows more liberty of thought, and the expression is more easy when unconfined by numbers. Our countryman carries weight, and yet wins the race at disadvantage.
John Dryden.    
  216
 
  He is everywhere above conceits of epigrammatic wit and gross hyperboles: he maintains majesty in the midst of plainness; he shines, but glares not; and is stately without ambition, which is the vice of Lucan.
John Dryden.    
  217
 
  He taxes Lucan, who crowded sentences together and was too full of points.
John Dryden.    
  218
 
  Lucilius writ not only loosely and muddily, with little art, and much less care, but also in a time which was not yet sufficiently purged from barbarism.
John Dryden.    
  219
 
  Chaste and modest as [Persius] is esteemed, it cannot be denied that in some places he is broad and fulsome.
John Dryden.    
  220
 
  Statius, the best versificator next Virgil, knew not how to design after him.
John Dryden.    
  221
 
  Sublime subjects ought to be adorned with the sublimest and with the most figurative expressions.
John Dryden.    
  222
 
  Those who are prosperously unjust are intitled to panegyric, but afflicted virtue is stabbed with reproaches.
John Dryden.    
  223
 
  Time is the surest judge of truth: I am not vain enough to think I have left no faults in this, which that touchstone will not discover.
John Dryden.    
  224
 
  In a tragedy, or epic poem, the hero of the piece must be advanced foremost to the view of the reader or spectator; he must outshine the rest of all the characters; he must appear the prince of them, like the sun in the Copernican system, encompassed with the less noble planets.
John Dryden.    
  225
 
  Thus it appears necessary that a man should be a nice critic in his mother-tongue before he attempts to translate in a foreign language. Neither is it sufficient that he be able to judge of words and style, but he must be a master of them too: he must perfectly understand his author’s tongue, and absolutely command his own: so that to be a thorough translator he must be a thorough poet. Neither is it enough to give his author’s sense in good English, in poetical expressions, and in musical numbers; for, though all these are exceedingly difficult to perform, yet there remains a harder task; and it is a secret of which few translators have sufficiently thought. I have already hinted a word or two concerning it: that is, the maintaining the character of an author which distinguishes him from all others, and makes him appear that individual poet whom you would interpret.
John Dryden.    
  226
 
  A translator is to make his author appear as charming as he can, provided he maintains his character, and makes him not unlike himself. Translation is a kind of drawing after the life, where there is a double sort of likeness, a good one and a bad one.
John Dryden.    
  227
 
  Many besides myself have heard our famous Waller own that he derived the harmony of his numbers from the Godfrey of Bulloign, turn’d into English by Fairfax.
John Dryden.    
  228
 
  In paraphrase, or translation with latitude, the author’s words are not so strictly followed as his sense, and that too amplified, but not altered: such is Mr. Waller’s translation of Virgil’s fourth Æneid.
John Dryden.    
  229
 
  Truth is the object of our understanding, as good is of the will.
John Dryden.    
  230
 
  Those who believe that the praises which arise from valour are superior to those which proceed from any other virtues, have not considered.
John Dryden.    
  231
 
  There is an inimitable grace in Virgil’s words, and in them principally consists that beauty which gives so inexpressible a pleasure to him who best understands their force. This diction of his (I must once again say) is never to be copied; and since it cannot, he will appear but lame in the best translation.
John Dryden.    
  232
 
  Virgil is so exact in every word that none can be changed but for a worse: he pretends sometimes to trip, but it is to make you think him in danger when most secure.
John Dryden.    
  233
 
  Virgil, above all poets, had a stock, which I may call almost inexhaustible, of figurative, elegant, and sounding words.
John Dryden.    
  234
 
  I looked on Virgil as a succinct, majestic writer; one who weighed not only every thought, but every word and syllable.
John Dryden.    
  235
 
  This exact propriety of Virgil I particularly regarded as a great part of his character, but must confess that I have not been able to make him appear wholly like himself. For where the original is close, no version can reach it in the same compass.
John Dryden.    
  236
 
  Virgil, more discreet than Homer, has contented himself with the partiality of his heroes, without bringing them to the outrageousness of blows.
John Dryden.    
  237
 
  [Tasso] is full of conceits, points of epigram, and witticisms. Virgil and Homer have not one of them.
John Dryden.    
  238
 
  The morality of a grave sentence, affected by Lucan, is more sparingly used by Virgil.
John Dryden.    
  239
 
  There is a difference betwixt daring and foolhardiness: Lucan and Statius often ventured them too far; our Virgil never.
John Dryden.    
  240
 
  Mæcenas recommended Virgil and Horace to Augustus, whose praises helped to make him popular while alive, and after his death have made him precious to posterity.
John Dryden.    
  241
 
  Two lines in Mezentius and Lausus are indeed remotely allied in Virgil’s sense, but too like the tenderness of Ovid.
John Dryden.    
  242
 
  Virgil observes, like Theocritus, a just decorum both of the subjects and persons, as in the third pastoral, where one of his shepherds describes a bowl, or mazor, curiously carved.
John Dryden.    
  243
 
  Virgil could have excelled Varius in tragedy, and Horace in lyric poetry, but out of deference to his friends he attempted neither.
John Dryden.    
  244
 
  Reward is the spur of virtue in all good arts, all laudable attempts; and emulation, which is the other spur, will never be wanting when particular rewards are proposed.
John Dryden.    
  245
 
  We can never be grieved for their miseries who are thoroughly wicked, and have thereby justly called their calamities on themselves.
John Dryden.    
  246
 
  Wit is not the jerk or sting of an epigram, nor the seeming contradiction of a poor antithesis; neither is it so much the morality of a grave sentence, affected by Lucan, but more sparingly used by Virgil.
John Dryden.    
  247
 
  The composition of all poems is, or ought to be, of wit; and wit in the poet or wit writing is no other than the faculty of imagination in the writer, which … searches over all the memory for the species or ideas of those things which it designs to represent.
John Dryden.    
  248
 
  He likens the mediocrity of wit to one of a mean fortune who manages his store with great parsimony, but who, with fear of running into profuseness, never arrives to the magnificence of living.
John Dryden.    
  249
 
  These dull harmless makers of lampoons are yet of dangerous example to the public: some witty men may succeed to their designs, and, mixing sense with malice, blast the reputation of the most innocent.
John Dryden.    
  250
 
  The definition of wit is only this, that it is a propriety of thoughts and words; or, in other terms, thoughts and words elegantly adapted to the subject.
John Dryden.    
  251
 
  The most severe censor cannot but be pleased with the prodigality of his wit, though at the same time he could have wished that the master of it had been a better manager.
John Dryden.    
  252
 
  By the harmony of words we elevate the mind to a sense of devotion; as our solemn music, which is inarticulate poesy, doth in churches.
John Dryden.    
  253
 
  Unnecessary coinage, as well as unnecessary revival, of words runs into affectation; a fault to be avoided on either hand.
John Dryden.    
  254
 
  Horace has given us a rule for coining words, si græco fonte cadant, especially when other words are joined with them which explains the sense.
John Dryden.    
  255
 
  I have studied Virgil’s design, his disposition of it, his manners, his judicious management of the figures, the sober retrenchments of his sense, which always leaves somewhat to gratify our imagination, on which it may enlarge at pleasure; but, above all, the elegance of his expression, and the harmony of his numbers.
John Dryden: Dedicat. Æneid.    
  256
 
  They who have studied have not only learned many excellent things, but also have acquired a great facility of profiting themselves by reading good authors.
John Dryden: Dufresnoy.    
  257
 
  Virgil if he could have seen the first verses of the Sylvæ would have thought Statius mad in his fustian description of the statue on the brazen horse.
John Dryden: Dufresnoy.    
  258
 
  ’Tis so much in your nature to do good that your life is but one continued act of placing benefits on many; as the sun is always carrying his light to some part or other of the world.
John Dryden: Fables.    
  259
 
  Our physicians have observed that, in process of time, some diseases have abated of their virulence, and have, in a manner, worn out their malignity, so as to be no longer mortal.
John Dryden: Hind and Panther.    
  260
 
  The laws of history, in general, are truth of matter, method, and clearness of expression. The first property is necessary to keep our understanding from the impositions of falsehood; for history is an argument framed from many particular examples or inductions: if these examples are not true, then those measures of life which we take from them will be false, and deceive us in their consequence. The second is grounded on the former: for if the method be confused, if the words or expressions of thought are any way obscure, then the ideas which we receive must be imperfect; and if such, we are not taught by them what to elect or what to shun. Truth, therefore, is required as the foundation of history to inform us, disposition and perspicuity as the manner to inform us plainly: one is the being, the other the well-being of it.
John Dryden: Life of Plutarch.    
  261
 
  Heroic poetry has ever been esteemed the greatest work of human nature. In that rank has Aristotle placed it: and Longinus is so full of the like expressions that he abundantly confirms the other’s testimony.
John Dryden: State of Innocence, Pref.    
  262
 
  Towards the latter end of this month, September, Charles will begin to recover his perfect health, according to his nativity, which, casting it myself, I am sure is true, and all things hitherto have happened accordingly to the very time that I predicted them.
John Dryden: To his Sons, Sept. 3, 1697.    
  263
 
 
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