| When I read rules of criticism, I immediately inquire after the works of the author who has written them, and by that means discover what it is he likes in a composition.|
AddisonGuardian. No. 115.
|He was in Logic, a great critic,|
Profoundly skilld in Analytic;
He could distinguish, and divide
A hair twixt south and south-west side.
ButlerHudibras. Pt. I. Canto I. L. 65.
|A man must serve his time to every trade|
Save censurecritics all are ready made.
Take hackneyd jokes from Miller, got by rote,
With just enough of learning to misquote;
A mind well skilld to find or forge a fault;
A turn for punning, call it Attic salt;
To Jeffrey go, be silent and discreet,
His pay is just ten sterling pounds per sheet;
Fear not to lie, twill seem a lucky hit;
Shrink not from blasphemy, twill pass for wit;
Care not for feelingpass your proper jest,
And stand a critic, hated yet caressd.
ByronEnglish Bards and Scotch Reviewers. L. 63.
| As soon|
Seek roses in Decemberice in June,
Hope, constancy in wind, or corn in chaff;
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing thats false, before
You trust in critics.
ByronEnglish Bards and Scotch Reviewers. L. 75.
|Dijó la sarten á la caldera, quitate allá ojinegra.|
Said the pot to the kettle, Get away, blackface.
CervantesDan Quixote. II. 67.
|Who shall dispute what the Reviewers say?|
Their words sufficient; and to ask a reason,
In such a state as theirs, is downright treason.
ChurchillApology. L. 94.
|Though by whim, envy, or resentment led,|
They damn those authors whom they never read.
ChurchillThe Candidate. L. 57.
| A servile race|
Who, in mere want of fault, all merit place;
Who blind obedience pay to ancient schools,
Bigots to Greece, and slaves to musty rules.
ChurchillThe Rosciad. L. 183.
|But spite of all the criticizing elves,|
Those who would make us feelmust feel themselves.
ChurchillThe Rosciad. L. 961.
| Reviewers are usually people who would have been poets, historians, biographers, etc., if they could: they have tried their talents at one or the other, and have failed; therefore they turn critics.|
ColeridgeLectures on Shakespeare and Milton. P. 36.
|Too nicely Jonson knew the critics part,|
Nature in him was almost lost in art.
CollinsEpistle to Sir Thomas Hanmer on his Edition of Shakespeare.
|There are some Critics so with Spleen diseased,|
They scarcely come inclining to be pleased:
And sure he must have more than mortal Skill,
Who pleases one against his Will.
CongreveThe Way of the World. Epilogue.
|La critique est aisée, et lart est difficile.|
Criticism is easy, and art is difficult.
DestouchesGlorieux. II. 5.
|The press, the pulpit, and the stage,|
Conspire to censure and expose our age.
Wentworth DillonEssay on Translated Verse. L. 7.
| You know who critics are?the men who have failed in literature and art.|
Benj. DisraeliLothair. Ch. XXXV.
| It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.|
Benj. DisraeliSpeech in the House of Commons. Jan 24, 1860.
| The most noble criticism is that in which the critic is not the antagonist so much as the rival of the author.|
Isaac DIsraeliCuriosities of Literature. Literary Journals.
| Those who do not read criticism will rarely merit to be criticised.|
Isaac DIsraeliLiterary Character of Men of Genius. Ch. VI.
|Ill writers are usually the sharpest censors.|
DrydenDedication of translations from Ovid.
|They who write ill, and they who neer durst write,|
Turn critics out of mere revenge and spite.
DrydenPrologue to Conquest of Granada.
|All who (like him) have writ ill plays before,|
For they, like thieves, condemned, are hangmen made,
To execute the members of their trade.
DrydenPrologue to Rival Queens.
| Im an owl: youre another. Sir Critic, good day. And the barber kept on shaving.|
James T. FieldsThe Owl-Critic.
|Blame where you must, be candid where you can,|
And be each critic the Good-natured Man.
GoldsmithThe Good-Natured Man. Epilogue.
| Reviewers are forever telling authors they cant understand them. The author might often reply: Is that my fault?|
J. C. and A. W. HareGuesses at Truth.
|The readers and the hearers like my books,|
And yet some writers cannot them digest;
But what care I? for when I make a feast,
I would my guests should praise it, not the cooks.
Sir John HarringtonAgainst Writers that Carp at other Mens Books.
|When Poets plots in plays are damnd for spite,|
They critics turn and damn the rest that write.
John HaynesPrologue. In Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany Poems. Ed. by Elijah Fenton.
|Unmoved though Witlings sneer and Rivals rail;|
Studious to please, yet not ashamed to fail.
Samuel JohnsonPrologue to Tragedy of Irene.
|Tis not the wholesome sharp morality,|
Or modest anger of a satiric spirit,
That hurts or wounds the body of a state,
But the sinister application
Of the malicious, ignorant, and base
Interpreter; who will distort and strain
The general scope and purpose of an author
To his particular and private spleen.
Ben JonsonPoetaster. Act V. Sc. 1.
|Lynx envers nos pareils, et taupes envers nous.|
Lynx-eyed toward our equals, and moles to ourselves.
La FontaineFables. I. 7.
| Critics are sentinels in the grand army of letters, stationed at the corners of newspapers and reviews, to challenge every new author.|
LongfellowKavanagh. Ch. XIII.
| A wise scepticism is the first attribute of a good critic.|
LowellAmong My Books. Shakespeare Once More.
|Nature fits all her children with something to do,|
He who would write and cant write, can surely review;
Can set up a small booth as critic and sell us his
Petty conceit and his pettier jealousies.
LowellFable for Critics.
| In truth it may be laid down as an almost universal rule that good poets are bad critics.|
MacaulayCriticisms on the Principal Italian Writers. Dante.
| The opinion of the great body of the reading public is very materially influenced even by the unsupported assertions of those who assume a right to criticise.|
MacaulayMr. Robert Montgomerys Poems.
|To check young Genius proud career,|
The slaves who now his throne invaded,
Made Criticism his prime Vizier,
And from that hour his glories faded.
MooreGenius and Criticism. St. 4.
|And you, my Critics! in the chequerd shade,|
Admire new light thro holes yourselves have made.
PopeDunciad. Bk. IV. L. 125.
|Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss.|
PopeEssay on Criticism. Pt. I. L. 6.
|The generous Critic fannd the Poets fire,|
And taught the world with reason to admire.
PopeEssay on Criticism. Pt. I. L. 100.
|The line too labours, and the words move slow.|
PopeEssay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 171.
|A perfect Judge will read each work of Wit|
With the same spirit that its author writ:
Survey the Whole, nor seek slight faults to find
Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind.
PopeEssay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 235.
|In every work regard the writers End,|
Since none can compass more than they intend;
And if the means be just, the conduct true,
Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due.
PopeEssay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 255.
|Be not the first by whom the new are tried,|
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
PopeEssay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 336.
|Ah, neer so dire a thirst of glory boast,|
Nor in the Critic let the Man be lost.
PopeEssay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 522.
|I lose my patience, and I own it too,|
When works are censurd, not as bad but new:
While if our Elders break all reasons laws,
These fools demand not pardon but Applause.
PopeSecond Book of Horace. Ep. I. L. 115.
|For some in ancient books delight,|
Others prefer what moderns write;
Now I should be extremely loth
Not to be thought expert in both.
|Die Kritik nimmt oft dem Baume|
Raupen und Blüthen mit einander.
Criticism often takes from the tree
Caterpillars and blossoms together.
Jean Paul RichterTitan. Zykel 105.
|When in the full perfection of decay,|
Turn vinegar, and come again in play.
Sackville (Earl of Dorset)Address to Ned Howard. Quoted in Drydens Dedication to translation of Ovid.
|In such a time as this it is not meet|
That every nice offence should bear his comment.
Julius Cæsar. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 7.
|Better a little chiding than a great deal of heartbreak.|
Merry Wives of Windsor. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 10.
| For tis a physic|
Thats bitter to sweet end.
Measure for Measure. Act IV. Sc. 6. L. 7.
|For I am nothing, if not critical.|
Othello. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 120.
| Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race. As a bankrupt thief turns thief-taker in despair, so an unsuccessful author turns critic.|
ShelleyFragments of Adonais.
| A poet that fails in writing becomes often a morose critic; the weak and insipid white wine makes at length excellent vinegar.|
ShenstoneOn Writing and Books.
| Of all the cants which are canted in this canting worldthough the cant of hypocrites may be the worstthe cant of criticism is the most tormenting.|
SterneLife and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. (Orig. ed.). Vol. III. Ch. XII. The cant of criticism. Borrowed from Sir Joshua Reynolds, Idler, Sept. 29, 1759.
|For, poems read without a name,|
We justly praise, or justly blame;
And critics have no partial views,
Except they know whom they abuse.
And since you neer provoke their spite,
Depend upont their judgments right.
SwiftOn Poetry. L. 129.
|For since he would sit on a Prophets seat,|
As a lord of the Human soul,
We needs must scan him from head to feet,
Were it but for a wart or a mole.
TennysonThe Dead Prophet. St. XIV.
|Critics are like brushers of noblemens clothes.|
Attributed to Sir Henry Wotton by Bacon. Apothegms. No. 64.