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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Hoyt & Roberts, comps.  Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  1922.
 
Criticism
 
  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.
        Addison—Guardian. No. 115.
  1
He was in Logic, a great critic,
Profoundly skill’d in Analytic;
He could distinguish, and divide
A hair ’twixt south and south-west side.
        Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto I. L. 65.
  2
A man must serve his time to every trade
Save censure—critics all are ready made.
Take hackney’d jokes from Miller, got by rote,
With just enough of learning to misquote;
A mind well skill’d 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 feeling—pass your proper jest,
And stand a critic, hated yet caress’d.
        Byron—English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. L. 63.
  3
                As soon
Seek roses in December—ice in June,
Hope, constancy in wind, or corn in chaff;
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing that’s false, before
You trust in critics.
        Byron—English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. L. 75.
  4
Dijó la sarten á la caldera, quitate allá ojinegra.
  Said the pot to the kettle, “Get away, blackface.”
        Cervantes—Dan Quixote. II. 67.
  5
Who shall dispute what the Reviewers say?
Their word’s sufficient; and to ask a reason,
In such a state as theirs, is downright treason.
        Churchill—Apology. L. 94.
  6
Though by whim, envy, or resentment led,
They damn those authors whom they never read.
        Churchill—The Candidate. L. 57.
  7
                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.
        Churchill—The Rosciad. L. 183.
  8
But spite of all the criticizing elves,
Those who would make us feel—must feel themselves.
        Churchill—The Rosciad. L. 961.
  9
  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.
        Coleridge—Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton. P. 36.
  10
Too nicely Jonson knew the critic’s part,
Nature in him was almost lost in art.
        Collins—Epistle to Sir Thomas Hanmer on his Edition of Shakespeare.
  11
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.
        Congreve—The Way of the World. Epilogue.
  12
La critique est aisée, et l’art est difficile.
  Criticism is easy, and art is difficult.
        Destouches—Glorieux. II. 5.
  13
The press, the pulpit, and the stage,
Conspire to censure and expose our age.
        Wentworth Dillon—Essay on Translated Verse. L. 7.
  14
  You know who critics are?—the men who have failed in literature and art.
        Benj. Disraeli—Lothair. Ch. XXXV.
  15
  It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.
        Benj. Disraeli—Speech in the House of Commons. Jan 24, 1860.
  16
  The most noble criticism is that in which the critic is not the antagonist so much as the rival of the author.
        Isaac D’Israeli—Curiosities of Literature. Literary Journals.
  17
  Those who do not read criticism will rarely merit to be criticised.
        Isaac D’Israeli—Literary Character of Men of Genius. Ch. VI.
  18
Ill writers are usually the sharpest censors.
        Dryden—Dedication of translations from Ovid.
  19
They who write ill, and they who ne’er durst write,
Turn critics out of mere revenge and spite.
        Dryden—Prologue to Conquest of Granada.
  20
 
 
All who (like him) have writ ill plays before,
For they, like thieves, condemned, are hangmen made,
To execute the members of their trade.
        Dryden—Prologue to Rival Queens.
  21
  “I’m an owl: you’re another. Sir Critic, good day.” And the barber kept on shaving.
        James T. Fields—The Owl-Critic.
  22
Blame where you must, be candid where you can,
And be each critic the Good-natured Man.
        Goldsmith—The Good-Natured Man. Epilogue.
  23
  Reviewers are forever telling authors they can’t understand them. The author might often reply: Is that my fault?
        J. C. and A. W. Hare—Guesses at Truth.
  24
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 Harrington—Against Writers that Carp at other Men’s Books.
  25
When Poets’ plots in plays are damn’d for spite,
They critics turn and damn the rest that write.
        John Haynes—Prologue. In Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany Poems. Ed. by Elijah Fenton.
  26
Unmoved though Witlings sneer and Rivals rail;
Studious to please, yet not ashamed to fail.
        Samuel Johnson—Prologue to Tragedy of Irene.
  27
’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 Jonson—Poetaster. Act V. Sc. 1.
  28
Lynx envers nos pareils, et taupes envers nous.
  Lynx-eyed toward our equals, and moles to ourselves.
        La Fontaine—Fables. I. 7.
  29
  Critics are sentinels in the grand army of letters, stationed at the corners of newspapers and reviews, to challenge every new author.
        Longfellow—Kavanagh. Ch. XIII.
  30
  A wise scepticism is the first attribute of a good critic.
        Lowell—Among My Books. Shakespeare Once More.
  31
Nature fits all her children with something to do,
He who would write and can’t write, can surely review;
Can set up a small booth as critic and sell us his
Petty conceit and his pettier jealousies.
        Lowell—Fable for Critics.
  32
  In truth it may be laid down as an almost universal rule that good poets are bad critics.
        Macaulay—Criticisms on the Principal Italian Writers. Dante.
  33
  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.
        Macaulay—Mr. Robert Montgomery’s Poems.
  34
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.
        Moore—Genius and Criticism. St. 4.
  35
And you, my Critics! in the chequer’d shade,
Admire new light thro’ holes yourselves have made.
        Pope—Dunciad. Bk. IV. L. 125.
  36
Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss.
        Pope—Essay on Criticism. Pt. I. L. 6.
  37
The generous Critic fann’d the Poet’s fire,
And taught the world with reason to admire.
        Pope—Essay on Criticism. Pt. I. L. 100.
  38
The line too labours, and the words move slow.
        Pope—Essay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 171.
  39
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.
        Pope—Essay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 235.
  40
In every work regard the writer’s 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.
        Pope—Essay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 255.
  41
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
        Pope—Essay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 336.
  42
Ah, ne’er so dire a thirst of glory boast,
Nor in the Critic let the Man be lost.
        Pope—Essay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 522.
  43
I lose my patience, and I own it too,
When works are censur’d, not as bad but new:
While if our Elders break all reason’s laws,
These fools demand not pardon but Applause.
        Pope—Second Book of Horace. Ep. I. L. 115.
  44
For some in ancient books delight,
Others prefer what moderns write;
Now I should be extremely loth
Not to be thought expert in both.
        Prior—Alma.
  45
Die Kritik nimmt oft dem Baume
Raupen und Blüthen mit einander.
  Criticism often takes from the tree
  Caterpillars and blossoms together.
        Jean Paul Richter—Titan. Zykel 105.
  46
When in the full perfection of decay,
Turn vinegar, and come again in play.
        Sackville (Earl of Dorset)—Address to Ned Howard. Quoted in Dryden’s Dedication to translation of Ovid.
  47
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.
  48
Better a little chiding than a great deal of heartbreak.
        Merry Wives of Windsor. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 10.
  49
          For ’tis a physic
That’s bitter to sweet end.
        Measure for Measure. Act IV. Sc. 6. L. 7.
  50
For I am nothing, if not critical.
        Othello. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 120.
  51
  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.
        Shelley—Fragments of Adonais.
  52
  A poet that fails in writing becomes often a morose critic; the weak and insipid white wine makes at length excellent vinegar.
        Shenstone—On Writing and Books.
  53
  Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world—though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst—the cant of criticism is the most tormenting.
        Sterne—Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. (Orig. ed.). Vol. III. Ch. XII. “The cant of criticism.” Borrowed from Sir Joshua Reynolds, Idler, Sept. 29, 1759.
  54
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 ne’er provoke their spite,
Depend upon’t their judgment’s right.
        Swift—On Poetry. L. 129.
  55
For since he would sit on a Prophet’s 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.
        Tennyson—The Dead Prophet. St. XIV.
  56
Critics are like brushers of noblemen’s clothes.
        Attributed to Sir Henry Wotton by Bacon. Apothegms. No. 64.
  57
 
 
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