The Works of John Dryden: Poetical works

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Page 344 - He was the man who of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul, All the images of Nature were still present to him, and he drew them, not laboriously, but luckily: when he describes any thing, you more than see it, you feel it too.
Page 324 - ... the hero of the other side is to drive in before him; or to see a duel fought and one slain with two or three thrusts of the foils, which we know are so blunted that we might give a man an hour to kill another in good earnest with them. "I have observed that in all our tragedies the audience cannot forbear laughing when the actors are to die; 'tis the most comic part of the whole play.
Page 282 - The drift of the ensuing discourse was chiefly to vindicate the honour of our English writers from the censure of those who unjustly prefer the French before them.
Page 293 - ... 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 of necessity go forward.
Page 285 - After they had attentively listened, till such time as the sound by little and little went from them, Eugenius, lifting up his head and taking notice of it, was the first who congratulated to the rest that happy omen of our nation's victory, adding that we had but this to desire in confirmation of it, that we might hear no more of that noise which was now leaving the English coast.
Page 332 - A continued gravity keeps the spirit too much bent; we must refresh it sometimes, as we bait in a journey, that we may go on with greater ease.
Page 346 - Ben Jonson derived from particular persons, they made it not their business to describe : they represented all the passions very lively, but above all, love. I am apt to believe the English language in them arrived to its highest perfection ; what words have since been taken in are rather superfluous than necessary.
Page 296 - ... that the time of the feigned action, or fable of the play, should be proportioned as near as can be to the duration of that time in which it is represented...
Page 369 - I answer you, therefore, by distinguishing betwixt what is nearest to the nature of comedy, which is the imitation of common persons and ordinary speaking, and what is nearest the nature of a serious play: this last is, indeed, the representation of Nature, but 'tis Nature wrought up to a higher pitch.
Page 343 - First, That we have many Plays of ours as regular as any of theirs; and which, besides, have more variety of Plot and Characters: And secondly, that in most of the irregular Plays of Shakespeare or Fletcher, (for Ben. Johnson's are for the most part regular) there is a more masculine fancy and greater spirit in the writing, than there is in any of the French.

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