Adventures in Criticism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 306 pages of information about Adventures in Criticism.
“Nature never set forth the earth in so rich tapistry, as divers Poets have done, neither with plesant rivers, fruitful trees, sweet-smelling flowers:  nor whatsoever else may make the too much loved earth more lovely.  Her world is brasen, the Poets only deliver a golden:  but let those things alone and goe to man, for whom as the other things are, so it seemeth in him her uttermost cunning is imployed, and know whether shee have brought forth so true a lover as Theagines, so constant a friende as Pilades, so valiant a man as Orlando, so right a Prince as Xenophon’s Cyrus; so excellent a man every way as Virgil’s Aeneas....”

Next for wit—­roguishness, if you like the term better:—­

“And therefore, if Cato misliked Fulvius, for carrying Ennius with him to the field, it may be answered, that if Cato misliked it, the noble Fulvius liked it, or else he had not done it.”

And lastly for beauty and wit combined:—­

“For he (the Poet) doth not only show the way, but giveth so sweete a prospect into the way, as will intice any man to enter into it.  Nay he doth, as if your journey should lye through a fayre Vineyard, at the first give you a cluster of Grapes:  that full of that taste, you may long to passe further.  He beginneth not with obscure definitions, which must blur the margent with interpretations, and load the memory with doubtfulnesse:  but he cometh to you with words set in delightful proportion, either accompanied with or prepared for the well inchanting skill of Musicke:  and with a tale forsooth he cometh unto you:  with a tale which holdeth children from play, and old men from the chimney corner.”

“Is not this a glorious way to talk?” demanded the Rev. T.E.  Brown of this last passage, when he talked about Sidney, the other day, in Mr. Henley’s New Review.  “No one can fail,” said Mr. Brown, amiably assuming the fineness of his own ear to be common to all mankind—­“no one can fail to observe the sweetness and the strength, the outspokenness, the downrightness, and, at the same time, the nervous delicacy of pausation, the rhythm all ripple and suspended fall, the dainty but, the daintier and forsooth, as though the pouting of a proud reserve curved the fine lip of him, and had to be atoned for by the homeliness of the chimney-corner.”

Everybody admires Sidney’s prose.  But how of this?—­

“Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all science.  Emphatically it may be said of the Poet, as Shakespeare has said of man, ‘that he looks before and after.’  He is the rock of defence of human nature; an upholder and preserver, carrying everywhere with him relationship and love.  In spite of difference of soil and climate, of language and manners, of laws and customs, in
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Adventures in Criticism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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