Johnson's Life of Milton, with intr. and notes by F. Ryland

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Σελίδα 44 - Fancy can hardly forbear to conjecture with what temper Milton surveyed the silent progress of his work, and marked his reputation stealing its way in a kind of subterraneous current through fear and silence. I cannot but conceive him calm and confident, little disappointed, not at all dejected, relying on his own merit with steady consciousness, and waiting, without impatience, the vicissitudes of opinion and the impartiality of a future generation.
Σελίδα 144 - He scarce had ceased, when the superior fiend Was moving toward the shore : his ponderous shield, Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round, Behind him cast ; the broad circumference Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views, At evening, from the top of Fesole, Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe.
Σελίδα 143 - Not that fair field Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers, Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain To seek her through the world...
Σελίδα 10 - Let not our veneration for Milton forbid us to look with some degree of merriment on great promises and small performance, on the man who hastens home, because his countrymen are contending for their liberty, and, when he reaches the scene of action, vapours away his patriotism in a private boarding-school.
Σελίδα 13 - ... but by devout prayer to that eternal spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his Seraphim with the hallowed fire of his altar to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases; to this must be added industrious and select reading, steady observation, insight into all seemly and generous arts and affairs ; till which in some measure be compassed at mine own peril and cost I refuse not to sustain this expectation...
Σελίδα 67 - The thoughts which are occasionally called forth in the progress are such as could only be produced by an imagination in the highest degree fervid and active, to which materials were supplied by incessant study and unlimited curiosity. The heat of Milton's mind may be said to sublimate his learning, to throw off into his work the spirit of science, unmingled with its grosser parts.
Σελίδα 74 - To exalt causes into agents, to invest abstract ideas with form and animate them with activity has always been the right of poetry. But such airy beings are for the most part suffered only to do their natural office and retire. Thus Fame tells a tale, and Victory hovers over a general or perches on a standard, but Fame and Victory can do no more. To give them any real employment or ascribe to them any material agency is to make them allegorical no longer but to shock the mind by ascribing effects...
Σελίδα 40 - King, was perhaps more than he hoped, seems not to have satisfied him; for no sooner is he safe, than he finds himself in danger, "fallen on evil days and evil tongues, and with darkness and with danger compassed round." This darkness, had his eyes been better employed, had undoubtedly deserved compassion; but to add the mention of danger was ungrateful and unjust. He was fallen indeed on " evil days ; " the time was come in which regicides could no longer boast their wickedness. But of " evil tongues...
Σελίδα 43 - The call for books was not in Milton's age what it is in the present. To read was not then a general amusement ; neither traders nor often gentlemen thought themselves disgraced by ignorance*. The women had not then aspired to literature 3, nor was every house supplied with a closet of knowledge.
Σελίδα 56 - ... for there is nothing new. Its form is that of a pastoral, easy, vulgar, and therefore disgusting: whatever images it can supply, are long ago exhausted; and its inherent improbability always forces dissatisfaction on the mind. When Cowley tells of Hervey that they studied together, it is easy to suppose how much he must miss the companion of his labours, and the partner of his discoveries; but what image of tenderness can be excited by these lines!

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