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7. Men of moderate passions employ few epithets, with verbs and substantives of mild signification; excitable men use numerous intensives and words of strong and stirring meanings. Loose thinkers content themselves with a single expression for a large class of related ideas; logical men scrupulously select the precise word which corresponds to the thought they utter, and yet among persons of but average intelligence each understands, though not employing, the vocabulary of all the rest.-George Perkins Marsh (b. 1801).
1. Come, and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastic toe,
2. To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull night,
Or the twisted eglantine.
3. While the cock with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
4. Sometime walking not unseen
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
Under the hawthorn in the dale. 6. Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
Whilst the landscape round it measures;
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide. 7. Towers, and battlements it sees
Bosom'd high in tufted trees,
From betwixt two aged oaks;
Are at their savoury dinner set
To the tann'd haycock in the mead. 9 Sometimes with secure delight
The upland hamlets will invite;
To many a youth, and many a maid,
“I set out in the morning, in company with a friend, to visit a place where Milton spent some part of his life, and where, in all probability, he composed several of his earliest productions. It is a small village, situated on a pleasant hill, about three miles from Oxford, and called Forest Hill, because it formerly lay contiguous to a forest which has since been cut down. The poet chose this place of retirement after his first marriage, and he describes the bezuties of his retreat in that fine passage of his L'Allegro,
“Sometime walking not unseen
By hedge-row elms,' &c.,
the agreeable stillness and natural simplicity of the whole scene gave us the highest pleasure. We at length reached the spot whence Milton undoubtedly took most of his images : it is on the top of the hill, from which there is a most extensive prospect on all sides. The distant mountains that seemed to support the clouds, the villages and turrets, partly shaded with trees of the finest verdure, and partly raised above the groves that surrounded them, the dark plains and meadows of a grayish colour, where the sheep were feeding at large; in short, the view of the streams and rivers convinced us that there was not a single useless or idle word in the above-mentioned description, but that it was a most exact and lively representation of nature.
After we had walked, with a kind of poetical enthusiasm, over this enchanted ground, we returned to the village.”-From a letter of Sir William Jones to Lady Spencer, dated 7th September, 1769, in which he speaks of Milton“ as the most perfect scholar, as well as the sublimest poet, that cur country ever produced.”
SHAKSPEARE-"THE CHIEF OF ALL POETS.”
1. As Dante, the Italian man, was sent into our world to embody musically the Religion of the Middle Ages, the Religion of our Modern Europe, its Inner Life; so Shakspeare, we may say, embodies for us the Outer Life of our Europe as developed then, its chivalries, courtesies, humours, ambitions, what practical way of thinking, acting, looking at the world, men then had. As in Homer we may still construe Old Greece; so in Shakspeare and Dante, after thousands of years, what our modern Europe was, in Faith and in Practice, will still be legible. This latter also we were to have: a man was sent for it, the man Shakspeare.
2. Just when that chivalry way of life had reached its last finish, and was on the point of breaking down into
1 From Thomas Carlyle's Lectures on Heroes, by permission of Messrs. Chapman & Hall.