Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, Volume 1

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James Munroe, 1838 - 454 pages

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Page 296 - Are we a piece of machinery, which, like the /Eolian harp, passive, takes the impression of the passing accident ; or do these workings argue something within us above the trodden clod ? I own myself partial to such proofs of those awful and important realities : a God that made all things, man's immaterial and immortal nature, and a world of weal or wo beyond death and the grave.
Page 317 - There was a strong expression of sense and shrewdness in all his lineaments ; the eye alone, I think, indicated the poetical character and temperament. It was large, and of a dark cast, and glowed (I say literally glowed) when he spoke with feeling or interest.
Page 314 - ... in the whole strain of his bearing and conversation a most thorough conviction, that in the society of the most eminent men of his nation he was exactly where he was entitled to be; hardly deigned to flatter them by exhibiting even an occasional symptom of being flattered...
Page 317 - Among the men who were the most learned of their time and country, he expressed himself with perfect firmness, but without the least intrusive forwardness ; and when he differed in opinion, he did not hesitate to express it firmly, yet at the same time with modesty.
Page 317 - I never saw a man in company with his superiors in station or information more perfectly free from either the reality or the affectation of embarrassment. I was told, but did not observe it, that his address to females was extremely deferential, and always with a turn either to the pathetic or humorous, which engaged their af'enrion particularly. I have heard the late Duchess of Gordon remark this. — I do not know any thing I can add to these recollections of forty years since.
Page 392 - Nemesis visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation...
Page 284 - Peasant show himself among us ; ' a soul like an ^Eolian harp, in whose strings ' the vulgar wind, as it passed through them, changed itself ' into articulate melody.' And this was he for whom the world found no fitter business than quarrelling with smugglers and vintners, computing...
Page 315 - I may truly say, Virgilium vidi tantum. I was a lad of fifteen in 1786-7, 20 when he came first to Edinburgh, but had sense and feeling enough to be much interested in his poetry, and would have given the world to know him : but I had very little acquaintance with any literary people, and still less with the gentry of the west country, the two sets that he most frequented. Mr.
Page 336 - ... seen and felt, that not only his highest glory, but his first duty, and the true medicine for all his woes, lay here. The second was still less probable ; for his mind was ever among the clearest and firmest. So the milder third gate was opened for him : and he passed, not softly yet speedily, into that still country, where the hail-storms and fire-showers do not reach, and the heaviest-laden wayfarer at length lays down his load...
Page 333 - ... side was gay with successive groups of gentlemen and ladies, all drawn together for the festivities of the night, not one of whom appeared willing to recognise him. The horseman dismounted, and joined Burns, who on his proposing to cross the street said: ' Nay, nay, my young friend, that's all over now; ' and quoted, after a pause, some verses of Lady Grizzel Baillie's pathetic ballad :

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