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"lis hard to say, if greater want of skill but notwithstanding this difference, Appear in writing or in judging ill;

which I think to be rather apparent than But, of the two, less dang'rous is th' offence To tire our patience, than mislead our sense. real, it is probable that the standard Some few in that, but numbers err in this, both of reason and taste is the same in Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss ;

all human creatures.

The cause A fool might once himself alone expose, Now one in verse makes many more in prose.

of a wrong taste is a defect of judg'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none ment. And this may arise from a natural Go just alike, yet each believes his own. In Poets as true genius is but rare,

weakness of understanding (in whatever True Taste as seldom is the Critic's share;

the strength of that faculty may consist). Both must alike from Heav'n derive their or, which is much more commonly the light,

case, it may arise from a want of a proper These born to judge, as well as those to write.

and well-directed exercise, which alone Let such teach others who themselves excel, can make it strong and ready. Besides, And censure freely who have written well.

that ignorance, inattention, prejudice, Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true, But are not Critics to their judgment too? rashness, levity, obstinacy, in short, all - POPE, ALEXANDER, 1709, An Essay on those passions, and all those vices, which Criticism, v. 1-18.

pervert the judgment in other matters, There is nothing more absurd, than for prejudice it no less in this its more refined a Man to set up for a Critick, without a and elegant province.-BURKE, EDMUND, good insight into all parts of learning. 1756-57, The Sublime and Beautiful, In

One great Mark by which you troduction. may discover a Critick who has neither Wit certainly is the property of those Taste nor Learning, is this, that he seldom who have it, nor should we be displeased ventures to praise any passage in an if it is the only property a man sometimes Author which has not been before received has. We must not underrate him who and applauded by the Public, and that his uses it for subsistence, and flies from the Criticism turns wholly upon little Faults ingratitude of the age even to a bookseller and Errors. .. A true Critick ought for redress. If the profession of an

. to dwell rather upon Excellences than author is to be laughed at by the stupid, Imperfections, to discover the concealed it is certainly better to be contemptibly Beauties of a Writer and communicate to rich than contemptibly poor. For all the the World such things as are worth their wit that ever adorned the human mind Observation. The most exquisite words, will at present no more shield the author's and finest Strokes of an Author, are those poverty from ridicule, than his highwhich very often appear the most doubt- topped gloves conceal the unavoidable ful and exceptionable to a man who wants omissions of his laundress. —GOLDSMITH, a Relish for polite Learning; and they are OLIVER, 1759, Enquiry into the Present these which a sour undistinguishing State of Polite Learning. Critick generally attacks with the greatest The science of rational criticism tends Violence.— ADDISON, JOSEPH, 1711-12, to improve the heart no less than the The Spectator, No. 291.

understanding. It tends, in the first On a superficial view we may seem to place, to moderate the selfish affections. differ very widely from each other in our By sweetening and harmonizing the reasonings, and no less in our pleasures: temper, it is a strong antidote to the turbulence of passion, and violence of DÉSIRÉ, 1844, Historie de la Littérature pursuit. It procures, to a man, so Française, vol. 1. much mental enjoyment, that, in order Those who consider the science of to be occupied, he is not tempted to criticism as nothing more than a collection deliver up his youth to hunting, gaming, of arbitrary rules, and the art of criticism drinking; nor his middle age to ambition, but their dextrous or declamatory apnor his old age to avarice. Pride and plication, rejoice in a system of admirable envy, two disgustful passions, find in the simplicity and barren results. It has the constitution no enemy more formidable advantage of judging every thing and acthan a delicate and discerning taste.- counting for nothing, thus gratifying HOME, HENRY (LORD KAMES), 1762-63, the pride of intellect without enjoinElements of Criticism.

ing any intellectual exertion. By a This age may be best characterised as steady adherence to its doctrines, a dunce the age of criticism-a criticism to which may exalt himself to a pinnacle of judgeverything must submit. Religion, on ment, from which the first authors of the the ground of its sanctity, and law, on world appear as splendid madmen, whose the ground of its majesty, often resist enormous writhings and contortions, as this sifting of their claims.

But in so they occasionally blunder into grace and doing, they inevitably awake a not unjust grandeur of motion, show an undisciplined suspicion that their claims are ill-founded, strength, which would, if subjected to and they can no longer expect the un- rule, produce great effects. A Bondfeigned homage paid by reason to that street exquisite complacently surveying a which has shown itself able to stand the thunder-scarred Titan through an operatest of free inquiry.--KANT, IMMANUEL, glass, is but a type of a Grub-street critic, 1781, Critique of Pure Reason.

measuring a Milton or a Shakspeare with True criticism is the application of taste his three-foot rule.-WHIPPLE, EDWIN and of good sense to the several fine arts. PERCY, 1848, Shakspeare's Critics, Essays The object which it proposes is, to dis- and Reviews, vol. II, p. 248. tinguish what is beautiful and what The following brief remarks on the is faulty in every performance; from critical faculty are chiefly intended to particular instances to ascend to gen- show that, for the most part, there is no eral principles; and so to form rules such thing. It is a rara avis; almost as or conclusions concerning the several rare, indeed, as the phenix, which appears kinds of beauty in works of genius. only once in five hundred years. The rules of criticism are not formed by The preceptive critical taste is, so to any induction à priori, as it is called ; that speak, the female analogue to the male is, they are not formed by a train of quality of productive talent or genius. abstract reasoning, independent of facts Not capable of begetting great work itself, and observations. Criticism is an art it consists in a capacity of reception, that founded wholly on experience.-BLAIR, is to say, of recognising as such what is HUGH, 1783, Lectures on Rhetoric and right, fit, beautiful, or the reverse; in Belles-Lettres, ed. Mills, Lecture iii. other words, of discriminating the good

To regulate our intellectual pleasures, from the bad, or discovering and apprecito free literature from the tyranny of the ating the one and condemning the other. notion that there is no disputing about

That which distinguishes genius, tastes, to constitute an exact science, in- and should be the standard for judging it, tent rather on guiding than gratifying the is the height to which it is able to soar mind.--NISARD, JEAN MARIE NAPOLÉON when it is in the proper mood and finds a


fitting occasion-2 height always out of Religious History and Criticism, tr. Froththe reach of ordinary talent.

ingham, pp. 40, 217, 263, 310. There are critics who severally think that It is of the last importance that English it rests with each one of them what shall criticism should clearly discern what rule be accounted good, and what bad. They for its course, in order to avail itself of all mistake their own toy-trumpets for the the field now opening to it, and to produce trombones of fame. A drug does not fruit to the future, it ought to take. affect its purpose if the dose is too large; The rule may be summed up in one word, — and it is the same with censure and disinterestedness. And how is criticism to adverse criticism when it exceeds the show disinterestedness ? By keeping aloof measure of justice.

of justice. — SCHOPENHAUER, from practice; by resolutely following ARTHUR, 1851-91, The Art of Literature, the law of its own nature, which is to be tr. Saunders, pp. 87, 88.

a free play of the mind on all subjects The Supreme Critic on the errors of the which it touches; by steadily refusing to past and the present, and the only prophet lend itself to any of those ulterior, politiof that which must be, is the great nature cal, practical considerations about ideas in which we rest as the earth lies in the which plenty of people will be sure to attach soft arms of the atmosphere; that Unity, to them, which perhaps ought often to be that Over-soul, within which every man's attached to them which in this country particular being is contained and made at any rate are certain to be attached to one with all other; that common heart of them quite sufficiently, but which criticism which all sincere conversation is the wor- has really nothing to do with. Its busiship, to which all right action is submis- ness is, as I have said, simply to know the sion; that overpowering reality which best that is known and thought in the confutes our tricks and talents, and con- world, and, by in its turn making this strains every one to pass for what he is, known, to create a current of true and and to speak from his character and not fresh ideas. Its business is to do this from his tongue, and which evermore tends with inflexible honesty, with due ability; to pass into our thought and hand and but its business is to do no more, and to become wisdom and virtue and power and leave alone all questions of practical conbeauty.- EMERSON, RALPH WALDO, 1856- sequences and applications, questions 83, The Over-Soul, Essays, First Series ; which will never fail to have due promiComplete Works, Riverside ed., vol. II, p. 252. , nence given to them.

It is Each order of greatness has its own because criticism has so little kept in the eminence and should not be contrasted pure intellectual sphere, has so little dewith another.

The critical sense tached itself from practice, has been so is not inoculated in an hour; he who has directly polemical and controversial, that not cultivated it by a long scientific and it has so ill accomplished, in this country, intellectual discipline will always find its best spiritual work; which is to keep adverse arguments to oppose to the more man from a self-satisfaction which is redelicate inductions.

Criticism tarding and vulgarizing, to lead him displaces admiration, but does not destroy towards perfection, by making his mind it.

That delicate feeling for dwell upon what is excellent in itself, shades of thought which we call criticism, and the absolute beauty and fitness of without which there is no insight into the things. - ARNOLD, MATTHEW, 1865, The past and consequently no extended under- Function of Criticism at the Present Time, standing of human affairs. - RENAN,

Essays in Criticism. JOSEPH ERNEST, 1859-64, Studies of Good composition is far less dependent

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upon acquaintance with its laws, than an unchangeable type. When the asupon practice and natural aptitude. A similation of new matters ceases, decay clear head, a quick imagination, and a must begin. In a reasoned self-restrainsensitive ear, will go far towards making ing deference there is as much energy as all rhetorical precepts needless.-SPEN- in rebellion; but among the less capable, CER, HERBERT, 1871, The Philosophy of one must admit that the superior energy Style.

is on the side of the rebels. Though a thousand critics determine tainly a man who dares to say that he finds that a book ought not to live, if it is a real an eminent classic feeble here, extravabook it lives, without the slightest refer- gant there, and in general overrated, may ence to their opinions and protests. What chance to give an opinion which has some the critics prove by their work is, simply genuine discrimination in it concerning a their lack of power to comprehend and new work or a living thinker-an opinion appreciate it. They prove nothing against such as can hardly ever be got from the the book whatever. There has not lived reputed judge who is a correct echo of a great British author within the last the most approved phrases concerning century whose works have not been sub- those who have been already canonised. – jected to the most scorching criticisms Eliot, GEORGE, 1880-83, Leaves from a and the most slashing and sweeping con- Note Book, Essays, p. 365. demnations. Yet those criticisms and Only of late have we begun to look for condemnations have passed for nothing. criticism which applies both knowledge The criticisms, often profoundly ingen- and self-knowledge to the test; which is ious, and full of learning and power, die, penetrative and dexterous, but probes and the books live. They are often

They are often only to cure; which enters into the soul exceedingly creditable productions-50 and purpose of a work, and considers creditable, indeed, that they form the every factor that makes it what it is ;--basis of great personal reputations—but the criticism which, above all, esteems it a they accomplish absolutely nothing except cardinal sin to suffer a verdict to be tainted the revelation of the men who produce by private dislike, or by partisanship and them. Criticism thus becomes a form of the instinct of battle with an opposing personal expression, and is just as thor- clique or school.–STEDMAN, EDMUND oughly individualized as if it were poetry, CLARENCE, 1885, Poets of America, p. 25. or picture, or sculpture. The critic takes The whole history of criticism has been a book in one hand, and uses the other to a triumph of authors over critics.-MOULpaint himself with. When his work is TON, RICHARD GREEN, 1885, Shakespeare done we may fail to find the book in it, as a Dramatic Artist. but we are sure to find him.-HOLLAND, Our true critic renounces idiosyncratic JOSIAH GILBERT, 1876, Every-Day Topics, whims and partialities, striving to enter First Series, p. 58.

with firm purpose into the understanding It is difficult to strike the balance of universal goodness and beauty. In so between the educational needs of passivity far as he finds truth in Angelico and or receptivity, and independent selection. Rubens, will he be appreciative of both. We should learn nothing without the -SYMONDS, JOHN ADDINGTON, 1886, Retendency to implicit acceptance; but naissance in Italy, The Catholic Reaction, there must clearly be a limit to such men- vol. II, p. 397. tal submission, else we should come to a Learn your trade, gentlemen, or your stand-still. The human mind would be no art, if it be an art, before you attempt to better than a dried specimen, representing practise it. Science points you the path,

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