The English Poets: Ben Jonson to Dryden

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Thomas Humphry Ward
Macmillan, 1880
 

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Side 322 - Alas ! what boots it with incessant care To tend the homely slighted shepherd's trade, And strictly meditate the thankless Muse? Were it not better done as others use, To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, Or with the tangles of Nesera's hair ? Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise (That last infirmity of noble mind) To scorn delights, and live laborious days...
Side 456 - A man so various that he seemed to be Not one, but all mankind's epitome : Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong, Was everything by starts and nothing long ; But in the course of one revolving moon Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon ; Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking, Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking.
Side 313 - And bring all heaven before mine eyes. And may at last my weary age Find out the peaceful hermitage, The hairy gown and mossy cell, Where I may sit and rightly spell Of every star that heaven doth shew, And every herb that sips the dew, Till old experience do attain To something like prophetic strain.
Side 216 - The glories of our blood and state Are shadows, not substantial things ; There is no armour against fate ; Death lays his icy hand on kings : Sceptre and crown Must tumble down, And in the dust be equal made With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Side 453 - A daring pilot in extremity, Pleased with the danger, when the waves went high, He sought the storms ; but, for a calm unfit, Would steer too nigh the sands to boast his wit.
Side 307 - Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes From betwixt two aged oaks, Where Corydon and Thyrsis met, Are at their savoury dinner set Of herbs, and other country messes, Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses, And then in haste her bower she leaves, With Thestylis to bind the sheaves; Or, if the earlier season lead, To the tann'd haycock in the mead. Sometimes, with secure delight, The upland hamlets will invite, When the merry bells ring round, And the jocund rebecks sound To many a youth and many a maid...
Side 299 - I am now indebted, as being a work not to be raised from the heat of youth, or the vapours of wine, like that which flows at waste from the pen of some vulgar amourist, or the trencher fury of a rhyming parasite ; nor to be obtained by the invocation of dame Memory and her siren daughters ; 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...
Side 322 - Phoebus replied, and touched my trembling ears ; ' Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, Nor in the glistering foil Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies ; But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes And perfect witness of all-judging Jove ; As he pronounces lastly on each deed, Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed.
Side 272 - Go, lovely Rose! Tell her, that wastes her time and me, That now she knows, When I resemble her to thee, How sweet and fair she seems to be. Tell her that's young And shuns to have her graces spied, That hadst thou sprung In deserts, where no men abide, Thou must have uncommended died.
Side 324 - Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more, For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead, Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor. So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, And yet anon repairs his drooping head, And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore Flames in the forehead of the morning sky...

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