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and of growing considerable among those with whom they
There is a kind of grandeur and respect which the meanest and most insignificant part of mankind endeavor to procure in the little circle of their friends and acquaint
The poorest mechanic, nay, the man who lives upon common alms, gets him his set of admirers and delights in that superiority which he enjoys over those who are in some respects beneath him. This ambition, which is natural to the soul of man, might, methinks, receive a very happy turn and, if it were rightly directed, contribute as much to a person's advantage as it generally does to his uneasiness and disquiet.-Addison's “ Spectator" Papers.
They were old chimes, trust me. Centuries ago, these Bells had been baptized by bishops; so many centuries ago, that the register of their baptism was lost long, long before the memory of man and no one knew their names. They had had their Godfathers and Godmothers, these Bells, (for my own part, by the way, I would rather incur the responsibility of being Godfather to a Bell than a Boy) and had had their silver mugs, no doubt, besides. But Time had mowed down their sponsors, and Henry the Eighth had melted down their mugs, and they now hung, nameless and mugless, in the church-tower.—Dickens' “ Christmas Stories.”
The breeze had been fresh all day, with more sea than usual, and they had made great progress. At sunset, they had stood again to the west and were ploughing the waves at a rapid rate, the Pintla keeping the head, from her superior sailing. The greatest animation prevailed throughout the ships ; not an eye was closed that night. As the evening darkened, Columbus took his station on the top of the castle or cabin, ranging his eye along the dusky horizon, and maintaining an intense and unremitting watch. About ten o'clock he thought he beheld a light of glimmering at a great distance. Fearing his eager hopes might deceive him, he called to Pedro Gutienez, gentleman of the king's bedchamber, and inquired whether he saw such a light; the latter replied in the affirmative. Doubtful whether it might not yet be some delusion of the fancy, Columbus called Rodrigo Sanchez and made the same inquiry. By the time the later had ascended the round-house, the light had disappeared.-Irving's "Columbus."
STYLE AND CRITICISM.
(The Critical Style.)
It is quite aside from the purpose of this discussion to compass the comprehensive province of general criticism. This has been done, or, at least, attempted, by no less a personage than Matthew Arnold; as he boldly declares: “I am bound by my own definition of criticism-a disinterested endeavor to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world.” This, we note, is a definition covering not only the ever-widening area of criticism itself, but a vast deal of territory beyond its legitimate domain.
We speak, at present, of that particular department of criticism known as literary, wherein the method and subject-matter alike are specifically those of literature, as distinct from science, philosophy, or from language itself in its purely linguistic character. Despite Mr. Arnold's all-embracing definition, he is so much a man of letters that most of his statements and conclusions as to the critical art have specially to do with literature, and, that, in modern European times. Nor is it too much to say, that what might be called the popular idea of criticism refers primarily to literature in some one or other of its manifold forms.
In so far as English literary criticism is concerned, its origin is comparatively recent. Mr. Hallam, in common with other literary historians of the earlier epochs of our authorship, calls attention to a kind of criticism and to various schools of critics existing in the age of Elizabeth and immediately succeeding eras. Hence, the names of Gascoigne, Webbe, Puttenham, and Sidney are enumerated, and reference is made to the metaphysical school of Donne as a critical school in the sphere of verse. Later in the history, scores of socalled critics appear, who at the hands of some well-disposed historians receive more than a passing notice, while at the opening of the reign of Anne, and throughout the period of the classical school of letters, English literary criticism may be said to have taken on, for the first time, something like a specific and systematic form in the pages of Pope and Dryden, Addison and Samuel Johnson. Special critical treatises upon varied literary subjects were prepared and published. Such were Lord Kames' “Elements of Criticism," Burke's “Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful,” Pope's “Essay on Criticism," Thomas Warton's "History of English Poetry,” Alison's “Essay on Taste” and
Dr. Blair's “University Lectures on Belles Lettres” -each of these numerous discussions calling emphatic attention to the criticism of authorship as a distinctive department of scholarly effort. It is not to be forgotten that it was in the middle and latter part of this eighteenth century that the literary influence of Germany was especially felt in England, through the writings of Lessing, Herder, Schiller, and Goethe. Hence, we cannot be at a loss to account, on the one hand, for that general mental awakening of which the British mind at once became the subject, nor, on the other hand, for that distinctively critical impetus that was imparted to our national letters.
Just here we are prepared, therefore, for what may be regarded as the exact historical origin of modern English literary criticism-the establishment of the “Edinburgh Review," in 1802, in the persons of Jeffrey and his colleagues. The “Review” was pre-eminently critical and always in the definite realm of literary work. It was characteristically a review--its object being to take a scholarly survey of the authorship of the time, and pronounce judgment upon it in the light of critical canons as then established. From this date on, such a type of criticism has grown to imposing proportions, keeping even pace with the rapid development of modern English letters, and threatening, at times, to distance its natural competitor, and become an end unto itself. The name of our nineteenth century critics has already become le