Home  »  Familiar Quotations  »  Page 505

John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Page 505

Samuel Taylor Coleridge. (1772–1834) (continued)
    Reviewers are usually people who would have been poets, historians, biographers, if they could; they have tried their talents at one or the other, and have failed; therefore they turn critics. 1
          Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton, p. 36. Delivered 1811–1812.
    Schiller has the material sublime.
          Table Talk.
    I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose,—words in their best order; poetry,—the best words in their best order.
          Table Talk.
    That passage is what I call the sublime dashed to pieces by cutting too close with the fiery four-in-hand round the corner of nonsense.
          Table Talk.
    Iago’s soliloquy, the motive-hunting of a motiveless malignity—how awful it is!
          Notes on some other Plays of Shakespeare.
Josiah Quincy. (1772–1864)
    If this bill [for the admission of Orleans Territory as a State] passes, it is my deliberate opinion that it is virtually a dissolution of the Union; that it will free the States from their moral obligation; and, as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, definitely to prepare for a separation,—amicably if they can, violently if they must. 2
          Abridged Cong. Debates, Jan. 14, 1811. Vol. iv. p. 327.
Note 1.
Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race. As a bankrupt thief turns thief-taker in despair, so an unsuccessful author turns critic.—Percy Bysshe Shelley: Fragments of Adonais.

You know who critics are? The men who have failed in literature and art.—Benjamin Disraeli (Earl Beaconsfield): Lothair, chap. xxxv. [back]
Note 2.
The gentleman [Mr. Quincy] cannot have forgotten his own sentiment, uttered even on the floor of this House, “Peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must.”—Henry Clay: Speech, Jan. 8, 1813. [back]