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Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/112

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tion is very coldly heard, however musical or elegant, passionate or sublime.

Voltaire expressed his wonder, that our au- thor's extravagances are endured by a nation which has seen the tragedy of Cato. Let him be answered, that Addison speaks the lan- guage of poets ; and Shakspeare of men. We find in Cato innumerable beauties which enam- our us of its author, but we see nothing that acquaints us with human sentiments or human actions; we place it with the fairest and the noblest progeny which judgment propagates by conjunction with learning ; but Othello is the vigorous and vivacious offspring of ob- servation impregnated by genius. Cato affords a splendid exhibition of artificial and fictitious manners, and delivers just and noble senti- ments, in diction easy, elevated, and harmoni- ous, but its hopes and fears communicate no vibration to the heart ; the composition refers us only to the writer; we pronounce the name of Cato, but we think on Addison.

The work of a correct and regular writer is a garden accurately formed and diligently planted, varied with shades, and scented with flowers; the composition of Shakspeare is a forest, in which oaks extend their branches, and pines tower in the air, interspersed some- times with weeds and brambles, and some-

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