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Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/45

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LIVES OF EMINENT PERSONS

" To have great excellences and great faults, magnae virtutes, nee minora vitia, is the poesy," says our author, " of the best natures." This poesy may be properly applied to the style of Browne ; it is vigorous, but rugged ; it is learned, but pedantic ; it is deep, but obscure; it strikes, but does not please; it commands, but does not allure: his tropes are harsh, and his combinations uncouth. He fell into an age in which our language began to lose the stability which it had obtained in the time of Elizabeth ; and was considered by every writer as a subject on which he might try his plastic skill, by moulding it according to his own fancy. Milton, in consequence of this encroaching licence, began to introduce the Latin idiom: and Browne, though he gave less disturbance to our structures in phrase- ology, yet poured in a multitude of exotic words; many, indeed, useful and significant, which, if rejected, must be supplied by cir- cumlocution, such as commensality for the state of many living at the same table ; but many superfluous, as a paralogical for an un- reasonable doubt ; and some so obscure, that

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