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NOTES TO JOHNSON'S AKENSIDE.
1. This sketch of Akenside is from the "Lives of the Poets." It is one of the shortest, but it exhibits very well Johnson's manner of criticism. frequently the case in the "Lives," the biographical matter is scanty.
2. Dr. Johnson was a strong Churchman; and his prejudices against the Dissenters kept him from doing Akenside full justice.
3. This was a fund used by the Church of Scotland to educate young men of limited means for the ministry.
4. The reason for the change is a matter of conjecture. It probably sprang from a disinclination to assume the responsibilities of the clerical office, or perhaps from the drawings of worldly ambition.
5. Here the prejudices of the Tory and Churchman are apparent.
6. The title was suggested to Akenside by Addison's papers on the "Pleasures of the Imagination," in the Spectator. But the treatment in the poem is quite different.
7. This dissertation was characterized by acute professional research and sound reasoning.
8. Dr. Johnson's prejudices against Presbyterians and Whigs again get the better of his judgment.
9. Jeremiah Dyson - a name never to be mentioned by any lover of genius or noble deeds without affection and reverence" was the steadfast friend and benefactor of Akenside. The passage in question occurs in the third book of the "Pleasures of Imagination." The sense of ridicule was implanted "in mortal bosoms,"
"Wherefore, but to aid
The tardy steps of reason, and at once
By this prompt impulse urge us to depress
10. This omission would indicate that he recognized the justice of Warburton's strictures.
II. William Pulteney, Earl of Bath. Once the friend, he afterwards became the enemy of Robert Walpole, and the leader of the opposition in Parliament. His weakness in forming a ministry after Walpole's downfall in 1741 gave rise to the charge of betraying his country. Of Akenside's
epistle, Macaulay said that it indicated "powers of elevated satire, which, if diligently cultivated, might have disputed the eminence of Dryden."
12. This may be taken as an illustration of Johnson's interesting side remarks.
13. This is the first of the series known as the "Poems of the Pleasures." The others are "The Pleasures of Memory," by Samuel Rogers; "The Pleasures of Hope," by Thomas Campbell; and "The Pleasures of Friendship," by James McHenry.
14. Johnson had an unreasonable aversion to blank verse. In the sketch of Milton he says: Poetry may subsist without rhyme, but English poetry will not often please; nor can rhyme ever be safely spared, but where the subject is able to support itself. Blank verse . . . has neither the easiness of repose, nor the melody of numbers, and therefore tires by long continu
15. These paragraphs illustrate the points to which Dr. Johnson devotes his criticism. It is chiefly external qualities upon which he dwells -- the essential element of poetry is untouched.
16. These observations are a little too severe.
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
SCOTT, BYRON, WORDSWORTH, TENNYSON.
OTHER PROMINENT WRITERS.
COLERIDGE, SOUTHEY, MOORE, Shelley, KEATS,
GROTE, MACAULAY, HALLAM, CARLYLE. Essayists. JEFFREY, HAZLITT, LAMB, DE QUINCEY. Novelists.- JANE AUSTEN, CHARLOTTE BRONTÉ, MARRYATT, DICKENS, THACKERAY, LYTTON, TROLLOPE, GEORGE ELIOT.
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
GENERAL SURVEY. Upon the whole there has been no grander age in the history of the world. It may lack the æsthetic culture of the age of Pericles; the great martial spirit of ancient Rome; the lofty ideals of the age of chivalry. But as we compare the conditions of the present day with those of any period of the past, who can doubt the fact of human progress? The world has grown into a liberty, intelligence, happiness, and morality unknown at any previous time. To be sure, the true golden age has not been reached. That lies, and perhaps far distant, in the future. Many evils in society, in the state, and in the church, need to be corrected. But the advancement during the present century has been marvellously rapid. Let us consider for a moment some of the characteristics of this age.
If we think of the wonderful improvements in the mechanic arts, we recognize this century as an age of invention. Within a few decades are comprised more numerous and more important inventions than are found in many preceding centuries taken together. Think of the wonders. accomplished by steam! It has supplied a new motive power, accelerated travel, and built up manufacturing inland towns and cities. Electricity is at present accomplishing scarcely less. It carries our messages and lights