Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/198

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172 SAMUEL JOHNSON

soothe it ; they commonly want airiness, light- ness, and facility: what is smooth is not soft. His verses always roll, but they seldom flow. A survey of the life and writings of Prior may exemplify a sentence which he doubtless understood well, when he read Horace at his uncle's ; " the vessel long retains the scent which it first receives." In his private relaxa- tion he revived the tavern, and in his amorous pedantry he exhibited the college. But on higher occasions, and nobler subjects, when habit was overpowered by the necessity of re- flection, he wanted not wisdom as a statesman, or elegance as a poet.

��FROM " CONGREVE "

IF I were required to select from the whole mass of English poetry the most poetical para- graph, I know not what I could prefer to an exclamation in The Mourniug Bride :

ALMER1A.

It was a fancied noise ; for all is hush'd.

LEONORA.

It bore the accent of a human voice.

ALMERIA.

It was thy fear, or else some transient wind Whistling through hollows of this vaulted aisle : We'll listen

�� �