Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/198

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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.


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 :


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


It bore the accent of a human voice.


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

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