And this applies not only to words of beauty, but to words of wit. All wit, said Mr. Pitt, is true reasoning ; and Rogers, who preserved this saying, added, that he himself had lived long before making the discovery that wit was truth.
A final condition of literary art is thoroughness, which must be shown both in the preparation and in the revision of one's work.
The most brilliant mind needs a large accumulated capital of facts and images, before it can safely enter on its business.
Addison, before beginning the Spectator, had accumulated three folio volumes of notes.
The greater part of an author's time, said Dr. Johnson, is spent in reading in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.
Unhappily, with these riches comes the chance of being crushed by them, of which the agreeable Roman Catholic writer, Digby, is a striking recent example.
There is no satisfaction in being told, as Charles Lamb told Godwin, that you have read more books that are n
uise, and that this American literature of ours will be just as classic a thing, if we do our part, as any which the past has treasured.
There is a mirage over all literary associations.
Keats and Lamb seem to our young people to be existences as remote and legendary as Homer, yet it is not an old man's life since Keats was an awkward boy at the door of Hazlitt's lecture-room, and Lamb was introducing Talfourd to Wordsworth as his own only admirer.
In reading Spence's Anecdotes, Pope and Addison appear no further off; and wherever I open Bacon's Essays, I am sure to end at last with that one magical sentence, annihilating centuries, When I was a child, and Queen Elizabeth was in the flower of her years.
And this imperceptible transformation of the commonplace present into the storied past applies equally to the pursuits of war and to the serenest works of peace.
Be not misled by the excitements of the moment
Written early in 1862. into overrating the charms of military life