e shake off that habit of over-minute detail which renders the narratives of uncultivated people so tedious, and sometimes so distasteful.
On my alluding to the line,
Three feet long and two feet wide, confessing that I dared not read them aloud in company, he said, They ought to be liked.
Crabb Robinson, 9th May, 1815. His ordinary answer to criticisms was that he considered the power to appreciate the passage criticised as a test of the critic's capacity to judge of poetry at all. Simon Lee, after his latest revision, still contains verses like these:—
And he is lean and he is sick; His body, dwindled and awry, Rests upon ankles swollen and thick; His legs are thin and dry; Few months of life he has in store, As he to you will tell, For still, the more he works, the more Do his weak ankles swell,— which are not only prose, but bad prose, and moreover guilty of the same fault for which Wordsworth condemned Dr. Johnson's famous parody on the ballad-style,—that their matter<