elective affinities of opposites, Milton
being fair, we will vote her
to have been dark-haired.’
I need say nothing of the good taste of this sentence, but its absurdity is heightened by the fact that Mr. Masson
himself had left us in doubt whether the match was one of convenience or inclination.
I know not how it may be with other readers, but for myself I feel inclined to resent this hail-fellow-well-met manner with its jaunty ‘we
In some cases, Mr. Masson
's indecorums in respect of style may possibly be accounted for as attempts at humor by one who has an imperfect notion of its ingredients.
In such experiments, to judge by the effect, the pensive element of the compound enters in too large an excess over the hilarious.
Whether I have hit upon the true explanation, or whether the cause lie not rather in a besetting velleity of the picturesque and vivid, I shall leave the reader to judge by an example or two.
In the manuscript copy of Milton
's sonnet in which he claims for his own house the immunity which the memory of Pindar
secured for other walls, the title had originally been, ‘On his Door when the City expected an Assault
has drawn a line through this and substituted ‘When the Assault was intended to the City
fancies ‘a mood of jest or semi-jest in the whole affair’; but we think rather that Milton
's quiet assumption of equality with two such famous poets was as seriously characteristic as Dante
's ranking himself sesto tra cotanto senno
. Mr. Masson
takes advantage of the obliterated title to imagine one of Prince Rupert's troopers entering the poet's study and finding some of his ‘Anti-Episcopal’ pamphlets that had been left lying about inadvertently.
the Cavalier Captain
might then have said, ‘Pindar
are all very well, by G—! I've been at college myself; and when I meet a gentleman ’