July 15, 2010

"... judgments upon poetry ..."

"Nothing in our age, I have observed, is more preposterous than the running judgments upon poetry and poets ; when we hear those things commended and cried up for the best writings which a man would scarce vouchsafe to wrap any wholesome drug in : he would never light his tobacco with them."
"Indeed, the multitude commend writers as they do fencers or wrastlers, who, if they come in robustiously and put in for it with a deal of violence, are received for the braver fellows ; when many times their own rudeness is a cause of their disgrace..."
-from Ben Jonson's Timber, 1640 (pp. 21 & 22 of the 1892 edition, ed. Schelling).

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