Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

A few detached thoughts from William Shenstone

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William Shenstone

Long sentences in short compositions are like large rooms in a little house.

A poet, until he arrives at thirty, can see no other good than a poetical reputation. About that era, he begins to discover some other.

Critics must excuse me if I compare them to certain animals called asses, who, by gnawing vines, originally taught us the great advantage of pruning them.

Rhymes, in elegant poetry, should consist of syllables that are long in pronunciation, such as “are, ear, ire, ore, your,” in which a nice ear will find more agreeableness than in these: “gnat, net, knit, knot, nut.”

Prudes allow no quarter to such ladies as have fallen a sacrifice to the gentle passions; either because themselves, being borne away by the malignant ones, perhaps never felt the other so powerful as to occasion them any difficulty; or because no one has tempted them to transgress. It is the same case with some critics, with regard to the errors of ingenious writers.

People in high or distinguished life ought to have a greater circumspection in regard to their most trivial actions. For instance, I saw Mr. Pope—and what was he doing when you saw him?—why, to the best of my memory, he was picking his nose.

William Shenstone, “Detached Thoughts on Writing and Books”

Written by nevalalee

May 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

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