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One writer, for instance, excels at a plan, or a title-page, another works away the body of the book, and a third is a dab at an index. 309
Goldsmith : The Bee. No. 1. Oct. 6, 1759. The ablest writer is a gardener first, and then a cook. His tasks are, carefully to select and cultivate his strongest and most nutritive thoughts, and, when they are ripe, to dress them wholesomely, and so that they may have a relish. 310
I. C. and A. W. Hare: Guesses at Truth. Bees are sometimes drowned (or suffocated) in the honey which they collect. So some writers are lost in their collected learning. 311
Hawthorne : American Note-Books. 1842. The love of letters is the forlorn hope of the man of letters. His ruling passion is the love of fame. 312 Hazlitt : Sketches and Essays. On the Conversation
of Lords. I never saw an author in my life, saving perhaps one, that did not purr as audibly as a full-grown domestic cat on having his fur smoothed the right way by a skilful hand.
313 Holmes : Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Ch. 3.
The endeavor to please by novelty leads men wide of simplicity and nature, and fills their writings with affectation and conceit. 314 Tume : Essays. XIX. Of Simplicity and Refine
ment in Writing. We choose our favorite author as we do our friend, from a conformity of humor and disposition.
315 Hume : Essays. XXII. Of the Standard of Taste. May I hope to become the meanest of these existences ? This is a question which every author who is a lover of books asks himself some time in his life, and which must be pardoned because it cannot be helped. 316 Leigh Hunt : The Literary Examiner. My
Books. 1823. The only happy author in this world is he who is below the care of reputation. 317 Washington Irving: Tales of a Traveller. The
Poor-Devil Author. Books! their worth is a matter of fancy, say of weakness to the weaker part of mankind; they have no standard value, none at their birth. Hence the unknown maker of a book — I speak especially of the time when I first sinned in ink - is a sort of gypsy in the social scale, a picturesque vagabond, who somehow or the other contrives to live on the sunny side of the statutes, but is nevertheless vehemently suspected of alı sorts of larceny by respectable houseliolders. 318 Douylas Jerrold : Specimens of Jerrold's Wit. The
Perils of Authorship.
A man may write at any time if he will set himself doggedly to it. 319 Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. V. 40. (George
Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.) An author and his reader are not always of a mind. 320 Johnson : Works. VIII. 371. (Oxford edition, 1825.)
A transition from an author's book to his conversation is too often like an entrance into a great city after a distant prospect. Remotely, we see nothing but spires of temples and turrets of palaces, and imagine it the residence of splendor, grandeur, and magnificence, but, when we have passed the gates, we find it perplexed with narrow passages, disgraced with despicable cottages, embarrassed with obstructions, and clouded with smoke. 321
Johnson : The Rambler. No. 14. Authors are like privateers, always fair game for one another. 322 Johnson : Boswell's Life of Johnson. IV. 191.
Note 1. (George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.) A writer who obtains his full purpose loses himself in his own lustre. Of an opinion which is no longer doubted, the evidence ceases to be examined. Of an art universally practised, the first teacher is forgotten. Learning, once made popular, is no longer learning: it has the appearance of something which we have bestowed upon ourselves, as the dew appears to rise from the field which it refreshes.
323 Johnson : Works. VII. 301. (Oxford edition, 1825. )
He that is himself weary will soon weary the public. Let him therefore lay down his employment, whatever it be, who can no longer exert his former activity or attention; let him not endeavor to struggle with censure, or obstinately infest the stage till a general hiss commands him to depart. 324
Johnson : The Rambler. No. 207. Men of the pen have seldom any great skill in conquering kingdoms, but they have strong inclination to give advice.
325 Johnson: Works. VI. 260. (Oxford edition, 1825.)
My friend was of opinion that when a man of rank appeared in that character, he deserved to have his merits handsomely allowed. 326
Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. 1781.
(Routledge edition, Vol. iv. Ch. 4.) My reputation as an author is at the mercy of the reader, who lies under no other obligations to do me justice than those of religion and morality. . . . If a man calls me idiot or plagiary, I have no remedy, since by selling him the book I admit his privilege of judging and declaring his judgment, and can appeal only to other readers if I think myself injured.
327 Johnson : Works. V. 463. (Oxford edition, 1825.)
Never let criticisms operate upon your face or your mind; it is very rarely that an author is hurt by his critics. The blaze of reputation cannot be blown out, but it often dies in the socket. A very few names may be considered as perpetual lamps that shine unconsumed. 328 Johnson : Letters to and from the Late Samuel John
son. From Original MSS. by Hester Lynch Piozzi, London, 1788. 11. 110. (George Birkbeck Hill,
Editor.) No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money. 329
Johnson : Boswell's Life of Johnson. III. 19.
(George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.) The best part of every author is in general to be found in his book, I assure you. 330 Johnson : Boswell's Life of Johnson. I. 450. Note 1.
(George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.) The chief glory of every people arises from its authors. 331 Johnson: Works. V. 49. (Oxford edition, 1825.)
The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book. 332
Johnson : Boswell's Life of Johnson. 1775.
(Routledge edition, Vol. ii. Ch. 10.) The more intellectual people are, the readier will they attend to what a man tells them. If it is just they will follow it, be his practice what it will. No man practises so well as he writes. 333 Johnson : Boswell's Life of Johnson. V. 210. (George
Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.) The promises of authors are like the vows of lovers. 334 Johnson : Works. VII. 450. (Oxford edition, 1825.)
The reciprocal civility of authors is one of the most risible scenes in the farce of life.
335 Johnson: Works. VI. 478. (Oxford edition, 1825.)
There is nothing more dreadful to an author than regret, compared with which reproach, hatred, and oppression are names of happiness. 336
Johnson : The Rambler. No. 2. There is something noble in publishing truth, though it condemns one's self. 337
Johnson: Boswell's Life of Johnson. V. 210.
(George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.) There seems to be a strange affectation in authors of appearing to have done everything by chance.
338 Johnson : Works. VIII. 24. (Oxford edition, 1825.) The worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works. An assault upon a town is a bad thing, but starving it is still worse; an assault may be unsuccessful, you may have more men killed than you kill, but if you starve the town you are sure of victory. 339
Johnson : Boswell's Life of Johnson. III. 375.
(George Birkbeck Hill, Editor, 1887.) Writers commonly derive their reputation from their works; but there are works which owe their reputation to the character of the writer. The public sometimes has its favortes, whom it regards for one species of excellence with the honors due to another.
340 Johnson: Works. VI. 478. (Oxford edition, 1825.)
Ready writing makes not good writing; but good writing brings on ready writing. 341 Ben Jonson : Timber ; or, Discoveries made upon
Men and Matter. A man starts upon a sudden, takes pen, ink, and paper, and, without ever having had a thought of it before, resolves within himself he will write a book. He has no talent at writing, but he wants fifty guineas. 342 La Bruyere : The Characters or Manners of the
Present Age. Ch. 15. It is the glory and merit of some men to write well, and of others not to write at all. 343 La Bruyère : Characters. Of Works of Genius.
(Rowe, Translator. ) To make a book is no less a trade than to make a clock; something more than wit is necessary to form an author. 31 La Bruyere : Characters. Of Works of Genius.
(Rowe, Translator.) Truth is the best guide to make a man write forcibly, naturally, and delicately. 345 La Bruyère: Characters. Of Works of Genius.
(Rowe, Translator.) Every great author is a great reformer; and the reform is either in thought or language. 346 Landor : Imaginary Conrersations. Andrew Marvel
and Bishop Parker. Authors in general are stark mad on the subject of their own works. 347
Le Sage: Gil Blas. Bk. vii. Ch. 4.
(Smollett, Translator.) Hope never tells a more flattering tale than in the ear of a dramatic author. 348
Le Sage: Gil Blas. Bk. xi. Ch. 10.
Authors' lives in general are not uniform, they are strangely checkered by vicissitudes; and even were the outward circumstances uniform, the inward struggles must still be various.
349 George Henry Lewes : The Spanish Drama. Ch. 2.
A great writer does not reveal himself here and there, but everywhere. 350
Lowell : My Study Windows. Chaucer. If the works of the great poets teach anything, it is to hold mere invention somewhat cheap. It is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found, that is of consequence. 351
Lowell: My Study Windows. Chaucer. The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no measure or limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author; some out of vanity to acquire celebrity and raise up a name, others for the sake of lucre and gain, 352
Martin Luther : Table Talk. Miscellaneous.
No. 911. (Hazlitt, Translator.) He that cometh in print because he would be known, is like the fool that cometh into the market because he would be seen, 353 Lyly: Euphues. The Anatomy of Wit. To the
Gentlemen Readers. A great writer is the friend and benefactor of his readers, and they cannot but judge of him under the deluding influence of friendship and gratitude. 354
Macaulay: Essays. Lord Bacon. What a wonderful, what an almost magical boon, a writer of great genius confers upon us, when we read him intelligently. As he proceeds from point to point in his argument or narrative, we seem to be taken up by him, and carried from hill-top to hill-top, where, through an atmosphere of light, we survey a glorious region of thought, looking freely, far and wide, above and below, and gazing in admiration upon all the beauty and grandeur of the scene.
355 Horace Mann : Lectures on Education. Lect. vi.
He who would not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter in laudable things ought himself to be a true poem. 356
Milton : Apology for Smectymnuus. The last thing that we find in making a book is to know what we shall put first. 357
Pascal : Thoughts. Ch. 9. No. 30. (Wight,
Translator.) (Lonandre edition.)
Joseph Roux : Meditations of a Parish Priest.