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Leif Nol sensately at osan.cz
Thu Mar 18 22:32:22 CET 2010

Ndifference to persons, or from her despair of mending them, or from the same practice which she most liked in Mr. Addison, I cannot determine; but when she saw any of the company very warm in a wrong opinion, she was more
inclined to confirm them in it than to oppose them.

It prevented noise, she said, and
saved time.'[2] Let us behold what a picture Macaulay
draws on the strength of this passage. 'If his first
to set a presuming dunce right were ill-received,' Macaulay says of Addison, 'he changed

his tone, "assented with civil leer," and lured the flattered coxcomb deeper and
deeper into absurdity.' To
compare this transformation of the simplicity of the original into the grotesque heat and overcharged violence of the copy, is to see the homely maiden of a country
village transformed into the painted flaunter
of the city. One more instance. We should be sorry to violate any sentiment
of [Greek: to semnon] about a man of Macaulay's genius, but what is a decorous term for a description
of the doctrine of Lucretius's

poem, thrown in parenthetically, as the 'silliest

and meanest system
of natural and moral philosophy!' Even disagreeable artifices of composition may be forgiven, when they serve to vivify truth,
to quicken or to widen the moral judgment, but Macaulay's hardy and habitual
recourse to strenuous superlatives is fundamentally unscientific and untrue. There is no more instructive example in our literature than he, of the saying that the adjective
is the enemy of the substantive. [Footnote 2: Forster's _Swift_, i. 265.] * * * * * In 1837 Jeffrey saw a letter written by Macaulay to a common friend,

and stating the reasons for preferring a literary to a political life. Jeffrey thought that his illustrious ally was wrong in the conclusion to which he came. 'As to the tranquillity of an author's life,' he said, 'I have no sort

of faith in it. And as to fame, if an author's
is now and then more lasting, it is generally longer withheld, and except in a few rare cases it is of a less pervading or elevating description. A great poet or a great _original_ write
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