Quotation by Joseph Addison

Since I am upon this Subject, I must observe that our English Poets have succeeded much better in the Stile, than in the Sentiments of their Tragedies. Their Language is very often noble and sonorous, but the sense either very trifling or very common. On the contrary, in the ancient Tragedies, and indeed in those of Corneille and Racine, tho' the Expressions are very great, it is the Thought that bears them up and swells them. For my own part, I prefer a noble Sentiment that is depressed with homely Language, infinitely before a vulgar one that is blown up with all the Sound and Energy of Expression. Whether this Defect in our Tragedies may arise from Want of Genius, Knowledge, or Experience in the Writers, or from their Compliance with the vicious Taste of their Readers, who are better Judges of the Language than of the Sentiments, and consequently relish the one more than the other, I cannot determine.
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