1698 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir William Temple

John Hughes, in "Of Style" 1698; Poems (1735) 1:252-53.



Besides all these Qualifications, there is a something in Language, which, to borrow a Word from Singing, may be call'd a Manner. This, like the Air of Faces, is a Mark of Distinction, by which every one has somewhat peculiar to it self from all others. For, besides the manifest Difference between Beauty and Deformity, there is a wonderful Variety even among good Faces, for which reason the Painters have learn'd, from many scatter'd Beauties, to collect one perfect Idea, which is hard to be found in any Individual.

To apply this; Sir William Temple, Sir Roger L'Estrange, and Dr. Sprat (to mention no more) are each of them allow'd Masters in the Tongue, and yet every one has a different Manner, as may be seen by a short Character of each.

The Style of Sir William Temple is very harmonious and sweet, full of Spirit, and Raciness of Wit, to use a Word of his own. His Similies are particularly fine, his Allusions graceful, his Words significant, and the whole has a kind of Charm, which amuses the Reader with serious Pleasure, puts him in a good Humour while he is reading, and leaves him thoughtful when he breaks off.