Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Rake's Lack of Progress

Much mischief is done in the world with very little interest or design. He that assumes the character of a critick, and justifies his claim by perpetual censure, imagines that he is hurting none but the author, and him he considers as a pestilent animal, whom every other being has a right to persecute; little does he think how many harmless men he involves in his own guilt, by teaching them to be noxious without malignity, and to repeat objections which they do not understand; or how many honest minds he debars from pleasure, by exciting an artificial fastidiousness, and making them too wise to concur with their own sensations. He who is taught by a critick to dislike that which pleased him in his natural state, has the same reason to complain of his instructer, as the madman to rail at his doctor, who, when he thought himself master of Peru, physicked him to poverty.

*
A few, a very few, commonly constitute the taste of the time; the judgment which they have once pronounced, some are too lazy to discuss, and some too timorous to contradict; it may however be, I think, observed, that their power is greater to depress than exalt, as mankind are more credulous of censure than of praise.

*
There are said to be pleasures in madness known only to madmen.

-- Samuel Johnson

2 comments:

baj salchert said...

During the years I lived in Gainesville, Florida, three nicknames I had were:
Buckwheat (because of my cowlick),
bad ass,
and
madman.

Lemon Hound said...

I'm always relieved to know that the insanity of attack has its historical contexts and disturbed by the sameness of the dialog.

Perhaps those who reject all discussion of the work in favor of the work have a point.