"Example is always more efficacious than precept. A soldier is
formed in war, and a painter must copy pictures. In this,
contemplative life has the advantage: great actions are seldom
seen, but the labors of art are always at hand for those who
desire to know what art has been able to perform."
Johnson: Rasselas [Imlac]
Note: If you haven't read it yet, please read this note of caution regarding quotes from
1,038. Art; Criticism; Poetry
On Milton's Lycidas: "In this poem there is no nature,
for there is no truth; there is no art, for there is nothing
new. Its form is that of a pastoral, easy, vulgar, and therefore
disgusting: whatever images it can supply are long ago
exhausted; and its inherent improbability always forces
dissatisfaction on the mind."
Johnson: Milton (Lives of the Poets)