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Biographical Essays

Thomas De Quincey

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Book Excerpt: 
. . ., and dishonorable to human nature, that whenever men of vulgar habits and of poor education wish to impress us with a feeling of respect for a man's talents, they are sure to cite, by way of evidence, some gross instance of malignity. Power, in their minds, is best illustrated by malice or by the infliction of pain. To this unwelcome fact we have some evidence in the wretched tale which we have just dismissed; and there is another of the same description to be found in all lives of Shakspeare, which we will expose to the contempt of the reader whilst we are in this field of discussion, that we may not afterwards have to resume so disgusting a subject.

This poet, who was a model of gracious benignity in his manners, and of whom, amidst our general ignorance, thus much is perfectly established, that the term gentle was almost as generally and by prescriptive right associated with his name as the affix of venerable with Bede, or judicious with Hooker, is alleged to h. . . Read More