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The author of Lavengro, the Scholar, the Gypsy, and the Priest has after his fitful hour come into his own, and there abides securely.  Borrow’s books,—carelessly written, impatient, petulant, in parts repellant,—have been found so full of the elixir of life, of the charm of existence, of the glory of motion, so instinct with character, and mood, and wayward fancy, that their very names are sounds of enchantment, whilst the... more...

'IN THE NAME OF THE BODLEIAN'   With what feelings, I wonder, ought one to approach in a famous University an already venerable foundation, devoted by the last will and indented deed of a pious benefactor to the collection and housing of books and the promotion of learning? The Bodleian at this moment harbours within its walls well-nigh half a million of printed volumes, some scores of precious manuscripts in all the tongues, and has... more...

I am sorry not to have been able to persuade my old friend, George Radford, who wrote the paper on ‘Falstaff’ in the former volume, to contribute anything to the second series of Obiter Dicta.  In order to enjoy the pleasure of reading your own books over and over again, it is essential that they should be written either wholly or in part by somebody else. Critics will probably be found ready to assert that this little book has... more...

CARLYLE The accomplishments of our race have of late become so varied, that it is often no easy task to assign him whom we would judge to his proper station among men; and yet, until this has been done, the guns of our criticism cannot be accurately levelled, and as a consequence the greater part of our fire must remain futile. He, for example, who would essay to take account of Mr. Gladstone, must read much else besides Hansard; he must brush... more...

CHAPTER I EARLY DAYS AT SCHOOL AND COLLEGE The name of Andrew Marvell ever sounds sweet, and always has, to use words of Charles Lamb’s, a fine relish to the ear. As the author of poetry of exquisite quality, where for the last time may be heard the priceless note of the Elizabethan lyricist, whilst at the same moment utterance is being given to thoughts and feelings which reach far forward to Wordsworth and Shelley, Marvell can never be... more...