May stay here! Hazlitt a keen-eyed Essayist

(An ardent Japanese scholar is studying Hazlitt.)

hokuto77's general look into his essay style
A glimpse into some quotations in his essay

hokuto77's general look into his essay style

  William Hazlitt (1778-1820), whose name I happened to know, as a high school student, through reading English-Japanese translation books, has long lived in my memory. Vividly I remember his brief, plain and impressive words made a profound impact on my young flexibility. I tried hard to imagine what Hazlitt was like, and wanted to know much about his personality. Dear Visitors, the analytical thinking may be somewhat superficial but my name here on the website is hokuto77, not my real one.
  I quote, for a start, well-known passages, part of which once attracted me a lot and the contents are still alive in my memory and figuratively daily  readings, dim as they are in some ways.

Begin quote.
   A mere scholar, who knows nothing but books, must be ignorant even of them. 'Books do not teach the use of books.' How should he know anything of a work, who knows nothing of the subject of it? The learned pedant is conversant with books only as they are made of other books, and those again of others, without end. He parrots those who have parroted others. 
  Notes by hokuto77: (for Japanese high school students):
     mere=simple       subject=matter written or spoken of, theme    pedant=one who makes an inappropriate display of learning
   be conversant with=be well acquainted with

He can translate the same word into ten different languages, but he knows nothing of the thing which it means in any one of them. He stuffs his head with authorities built on authorities, with quotations quoted from quotations, while he locks up his senses, his understanding, and his heart. End quote.
                                             (From 'On the ignorance of the Learned (4)')

  stuff=pack tightly or cram   authority=books or documents in which knowledge, experience, and opinions of an authority are
sense=any of the special bodily faculties by which sensation is roused      understanding=intelligence; power, faculty,
   of comprehension or thought
   heart=vital energy, zeal, ardor; sensibility
      *only as they are---   cf. I accept you only as you are.
      *and those (are made) again of others (i.e. other books)
    *in any one of them=in any one of the ten different language

  For a boy of 17, the passage was so admiringly impressive and instructive that I read it again and again and considered those manners in which to learn or study things, every additional time I had the chance to read it. His argument was logical and crisp, while it was filled, it seemed to me, with such bitter criticism on learned pedants as to make me feel a little pain. I'll quote some lines right after this passage. There you will find his attack on the learned pedant so severely and perfectly, in a way, that you may feel dizzy before being marveled at Hazlitt's intensity of criticism.

Begin quote.
   He is unacquainted with the maxims and manners of the world; he is to seek in the characters of the individuals. He sees no beauty in the face of nature or of art. To him 'the mighty world of eye and ear' is hid; and 'knowledge,' except at one entrance, 'quite shut out.' His pride takes part with his ignorance; and his self-importance rises with the number of things of which he does not know the value, and which he therefore despises as unworthy of his notice.
  Notes by hokuto77:
   maxim=general truth drawn from science or experience;rule of conduct      manners=customs   be to seek in=be deficient in,
    wanting in(COD)   
  take part with i.e. go hand in hand with   part=share      rise=increase

He knows nothing of pictures;'of the colouring of Titian, the grace of Raphael, the purity of Domenichino, ”---”, the learning of Poussin, the airs of Guido, the taste of the Caracci, or the grand contour of Michael- angelo' of all those glories of the Italian and miracles of the Flemish school, which have filled the eyes of mankind with delight, and to the study and imitation of which thousands have in vain devoted their lives.
   clouring=style in which thing is colored, or in which artist employs color    grace=attractiveness, charm
    airs=affected manner    taste=disposition or execution of work of art dedicated by the faculty of discerning or enjoying beauty
  contour=artist's handling of outline   miracle=wonderful specimen of some quality =a marvel(Wyld)       school=any group holding
    the same principles, aiming
at the same object &c
These are to him as if they had never been, a mere dead letter, a bye-word; and no wonder: for he neither sees nor understands their prototypes in nature.
A print of Rubens's Watering-place, or Claude's Enchanted Castle may be hanging on the walls of his room for months without his once perceiving them; and if you point them out to him, he will turn away from them.
   bye-word=object of contempt, reproach, and censure       prototype=an original, primary type
The language of nature, of art (which is another nature), is one that he does not understand."---"
  He is equally ignorant of music; he 'knows no touch of it,' from the strains of the all-accomplished Mozart to the shepherd's pipe upon the mountain. His ears are nailed to his books; and deadened with the sound of the Greek and Latin tongues and the din and smithery of school-learning.
 End quote.
   touch=small amount  performer's manner of touching keys or strings of musical instrument   strains=music or song or verse
    of specified tendency or source(POD) =a song, melody, musical air,
note(Wyld)     all-accomplished=wholly perfect
din=continuous roar of confused noises     smithery=smith's work     school-learning=academic discussion or traditional academic
and methods (by Okagura)       *(it is) no wonder; for--- (because---)

Notes from Wikipedia:
Ludovico (or Lodovico) Carracci (21 April 1555 –13 November 1619) was an Italian, early-Baroque painter, etcher, and printmaker born
in Bologna.

Ludovico himself apprenticed under Prospero Fontana in Bologna and traveled to Florence, Parma, and Venice, before returning to his hometown. Along with his cousins Annibale and Agostino Carracci, Ludovico in 1585 was a founder and director (caposindaco) of the so-called Eclectic Academy of painting (also called the Accademia degli Incamminati), which in reality was a studio with apprenticed assistants. The Carracci are credited with reinvigorating Italian art, specially fresco art, which was subsumed with formalistic Mannerism.Carracci's own works are characterized by a strong mood invoked by broad gestures and flickering light that create spiritual emotion.
Ludovico Carracci died in Bologna in 1619.
Nicolas Poussin (15 June 1594 – 19 November 1665) was a French painter in the classical style. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. Until the 20th century he remained the dominant inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David and Paul Cézanne. He spent most of his working life in Rome except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France as First Painter to the King
 Readers, I hope, you will take an interest in the very outset of the whole essay. It begins with the quotation from Samuel Butler's poem.

Begin quote.


"For the more languages a man can speak,
His talent has but sprung the greater leak;
And, for the industry he has spent upon 't
Must full as much some other way discount.
The Hebrew, Chaldee, and the Syriac
Do, like their letters, set men's reason back,
 Notes by hokuto77:
  *spring a leak=begin leaking(Wyld)   discount=lessen; detract from(COD)
has spent upon 't, i.e. has spend upon learning languages  *His talent---must discount full(y)
  as much
some other way
   *The Hebrew, Chaldee, and the Syriac (language)
  Chaldee=the language of Chaldeans  Chaldean=a native of Chaldea, esp. (as at Babylon)
  one skilled in occult learning, astrology, etc.    Syriac=(adj.)of Syria;(n)the ancient Semitic
  language of Syria    *Do---set  (emphasis)   *set--back=set--in reversed order

And turn their wits that strive to understand it
 (Like those that write the characters) left-hande
Yet he that is but able to express

No sense at all in several languages,
Will pass for learneder than he that's known
To speak the strongest reason in his own."                    (By Butler)
  *turn--left-handed=turn---the other way     sense=intelligibility or coherence or possession of
  a meaning      pass for--=be accepted as      *in his own=in his mother tongue
  reason=sane thought or argument(Wyld)

The descriptions of persons who have the fewest ideas of all others are mere authors and readers. It is better to be able neither to read nor write than to be able to do nothing else. A lounger who is ordinarily seen with a book in his hand is (we may be almost sure) equally without the power or inclination to attend either to what passes around him or in his own mind.
 Notes by hokuto77:
  description=sort, kind    *the fewest of all others  cf. He is the tallest of all others.
  lounger= a person who goes lazily      attend to=turn the mind to, apply oneself to
Such a one may be said to carry his understanding aboutwith him in his pocket, or to leave it at home on his library shelves. He is afraid of venturing on train of reasoning, or of striking any observation that is not mechanically suggested to him by passing his eyes over certain legible characters; shrinking from the fatigue of thought, which, for want of practice, becomes insupportable to him, and sits down contented with an endless wearisome succession of words and half-form which fill the void of the mind and continually efface one another. Learning is, in to many cases;a foil to common sense; an substitute for true knowledge. End quote.
  venture on=dare to engage in           train=a series, sequence, of connected idea &c.
   strike out=forge or devise(COD) invent or contrive(POD)       efface=rub or wipe out
   foil=thing that sets another off by contrast  (set off=act as adornment, make more striking)

  It will be of great use and interest to carefully distinguish between 'learning' and 'true knowledge'. To know what Hazlitt has in mind about both the conceptions, readers have to go ahead with reading. But here it is not my subject matter. I quote other passages that impressed me greatly as much.

Begin quote.
 No young man believes he shall ever die. It was a saying of my brother's, and a fine one. There is a feeling of Eternity in youth,which makes us amends for everything. To be young is to be as one of the Immortal Gods. One half of time indeed is flown the other half remains in store for us with all the countless treasures; for there is no line drawn, and we see no limit to our hopes and wishes. We make the coming age our own.   End quote.
                        From 'On the Feeling of Immortality in Youth')
 Notes by hokuto77:  (for Japanese high school students)
  my brother=John Hazlitt(who was a miniature painter and ten years older than William Hazlitt)(By T. Taketomo)
ever= at any time      *fine one= fine saying   amends= compensation
  line=boundary line between life and death or boundary line showing the limit of storing up treasures

 Strange to say, a strong spirit or vigor, or persuasion is perceived though the strength of his words in the above passage.
  Here I will show you further quotation. It reads:

 Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when we were not: this gives us no concernwhy then should it trouble us that a time will come when we shall cease to be?
  Notes by hokuto77 (for Japanese high school students)
   cure=remedy   reflect=consider or think deeply about(OALD)  were: be=exist  *it=that a time---   a time---when ~
   cease to be=die

I have no wish to have been alive a hundred years ago, or in the reign of Queen Anne; why should I regret and lay it so much to heart that I shall not be alive a hundreds years later, in the reign of I cannot tell whom?                                                               (from 'On the Fear Of Death')
    reign= the period of rule of a king, queen(OALD)   *lay---to heart=think---over seriously     *it=that I shall not be---
 At the first reading, this passage reads logical and theoretical, but re-reading will prove it to be a kind of ironic humor and get a reader refreshed to a certain extent.
  As a college student, I did not have enough time to read Hazlitt; nor were seminars or lectures on his literary value and quality fully given during my college days, if I remember it right. The text was a small anthology, made up of "extraction of works" from each of several famous essayists. Naturally,
Hazlitt was among them.
 Reading through his essays at sixty, contrary to my expectation I have found some disagreeable points in them. The favorable impressions he had left on me as a high school lad are in great danger of passing away as unpleasant ones. It may be trustworthy that first good impressions do not always last long.
 The unpleasantness above said goes as follows in three points:

As a whole, there are Milton, Shakespeare, and other classics  (including French writers)so frequently quoted that every time a reader comes across a new quotation, reading is interrupted, if she or he has no knowledge of it. Nowadays most young people might ignore Hazlitt, and many English literary students in Japan would rather avoid studying him from the outset. It is true that quoted words or phrases, which a writer believes are indispensable to his writing, have deep meanings in themselves and occupy a very important position in the passage, as inseparable, and make the whole meaning all the deeper, but the excessive quotation brings about mental exhaustion instead of making our brains active and leads to the bad impression that he is showing off his scholarly attainments. It follows that present-day young readers are inclined to doubt if he may be a learned man without any originality or a very intolerable pedant.

  Hazlitt's ways of thinking and reasoning are very self-righteous and he is too self-conscious of himself being a 'somebody with uncommon talent'. Soon or later readers get sick of it. They are likely to think that basically he looks down upon others or writes about them very scornfully.

  Here and there readers will find something like epigrammatic expressions, but it seems to me many of them are not always welcomed. They are often rather sharp tongue, which may be based on his negative ways of thinking. I have no achievements of English classics or French language but I do not have any reason to have an inferiority complex to Hazlitt. I am aware of a few strong grounds for the above mentioned three faults (from ~ ).

The first is sadly that fresh sensitivity of my youth is gone with age, and the second is, even today essays require not physical but metaphysical ways of thinking. In the 19th century this tendency must have been far stronger than today. Sex between man and woman is dealt greatly with in novels, plays, films, poems and popular music, as essential element for the existence of human beings mentally and physically.

‘Hamlet’ and ‘King Lear’ and other plays of Shakespeare are mostly works of sexual problems concerning the roots of human existence. 'Paradise Lost' will not be excluded in some respects. Today, literary works without dealing with sex do not sell well. On the other hand, essays can be free from sex. I may have forgotten this fact. Having been troubled with worldly affairs for a very long time, I have been deprived of philosophic way of understanding.

  By re-reading his essays I'm now trying my best to regain those pleasant impressions which urged me to go up to college to study English literature. I think there must be some clues to find a new literary value of his essays that holds true today and will not fall over time.

already mentioned,
his comments or character portrays on other literary people such as Coleridge, Wordsworth and the like are, in a sense, not necessarily pleasant for me to read. He seems to me to be very cynical about literary abilities, viewpoints, and opinions of his acquaintances, or seems to give them too harsh criticism, as if it were a tongue-lashing. Partly because he is a critic and partly because it may result, I suppose, from his strong and dominant personality built by the trends of the times, and the social conditions in which he lived. Clearly he was influenced by the French Revolution.

But, if read from another angle, they will prove to be his attractive virtues, and give me a useful clue to grasp his real literary characteristics. For example, he will attract me more strongly, if the following assumption is set up that his cynicism comes from his keen powers of observation and dry and sharp wit, or that his bitter criticism shows he is a sober and upright man with enthusiasm and vigor based on youthfulness and passion.
In a new light,
he will surely be born again as a more multicolored essayist. Then I cannot help but go on appreciating his essays.

His arrangement of words is exquisite. He uses no word that remains to be substituted. There are found no unnecessary words or phrases in any parts. He created the style that is tight and strong. These characteristics of his carry me away into reveries, into the Earthly Paradise, if you excuse me for such exaggerated expressions.

  Here is an example of his candid opinion.
Begin quote.
 He spoke slightly of Hume (whose Essay on Miracles he said was stolen from an objection started in one of South's SermonsCredat Judoes Appella!) I was not much pleased at this account of Hume,
  Notes by T. Taketomo: (Translated into English by hokuto77)
   Hume (1711-76) was a famous historian and philosopher.      South (1633-1716) was a theologian in Restoration period.
Credat Judaos Appella(=The Jew Appella may believe it, not I.)
for I had just been reading, with infinite relish, that completest of all metaphysical choke-pears, his Treatise on Human Nature, to which the Essays, in point of scholastic subtlety and close reasoning, are more elegant trifling, light summer-reading.
  Notes by hokuto77: (for Japanese high school students)
   complete=unqualified     subtlety=subtleness, a fine distinction    close=closely    trifling=of no importance
  Notes by T. Taketomo: (Translated into English by hokuto77)
    The Romans thought that Jewish people very superstitiously believed in their gods, so that the expressions only meant thatJewish
    people were credulous fools.
The reason that Hazlitt quoted the phase was, what Coleridge commented on Hume was accepted as true
   by ‘a credulous fool’, but he did not believe in it at all.

Coleridge even denied the excellence of Hume's general style,
which I think betrayed a want of taste and candour. He however made me amends by the manner in which he spoke of Berkeley. He dwelt particularly on his Essay on Vision as a asterpiece of analytical reasoning. So it undoubtedly is.   End quote.
                                                           (The underlines are hokuto77's.)
                                                  (From 'my First Acquaintance with Poets')
  choke pears=something difficult or impossible to 'swallow'(OED)   Berkeley(1685-1753) was a philosopher and bishop in Cloyne. The
   essence of his theory is that
     'matter'cannot exist if it is separated from 'mind'.  (Matter here means materials.)
  dwelt on=spoke at length        candour=candidness
    *In the underline Hazlitt is severe, straightforward and cynical.     *In the underline Hazlitt is very blunt and cool.

  His witty remark is acceptable even today. It has both a warm warning and a tinge of humor inside, though some critics said Hazlitt wrote no humor. Examples go:

 Our cloud has at least its rainbow tints; ours is not one long polar night of cold and dullness, but we have the gleaming lights of fancy to amuse us, the household fires of truth and genius to warm us. We can go to a play and see Liston; or stay at home and read Roderick Random; or have Hogarth's prints of Marriage a la Mode hanging round our room. 'Tut! There's livers even in England, as well as 'outs of it'.
 We are not quite the forlorn hope of humanity, the last nations.
  Notes by T. Taketomo and by hokuto77:
    * 'we, our, us' is of English people.     tut=an ejaculation expressing impatience or dissatisfaction
    liver=dweller    outs of it =out of England    forlorn hope=storming-party      humanity=the human race
    hope=Dutch?    hoop=troop?

The French look at us across the Channel, and seeing nothing but water and a cloudy mist, think that this is England.
                                   'What's our Britain
                         In the world's volume? In a great pool a swan's nest.'
  If they have any farther idea of us, it is of George III.(1738-1820) and our Jack tars, the House of Lords and House of Commons, and this is no great addition to us. To go beyond this, to talk of arts and elegances as having taken up their abode here,
    Jack tar=common sailor      take up one's abode=dwell     *The underline means the French can't see anything behind what they
     see just before their eyes
.     *talk of arts and elegances as having taken up   their abode here [their=arts and elegances
here=in England
   elegance=refined propriety, something which is elegant]  i.e. say that arts and elegances do exist here in London

or to say that Mrs. Abington was equal to Mademoiselle Mars, and that we at one time got up the 'School for Scandal', as they do the ‘Misanthrope', is to persuade them that Iceland is a pleasant summer-retreat, or to recommend the whale-fishery as a classical amusement.
    *Mrs. Abington was an English actress.      at one time=once     *Mademoiselle Mars was a French actress, who played a decent
       comical role very well.     get up=organize, produce     *'School for Scandal', which means ‘a school for training speaking ill of
       others’, the most important work by Sheridan.  *'Masanthrope', which means a hater of mankind, the most imortant work by
   summer-retreat=summer resort   *The underline means the French can't possibly believe that Iceland is such a
       good summer resort
or ancient people enjoyed whale-fishery as sports.
The French are the cockneys of Europe, and have no idea how any one can exist out of Paris, or be alive without incessant grimace and jabber.
                                                            (The underlines are hokuto77's.)
                                                                  (From 'Merry England')
     cockney=one born in the city of London: strictly ‘one born within the sound of Bow Bells’. Always more or less contemptuous or
    bantering, and particularly used to connote the characteristics in which the
born Londoner is supposed to be inferior to other
     Englishmen. (OED)
   grimace=affected look; wry face made in disgust or in jest  jabber=chatter, gabble (=fast unintelligible

   The French will not accept that there are arts and elegances in  England, just as they won't believe Iceland is a nice summer resort
      and that whale fishery is amusing. They are so one-sided nation with narrow viewpoints.

 Hazlitt criticized the French severely, saying that they did not understand other nations and their culture, art and the like.
 As for this quoted passage, there is not a shred of sign that with such harsh criticism he may have wanted to warn the French to look at other nations and the world from a broader point of view. But seen from a different angle, I can't help but believe that Hazlitt has warmth in his cynicism, for he is a single-hearted essayist.
 The honor of French people today is to be retrieved. The passage about them was written in summer in 1825 at Vevey in France. Early in the 21st century a globalization is seen anywhere in the world. The French have greatly changed or tried to change their ways of thinking and to make broad their viewpoints.
 On October 3 in 2004, the Paris bureau chief of
The Aashi Shimbun, Mr. Tadashi Tominaga reported that French people and their government have the courage to be open to other cultures and to respect different religions. It is very clear from the fact that only recently the bill passed the French Parliament to prohibit wearing in public badges, emblems, or clothes that symbolize particular religions such as kerchiefs, burkas, bandanas, turbans, and so on. It is mainly based on the national policy of France, the separation of religion and politics.
 Mr. Tominaga reports that the pass of the bill is the evidence of their wisdom to live together in harmony with people who believe in different religions. He says it is a desired promise that in the public, the sense of being a French nation should be above that of being a Muslim and, he says, it is also a desirable proposal to behave and communicate each other as one and the same French nation.
  If Hazlitt were to be alive today and know what French people are doing for themselves and others, what remark would he make about them? It is probably a disparaging one. He might find fault with them as roundly as he did 180 years ago, during his journey across France. He would say to them, “You've taken as long as two centuries to improve yourselves and you are so slow in doing justice to others and that you still provoke those who believe in foreign religions into a growing antipathy towards the French government. He might also complain that the conservatism of the French is not a bit changed at all. This is no other person than Hazlitt.
 If I’m allowed to digress a little further here, I remember a reliable report on emergencies from Paris in real-time. In November, 2005, sadly, a riot broke out in the immigrant district and a lot of cars damaged. It is reported 500 million immigrant French people strongly protested to the French government against being robbed of equal opportunity for getting job. They say the dissatisfaction with the unfair opportunities for employment is especially real among young immigrants from Arab or African countries. It is recorded that revolts were already caused through the similar reason in 1983.
Aside from Hazlitt’s viewpoint of France, I hope the assimilative policy by the French government will bear fruit and immigrants will live stable and peaceful lives there.

A glimpse into Some Quotations in his Essay

Contents of Quotation and its Comment
Just for repeaters, not for first-time visitors, casual or passing

(1)Tempest IV I II 156-8
(2)Faerie QueenII ix
  Canto ix Stanza.56
(3)Troilus and Cressida
   III. iii
. 180
(4)Hamlet III.1. 68-9
(5)John Webster White Devil
  V. iii
(6) Pope, Essay on Man
   Epistle I. 1 109
(7)Macbeth I. vii. 6-7
(8)Edward Young
  Night I,1.424

(9)Measure for Measure
  III i. 118-28
(10)Paradise Lost XI 538-40 (11)Othello V ii 267-8 (12)Macbeth V iii  22-3
(13)Shakespeare Sonnets
   XII 5-12
(14)The Old Testament
   Ecclesiastes xi 3
(15)Gray Elegy II. 91-2
(16)John Dyer, Grongar Hill II 89-90 (17)Hamlet III ii 138-41
Hokuto77's impression of the characteristics of Hazlitt as an essayist

 The essay 'On the Fear of Death' contains sufficient quotations from English classics to do research on literary characters of Hazlitt. Quoted phrases or sentences are enclosed in quotation marks and color-varied so that readers will soon recognize them and understand his intention of having guoted them.

Begin quote.

 (1)  'And our little life is rounded with a sleep.'
 Perhaps the best cure for fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when we were not:"---" and if we only cherish a fondness for existence according to the good we derive from it, the pang we feel at parting with it will not be very severe! End quote.
   Notes by Taketomo:
The Tempest,IV.i.II.156-8:
  "We are such stuff
                       As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."
   Words notes by hokuto77:
    stuff=material that thing is made of or that is or may be used for some purpose (COD)     little=trivial, unimportant
   be made on=be made of     be rounded= be finished off, be brought to completeness(Onions) =(fig) complete, give satisfactory
     finish to (Wyld

Comment by hokuto77 about (1): to quot and com→
  So rare is the essay, it seems to me, which begins with a quotation that the start gives readers some surprise and, in a sense, peace of mind at once. There is no change or no substitution in the process. What's more, the passage is a very famous one and the content reads a sort of a sutra in Buddhism, or a singsong chant. The expectation to
complete 'our little life with a sleep' will probably give readers, at the outset, a kind of relief or solace against 'the fear of death.' Then readers will be able to read the essay to the very last line in a calm state of mind. Hazlitt might have a design for it by quoting this well known passage. Hazlitt is that way in attracting readers to the last.

Begin quote.
  It is certain that there is nothing in the idea of a preexistent state that excites our longing like the prospect of a posthumous existence. We are satisfied to have begun life when we did; we have no ambition to have set out on our journey sooner; and feel that we have had quite enough to do to battle our way through since. We cannot say,
              Words notes by hokuto77:
                  preexistent=existing previously in another state      prospect=that which is expected
                  posthumous=surviving, arising after one's death     battle(v)=fight, struggle

   (2)  'The wars we well remember of King Nine
       Of old Assaracus and Inachus divine.'

         Notes by Taketomo on quotation about (2):
          (2)  Cf. The Faerie Queen, Bk. II, Canto ix, Stanza 56:
                    "This man of infinite remembrance was,   /   '---'   /
                     Where they fo reuer incorrupted dweld:
                      The wares he well remembered of king, Nine,
                     Of old Assaracus, and Inachus divine."
             King Nine: the king of Babylon, Ninus(2048 B.C.), the founder of the capital of Nineveh
                Assaracus: the prince of Troy (in myth the founder of Troy)       Inachus: in myth the founder of
                   Kingdom of Argo and a river-god

 Neither have we any wish: we are contented to read of them in story, and to stand and gaze at the vast sea of time that separates us from them. It was early days then: the world was not well-aired enough for us: we have no inclination to have been up and stirring.
      well-aired=having a sweet breath. Obs.inclination=willingness      be up=not to be in bed
We do not consider the six thousand years of the world before we were born as so much time lost to us: we are perfectly indifferent about the matter. We do not grieve and lament that we did not happen to be in time to see the grand mask and pageant of human life going on in all that period; though we are mortified at being obliged to quit our stand before the rest of the procession passes. End quote.
               be stirring=be filled with activity       lost to=no longer in the possession of(POD)
                  mask=masque=kind of poetic drama with pageantrycommon in 16th-17th cc.
              pageant=spectacular procession      mortify=hurt, wound (feelings)
                  stand=raised platform or enclosure on which persons may sit or stand

Comment by hokuto77 about (2) : to quot and com☞
  The quoted passage from '
The Faerie Queen' is so ingeniously adopted by replacing 'he' with 'we' that I clearly see that he had the technical know-how of quotation. And I think of a few reasons that he made a bold attempt to quote the passage.
 The first one is, the age of the original is very old, belonging to periods of B.C. and most parts are mythological. With this, Hazlitt intends the blunting of our sense of time, so that we may not want to have anything to do with such olden times. The second is that, he expects readers to come to know that he read
'The Faerie Queen' and aims to recommend us, in a roundabout way, to read the original. The last but not least, on my mean, nasty suspicion, is that he wants to show off his wide range of reading.


Begin quote.
  It is not so much that we care to be alive a hundred or a thousand years hence, any more than to have been alive a hundred or a thousand years ago: but the thing lies here, that we would all of us wish the present moment to last for ever. We would be as we are, and would have the world remain just as it is, to please us.
              Words notes by hokuto77:
                 not so much---any more than~=no more-- than ~      *the thing = that ~ [apposition]*have O do--- 
(3) 'The present eye catches the present object' to have and to hold while it may; and abhors, on any terms, to have it torn from us, and nothing left in its room.
            *while it may( catch )      abhor=feel hatred and disgust for     on any terms=on any conditions
           room=space that is occupied by something
  *to have it torn=to have the object torn and (have) nothing left
                in its room

It is the pang of parting, the unloosing our grasp, the breaking asunder some strong tie, the leaving some cherished purpose unfulfilled, that creates the repugnance to go, and (4)'makes calamity of so long life,' as it often is.
            *It is the pang --- that creates ~ and makes --- [Emphasis ]       pang=sudden sharp mental pain
                 unloose=make something loose         asunder(adv.)=apart or separate from each other
            cherish---=cling to ---, keep --- in the mind, memory, or heart     repugnance=strong dislike or disgust
               (and the present eye abhors)     *leave --- purpose unfilled VOC      *as it often is (of so long life) =as
            it often is long-lived [it=calamity]

  (5)                   ' Oh ! thou strong heart!
                There's such a covenant 'twixt the world and thee,
                They're loth to break !'

             *covenant=compact, bargain, (law) sealed contract      *loth=loath=unwilling   ’twixt=between
 The love of life, then, is a habitual attachment not an abstract principle. Simply to be does not
(6) 'content man's natural desire ': we long to be in a certain time, place,and circumstance. We would much rather be now, (7) 'on this bank and shoal of time,' than have our choice of any future period, than take a slice of fifty or sixty years out ofthe Millennium, for instance.
                 *would much rather --- than ~, and than ---    bank=shelf, sand bank (Onions)
                          shoal=shallow (Onions)

This shows that our attachment is not confined either to being or to well-being ; but that we have an inveterate prejudice in favour of our immediate existence, such as it is.      End quote.
  Notes by Taketomo about quotation (3):
       (3) Cf. Troilus and Cressida III. iii. 180:
"The present eye praises the present object"

Comment by hokuto77 about (3) :to quot and com➧
 The reason that he substituted '
catches' for 'praises' is, he insisted on our strong desire to stay where we are now as long as possible. The substitution may well express his intent of the essay. I fancy that he wanted to emphasize, by borrowing 'present', that sensible people are neither interested in the past when we did not exist, nor in the future when we may not exist.

     (4)  Cf. Hamlet III. i. 68-9:
                 "---there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life."

               Words notes by hokuto77 on quotation (4):
                respect=serious consideration (Wyld)     calamity=grave disaster (POD)
               *of so long life=so long-lived (Ichikawa: Oba)

Comment by hokuto77 about (4) : to quot and com
 Hazlitt regarded life as a calamity, just like Hamlet did. The calamity will get long-lived if we stick to where we are, in other words, if we are reluctance to give it up. This quotation from Hamlet exactly expresses what he intended. He is said to have read Milton carefully and thoroughly, and naturally the same is probably true of most of Shakespeare.

     (5) Cf. John Webster, The White Devil, V.iii:
"O thou strong heart!
              There's such a covenant 'tween the world and
              They are loth to break."
               *covenant=compact, bargain, (law) sealed contract  *loth=loath      *it=strong heart
Comment by hokuto77 on quotation (5) : to quot and com
 Through the simple personification of ‘
strong heart’ in the form of “thou” and “thee”, this world and ‘strong heart' are more and more unwilling to break their contract. Its personification is seemingly very trifling but it has rendered the meaning, personified, much the stronger for such a plain rhetorical device as this and the attachment to life is finally, as it were, a habit that is too difficult to get out of.

     (6) Cf. Pope, Essay on Man, Epistle I.l.109:
       "To Be, contents his natural desire."

          Words notes by hokuto77 about (6):
               Be i.e. exist    natural=springing from impulses implanted in man by Nature (Wyld)
Comment by hokuto77 about (6) :to quot and com
  According to the notes by
Taketomo, Pope in the original referred to “the poor”. But Hazlitt expands the subject to people in general, or to all humanity by exchanging ‘his’ for ‘man's’. It is very clever of him to quote this passage by Pope.

 (7) Cf. Macbeth I. vii. 6-7:
"But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We'd jump the life to come."
           Words notes by houto77 on quotation (7):
             But=only (Oba)    here i.e. in this world   bank=shelf, sand bank (Onions)  shoal=shallow (Onions)
    jump(v)=hazard, risk (Onions)  *the life to come i.e. the future life (Ichikawa) the life in the next world

Comment by hokuto77 about (7) :to quot and com
 If the omitted passage by
Hazlitt, "We'd jump the life to come" is compared, in its main meaning and metaphor, with his passage “have our choice of any future period --- ”, we can easily understand his intention of the quotation. But the poetic image of the original passage is so magnificent that its quotation is not a success, not to say a failure.

Begin quote.
 No young man ever thinks he shall die. He may believe that others will, or assent to the doctrine
(8) 'all men are mortal ' as an abstract proposition, but he is far enough from bringing it home to himself individually. Youth, buoyant activity, and animal spirits hold absolute antipathy with old age as well as with death;
          Words and constructions notes by hokuto77:
            doctrine=something that is taught, instruction     proposition=statement
           bring---home to ~ =convince ~ of ---         buoyant=cheerful and confident 
               animal spirits=vivacity(=liveliness)               antipathy=deep-rooted strong feeling of dislike

nor have we, in the hey-day of life, any more than in the thoughtlessness of childhood, the remotest conception how
(9) ' This sensible warm motion can become
            A kneaded clod '

nor how sanguine, florid health and vigour shall
(10) 'turn to withered, weak, and grey.'
        hey-day=bloom, prime time of greatest vigor    in the hey-day of life=when young   remote=small, slight
            *nor have we the remotest conception (=and we do not think in the least)   sensible=sensitive
a kneaded clod  i.e. an unfeeling lump of earth   sanguine, florid health and vigour=healthy and vigorous youth
Or, if in a moment of idle speculation we indulge in this notion of the close of life as a theory, it is amazing at what a distance it seems; what a long, leisurely interval there is between; what a contrast its slow and solemn approach affords to our present gay dreams of existence!
        moment=a time for doing something, an occasion       idle=ineffective, vain  speculation=guess(n)
            indulge in---=permit oneself to enjoy---    close(n)=end   *what a distance it seems< it=the close of life >
          gay=merry, cheerful, without worries

  We eye the farthest verge of the horizon, and think what a way we shall have to look back upon ere we arrive at our (11) journey's end, and without our in the least suspecting it, the mists are at our feet, and the shadows of age encompass us.
       Words and constructions notes by hokuto77:
         verge=edge, border    suspect=have an impression of the existence of two divisions of our lives=youth and old age
=surround completely     age=old age

The two divisions of our lives have melted into each other: the extreme points close and meet with none of that romantic interval stretching out between them, that we had reckoned upon; and for the rich, melancholy, solemn hues of age,
(12) 'the sear, the yellow leaf,' the deepening shadows of an autumnal evening, we only feel a dank, cold mist, encircling all objects, after the spirit of youth is fled.
               close(v) =approach   reckon upon=rely on   *that romantic interval---that we had reckoned upon
             *for the rich---autumnal evening<for=in place of   rich=(of color) pleasantly deep and strong
             melancholy=gloomy, saddening   solemn=causing a feeling of awe, seriousness or gravity

              dank=disagreeably damp
There is no inducementto look forward; and what is worse, little interest in looking back to what has become so trite and common. The pleasures of our existence have worn themselves out, are
(13) 'gone into the waste of time,' or have turned their indifferent side to us: the pains by their repeated blows have worn us out, and have left us neither spirit nor inclination to encounter them again in retrospect.
           inducement=something that persuades one to do something; a motive    trite=not new or original
           common=of inferior quality    wear out=exhaust; exhaust in body or mind
=arousing no interest, passion, emotion       spirit=vigor; liveliness     inclination=willingness, tendency
          encounter=meet face to face       in retrospect=looking back upon the past

We do not want to rip up old grievances, nor to renew our youth like the phanex, nor to live our lives twice over. Once is enough. (14) As the tree falls, so let it be. Shut up the book and close the account once for all!     End quote.
        rip up=open up(wound, quarrel, sorrow, the past) again(COD)     grievance=real or imagined cause for complaining
       *shut the book <the book i.e. the account book>    account=reckoning, calculation, record, of money transactions:
            reckoning of debt and credit in money or service
   once for all=once and once only, finally
        Notes by Taketomo about quotations (8) ~ (14):
         (8) 'All men think all men mortal but themselves.' Young.
            This foot-note was given by Hazlitt himself.
                The quotation (8) was from Night I, 1. 424 in "The Complaint; or Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality"
              written by Edward Young.
Comment by hokuto77 about (8) : to quot and com
Hazlitt quoted and footnoted it in order to strengthen the sense of the exception of oneself. Taketomo says that the syllogism "All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates is mortal" is today a stock example, with nohing interesting or original.

(9) Cf.  Measure for Measure, III i. 118-28:
"Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod
; and the delightful spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison'd in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling: 'tis too horrible!"
Words notes by hokuto77:
howl=utter long cry of pain, rage, complaint,etc

Words notes by hokuto77:
but=only    obstruction=stagnation(of blood)
stagnate=cease to flow    rot=decay
sensible=sensitive *a kneaded clod  i.e. an
  unfeeling lump of earth  
  of fire 
reside --- =have one's home in ---
thick-ribbed=densely surrounded        imprison=confine, shut up viewless=invisible
restless=finding no rest, constantly in motion
pendent=hanging in space, floating in the air
the pendent world  i.e. the earth
lawless=not controlled or regulated by law,
 regardless of law  
incertain=uncertain (in
 various senses), doubtful

Comment by hokuto77 about (9) : to quot and com
 The quotation is marvelously effective and persuasive for young people owing to the sharp, plain contrast between "sensible” (sensitive) and “kneaded” (unfeeling), and between "motion and clod". It can be safely said it's a success, entirely due to the prominence of the origin. Hazlitt's enthusiasm has great appeal for readers through his own deep knowledge of Shakespeare. Reportedly he studied Shakespeare very hard when young.

    (10)  Cf. Milton’s Paradise Lost, XI. 538-40:
              "This is old age; but then thou must outlive
               Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty, which will change
               To withered, weak, and grey."

              Words notes by hokuto77:
                outlive=live beyond, or longer than   withered<wither=lose vigor or vitality or freshness or importance
                 grey=pale, colorless

Comment by hokuto77 about (10) : to quot and com
 Hazlitt is said to have read Milton, full of enthusiasm. He published a critical essay on his sonnets. He made lectures on the English poets, including Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton. Probably he expected this quotation to have a similarly big effect on young people, just like the quotation (9). The contrast of "youth" to "withered", "strength" to "weak" and "beauty" to "grey" is not only exquisite but also reasonably comprehensive.

     (11) journey's end Cf. Othello V.ii.267-8:
            "Here is my journey's end, here is my butt,
 And very sea-mark of my utmost sail."

           Words notes by hokuto77:
                my journey's end=the end of my life (N.Soseki)   butt=goal, object   my butt=my end (N.Soseki)
very=real, true       sea-mark=beacon or lighthouse or conspicuous object used to direct course at sea
                   utmost sail=furthest voyage

 [The phrase was, as you've just read above, noted by Natsume Soseki (1867~1916) when he lectured on Othello at the Imperial University of Tokyo in 1906. His lecture on Othello or other works of Shakespeare is reported to have been so excellent and characteristic in its content that it attracted far beyond a capacity audience in the spacious lecture room.
Comment by hokuto77 about (11) : to quot and com
The phrase "the farthest verge of the horizon" is so excellent that it needs those expressions which are suitable to it. Then readers will find out that "we arrive at our journey's end" is much more poetic, in the common sense of the word, than “we die” or "we end our lives". The expression journey's end is not enclosed in quotation marks. Hazlitt doesn't seem to be conscious of it as a quotation. This raised a little nagging doubt at the back of my mind as to whether
the superb phrase is a quotation or not "the farthest verge of the horizon".

 Now, reades, please allow me a little digression. I'll show you how the beginning of
his essay On Milton's Sonnets starts. It goes:
 The great object of the Sonnet seems to be, to express in musical numbers, and as it were with undivided breath, some occasional thought or personal feeling, 'some fee-grief due to the poet's breast.'
        Words notes by hokuto77:
         the Sonnet i.e. Milton's sonnets enclosed in quotation    number=rhythm; (pl.)groups of musical notes (COD4th)
              *personal feeling, 'some fee-grief due to the poet's breast'
.  [Apposition]
          Notes on quotations by hokuto77 about :
                : from Macbeth IV. iii. 196:
              is it a Fee-grief Due to some single breast?
              *fee-grief=a grief that has a particular owner (OED12)
                    *due to---=pertaining to--- (OED4) = belonging to--- (Ichikawa) =owned by--- (Oba)

It is a sigh uttered from the fullness of the heart, an involuntary aspiration born and born and dying in the same moment. I have always been fond of Milton's Sonnets for this reason, that they have more of this personal and internal character than any others; and they acquire a double value when we consider that they come from the pen of the loftiest of our poets.
         Words notes by hokuto77:
               the loftiest of our poets i.e. Milton
Compared with Paradise Lost, they are like tender flowers that adorn the base of some proud column or stately temple. The author in the one could work himself up with unabated fortitude
'to the height of his great argument';
             Words notes by hokuto77:
              *in the one i.e. in Paradise Lost      unabated=not abated<abate=make less strong
              work oneself up to---=artificially excite oneself up to---
            Notes on quotations by hokuto77 about :
                 :from Milton's Paradise Lost Book I 24
                       That to the height of this great argument        *argument=theme, subject (OED)
                   If you want to know about this great argument, and open Book I to read from 1ine 1 to 26.

but in the other he has shown that he could condescend to men of low estate, and after the lightning and the thunderbolt of his pen, lets fall some drops of natural pity over hapless infirmity, mingling strains with the nightingale's,'most musical, most melancholy.'
           Words notes by hokuto77:
               *in the other i.e. in sonnets    condescend=behave as if one is on equal terms with (an inferior), usually while
                   maintaining an attitude of superiority     
natural=unaffected, spontaneous   hapless=unlucky
=weakness       strain=a spell of poetry; a tone in writing
 Notes on quotations by hokuto77 about :
            :from Milton’s IlPenseroso 62:
                  Sweet Bird that shunn’st the noise of folly,

          Most musical, most melancholy!
              *penseroso=meditative, brooding, melancholy; a melancholy person, or personality (OED)
              *melancholy=thoughtful; sadly meditative (OED)   *The poem written by Milton in 1632.
           [It's OED that led hokuto77 to the originals of and . I can't thank it too much. From the start start, clearly we see
                 how devotedly
Hazlitt admired Milton as a poet.

    (12)  Cf. Macbeth V.iii.22-3:
"I have lived long enough: my way of life
                 Is fall'n into
the sear, the yellow leaf,"
nd that which should accompany old age,
                 As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
                 I must not look to have;
          Words notes by hokuto77:
            way=passage, course   sear=(1)dried up or (2)withered(=faded) state ・There can be two interpretations of
the sear and yellow leaf and the sear = the yellow leaf.
           Some scholars say, if based on , the rhythm of poetic sentiment tis missing.
           As=such as, for instance      look=expect, hope
             *I must not look to have that which shouldaccompany old age, As---
                                   but in their stead,
                 Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath,
                 Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.
           in their stead=instead of them     mouth-honour=respect expressed without sincerity honour shown in words not deeds
breath=speech, language, voice     fain=gladly, willingly  deny=refuse to accept      *the poor heart i.e. Macbeth
     *dare not (deny)
Comment by hokuto77 about (12) : to quot and com
The theoretical framework made by
Hazlitt before and after the quotation (12) is somewhat similar to that of the quoted lines from Macbeth. Probably it shows that he is, to a large extent, influenced by Shakespeare in the forming of his own view of life.
     (13)  Cf. Shakespeare Sonnets XII.5-12:
"When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
               Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
               And summer's green all girded up in sheaves
         Words and constructions notes by hokuto77:
          barren=devoid of, lacking erst=formerly, once, before  canopy(v)=provide a shelter or covering
               herd=flock of cattle    gird up=tie round, truss up  sheaves<sheaf=a bundle of things laid or tied together
          *Which erst did canopy the herd from heat    *When lofty---then of thy--- 
           *I see lofty trees barren---and (I see) summer's green all girded up---  VOC and VOC

               Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
               Then of thy beauty do I question make,
               That thou among
the wastes of time must go."
            bier=death; stand on which coffin or corpse rests     bristly=rough    beard=the hair on a man's cheeks and chins,
                formerly used also of hair on upper lip
     *that=if     waste=that which is laid waste or destroyed the wastes of time
                i.e. things devastated by Time (Onions) (
devastate=destroy, ruin)   *must go=have to go
          *I do make question of thy beauty, that (=if)    thou (=thy beauty) must go
Comment by hokuto77 about (13) : to quot and com☛
  Even if as a means of emphasis, I think there is no necessity to quote this expression from
the Sonnet or there is no need of his own creation the phrase "have worn themselves out". It seems to me the quotation of the expression is nothing but a useless addition. It does not surprise or affect readers. I say this is a failure, while in the Sonnet, leaves of lofty trees, and summer's green are compared to “thy beauty”, so the line "thou must go among the wastes of time" is really a vivid metaphor for us to appreciate the Sonnet.
     Notes by Okakura about the quotation (14):
        (14) Cf. The Books of the Old Testament; Ecclesiastes xi.3
           "and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree
           falleth, there it shall be."    *falleth<falls

Comment by hokuto77 about (14) : to quot and com☛
  To quote this passage, intentionally Hazlitt interpreted it literally; in his mind, it means that once a tree falls to the ground, it shall never rise again. But the original meaning is very different to his. As you see, originally it tells us that man should accept his fate. I guess Hazlitt wanted toemphasize, through this expression, that hatred of repetition of the same personal history or fortune, good or ill, which he thinks an innate tendency among common people.

Begin quote:
 An ivory or marble image, like Chantry's monument of the two children, is contemplated with pure delight. Why do we not grieve and fret that the marble is not alive, or fancy that it has a shortness of breath? It never was alive; and it is the difficulty of making the transition from life to death, the struggle between the two in our imagination, that confounds their properties painfully together,

            Words and constructions notes by hokuto77:
          image=statue esp. as object of worship      fret(v)=annoy, worry    *shortness of breath=tendency to get out of breath
              (Wyld), breathless(OED)
    transition=passage, change, from one place or state or act or set of circumstances to another
         property=quality belonging to something

and makes us conceive that the infant that is but just dead, still wants to breathe, to enjoy, and look about it, and is prevented by the icy hand of death, locking up its faculties and benumbing its senses; so that, if it could, it would complain of its own hard state. Perhaps religious considerations reconcile the mind to this change sooner than any others, by representing the spirit as fled to another sphere, and leaving the body behind it.
          icy=very cold      lock up=imprison       benumb=make powerless (esp. by cold); paralyze    reconcile=adjust
 So in reflecting on death generally, we mix up the idea of life with it, and thus make it the ghastly monster it is. We think how we should feel, not how the dead feel.
(15) ' Still from the tomb the voice of nature cries;
               Even in our ashes live their wonted fires! '
            End quote. 
           reflect on=think over, consider  life=period, state, of existence of in the world as a living being
          ghastly=horrible, frightful    *the two i.e. life and death
          *it is the difficulty---that confounds---and makes---  [emphasized construction]
             *the ghastly monster (that) it is

                Notes by Taketomo about the quotation (15): Gray Elegy II.91-2
                  I will quote a few more lines from the original:

  ' On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.'
 Words notes by hokuto77 about the
fond=affectionate, loving
pious=(archaic)dutiful, showing filial duty
nature=vital force or functions orneeds
wonted=accustomed, usual  fire=spiritual energy

Comment by hokuto77 about the quotation (15): to quot and com☛
 The quoted passage seriously describes, but vividly, what matters most is "how we should feel" while we are in this world. In some way, surely Hazlitt succeeded in the quotation.

Begin quote.
 It is not surprising that we are forgotten so soon after we quit this mortal stage: we are scarcely noticed, while we are on it. It is not merely that our names are not known in China
they have hardly been heard of in the next street.
       Words and constructions notes by hokuto77:
            this mortal stage=this world; the stage of life  *It is not merely that---=It is not merely because---
We are hand and glove with the universe, and think the obligation is mutual. This is an evident fallacy. If this, however, does not trouble us now, it will not hereafter.
         be hand and glove with=be intimate with     universe=world
        fallacy=misleading argument; mistaken belief   hereafter=in the next world

A handful of dust can have no quarrel to pick with its neighbours, or complaint to make against Providence, and might well explain, if it had but an understanding and a tongue, ' Go thy ways, old world, swing round in blue ether, voluble to every age, you and I shall no more jostle! 'It is amazing how soon the rich and titled, and even some of those who have wielded great political power, are forgotten.
         dust=remains of the dead     *pick a quarrel=find a pretext for it     Providence=the power that controls the world
if it had but a---=if it had only a---    well=probably   ether=clear sky  age=historical or other period
to every age=to all ages=for ever        voluble=(arch.)revolving, rotating      jostle=struggle     titled=having title of
             nobility or rank such as Duchess, Sir
   *the rich and titled=rich and titled people      wield=hold and use

     (16) ' A little rule, a little sway,
                Is all the great and mighty have
                Betwixt the cradle and the grave '

and, after its short date, they hardly leave a name behind them.
(17) 'A great man's memory may, at the common rate, survive him half a year.' His heirs and successors take his titles, his power, and his wealthall that made him considerable or courted by others;
       Words and constructions notes by hokuto77:
          *after its---  [it=a little rule, a little sway]   date=person's age; duration, term of life
             considerable=(of persons)notable, important    court=pay court to, treat with particular respect and deference in order to
             secure favor and esteem

and he has left nothing else behind him either to delight or benefit the world. Posterity are not by any means so disinterested as they are supposed to be. They give their gratitude and admiration only in return for benefits conferred. They cherish the memory of those to whom they are indebted for instruction and delight; and they cherish it just in proportion to the instruction and delight they are conscious they receive.The sentiment of admiration springs immediately from this ground; and cannot be otherwise than well founded.      End quote.
          posterity=the descendants, children of any person     disinterested=impartial, without selfish motives
            confer=bestow         indebted=owing gratitude     ground=foundation, motive

          *otherwise than=different from    *well founded=reasonable, justified

Begin quote.
 A life of action and danger moderates the dread of death. It not only gives us fortitude to bear pain, but teaches us at every step the precarious tenure on which we hold our present being.
        Words and constructions notes by hokuto77:
         moderate=render less violent, intense, etc.   fortitude=courage in the face of pain, danger, or trouble
precarious=dependent on chance, uncertain, risky  tenure=the holding of a piece of property or office, the conditions
              or period of such holding
e.g. holds his life on a precarious
tenure (POD)
Sedentary and studious men are the most apprehensive on this score. Dr. Johnson was an instance in point.
             sedentary=sitting much, done in a chair (of person, life, work, etc.)  studious=devoted to, engaged in study
apprehensive=uneasy, fearful(of thing, that it may happen, for person, for his safety)
         score=point or matter or plea  *on this score  cf. You may be easy on that score, as far as that point is concerned (POD)
            *in point=relevant, suitable

A few years seemed to him soon over, compared with those sweeping contemplations on time and infinity with which he had been used to pose himself. In the still-life of a man of letters, there was no obvious reason for a change. He might sit in an arm-chair and pour out cups of tea to all eternity.
        sweeping=of wide range, regardless of limitations or exceptions
         pose=puzzle (person) with question or problem  still-life i.e. motionless, inactive life
        *pour out=discharge copiously, as pour out the tea (COD) eternity=infinite (esp. future) time
 Would it had been possible for him to do so! The most rational cure after all for the inordinate fear of death is to set a just value on life. If we merely wish to continue on the scene to indulge our headstrong humours and tormenting passions, we had better begone at once: and if we only cherish a fondness for existence according to the good we derive from it, the pang we feel at parting with it will not be very severe!  End quote.
       *would---! = if only---! (=wish that---, rarely that)   inordinate=excessive   value=worth as estimated,
             valuation, as sets a high value on his time(COD)     
indulge=give free course to, entertain   headstrong=self-willed
             or obstinate    
humour=whim, fancy    tormenting=causing bodily pain,anxiety, annoyance, etc.     passion=outburst of
be gone (poet.)=go away at once, clear out   fondness=love, liking       good=profit, benefit
       pang=sudden sharp pain

                              Notes by Taketomo about the quotation (16):

   Cf. John Dyer, Grongar Hill II .8990
"A little rule, a little sway,
A sunbeam in a winter's day,
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave."
Words and constructions notes by hokuto77
about the
 quotation (16):
rule=act of ruling, exercise of authority
sway=influence, power to move or direct
the proud and mighty=proud and mighty
   *A sunbeam in a winter's day
  i.e. a little
*Is all (that) the proud and mighty has

           Notes by Taketomo about the quotation (17):
                cf. Hamlet III. ii. 138-41
                       "O heavens! die two months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope a great
              man's memory may outlive his life half a year:

Comment by hokuto77 about the quotations (16) and (17): to quot and com☛
  With two quotations, Hazlitt develops his argument smoothly, and that with very impressive skill and effect. By doing so, he holds readers' attention right to the end of his arguments. The manner may be safely said to be his specialty.
  Quotations by Hazlitt, on the whole, play very important roles in the logic of
his argumetns. Some readers prefer and value the manner in which he argues over various matters with great learning and his own internal logic, while others dislike it very much. The gap between 'like and dislike' may be unbridgeable.

Hokuto77's impression of the characteristics of Hazlitt as Essayist:

  Shouldering the blame for being too rough and wide of the mark, boldly I conclude that some of his characteristics will come under the following five heads.
       to fully manifest learning and knowledge gained by wide range of reading, especially of
     Shakespeare and Milton, etc.

       to be witty, keeping logical consistency
       to offer straightforward, sharp, and cutting criticism
       to develop his view of life freely
       to intentionally quote from classics and others in order to make his arguments more colorful
    and persuade readers into accepting his viewpoints from which
he argues the matter.
  Some of the above-mentioned five may be inconsistent with what I have said at the outset of this essay of mine. But both are the deep impressions I got of Hazlitt. They are, in a sense, unavoidably one-sided, but I do not believe they are altogether mistaken. For the time being, I must openly admit that they show mere shallow aspects of his character.
With a repeated close reading of his essays, I might well get to a multicolored polyhedron in some distant future.

  Now, dear readers, this essay is reaching its end. Please excuse me for making a final digression just to wind up.
 I came across an interesting passage about a quotation in '
The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft' by George Gissing (1857-1903). He writes on quoting from other writer’s. It goes:

 'Formerly, when in reading I came upon anything that impressed or delighted me, down it went in my notebook for 'use'. I could not read a striking verse, or sentence of prose, without thinking of it as an apt quotation in something I might writeone of the evil results of a literary life. Now that I strive to repel this habit of thought, I find myself asking: To what end, then, do I read and remember? Surely as foolish a question as ever man put to himself. You read for your own pleasure, for your solace and strengthening. Pleasure, then, purely selfish? Solace which endures for an hour, and strengthening for no combat?  Ay, but I know, I know. With what heart should I live here in my cottage, waiting for life's end, were it not for those hours of seeming idle reading?'(from Spring XX)
        Words notes by hokuto77:
            apt=suitable    endure=last    seeming=apparent but perhaps not real
  Ryecroft says he enjoys reading for reading now. He has stopped taking down something seeming useful for a quotation in future writings. The reason is, he is just waiting for his fate. In the Private Papers, readers come upon quotations, and it may be safely said that the number of direct quotations is not so large. But it amounts to as many as, close to forty in all, and that chiefly from Shakespeare, the New Testament and Greek classics, such as Horace, and Virgil.
Hazlitt might have read a lot for 'his own pleasure', 'his solace and strengthening' and he
quoted quite a few. His numerous quotations, compared with those of Ryecroft's, overwhelm hokuto77.

To quot and com☞
(To be continued)