chapter  62
5 Pages

Joseph Warton, 'An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Pope', 1756

I know not whether Sir William Temple may not be considered as the first of our prose authors, who introduced a graceful manner into our language. At least that quality does not seem to have appeared early, or spread far, amongst us. But wheresoever we may look for its origin, it is certainly to be found in its highest perfection in the late essays of a gentleman whose writings will be distinguished so long as politeness and good sense have any admirers. That becoming air which Tully esteemed the criterion of fine composition, and which every reader, he says, imagins so easy to be imitated, yet will find so difficult to attain, is the prevailing characteristic of all that excellent author's most elegant performances. (2) In a word, one may justly apply to him what Plato, in his allegorical language, says of Aristophanes; (3) that the Graces, having searched all the world round for a temple wherein they might for ever dwell, settled at last in the breast of Mr. Addison. Adieu. I am, &c.