Tata Possum posted another excerpt from his turn-of-the-century writing guide today. It includes this excerpt:
Men of Action, Writers of Power.—Any atrophy of action in the writer is loss of power in the writing. The masculine literature of the world is the marrow of men great—in action as in writing: Moses, David, Paul, Cæsar, Æschylus, Michel Angelo, Cervantes, etc. Of more avail, also in literature, it the action any writing means than its literary finish. Homer, less literary than Virgil, is yet the greater influence. Milton, in form more measured than Shakespeare, is yet behind him in magnitude and power. Burns, who made no profession of literature, arouses more enthusiasm than Wordsworth, whose one business was poetry. Emerson is more literary, but less virile, than Carlyle, whose bias was all in favor of action.
Several years ago, to help my son Jason, I read a book or two of Milton for the second or third time. I have no time for Milton anymore. However you go about it, the man is a bore. On the other hand, Shakespeare is a charm.