Now it is true that the critic must be unconscious of some of the subtlest charms and nicest delicacies of language who would exclude from humorous writing all those impressions and surprises which depend on the use of the diverse sense of words.
They held that the body is mortal, and its substance transitory; that the soul is immortal, but, coming from the subtlest ether, is lured as by a sorcery of nature into the prison-house of the body.
The drama of the subject has in this instance not interested him at all, but only the forms and designs of the figures, the realization of the quality of flesh surfaces by the subtlest use of the graving-tool known to him, and the rendering, by methods of which he had become the greatest of all masters, of the richness and intricacy of the forest background.
In drawing from life he had early found the way to unite precision with freedom and fire - the subtlest accuracy of expressive definition with vital movement and rhythm of line - as no draughtsman had been able to unite them before.
The results of his intensest meditations on the psychology and the human and divine significance of the event (on which he has left some pregnant hints in written words of his own) are perfectly fused with those of his subtlest technical calculations on the rhythmical balancing of groups and arrangement of figures in space.
Toute la lyre, his latest legacy to the world, would be enough, though no other evidence were left, to show that the author was one of the very greatest among poets and among men; unsurpassed in sublimity of spirit, in spontaneity of utterance, in variety of power, and in perfection of workmanship; infinite and profound beyond all reach of praise at once in thought and in sympathy, in perception and in passion; master of all the simplest as of all the subtlest melodies or symphonies of song that ever found expression in a Border ballad or a Pythian ode.