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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

4438 Edmund Burke 1729-1797 John Bartlett

AUTHOR:Edmund Burke (1729–1797)
QUOTATION:It has all the contortions of the sibyl without the inspiration. 1
ATTRIBUTION:Prior’s Life of Burke. 2
Note 1.
When Croft’s “Life of Dr. Young” was spoken of as a good imitation of Dr. Johnson’s style, “No, no,” said he, “it is not a good imitation of Johnson; it has all his pomp without his force; it has all the nodosities of the oak, without its strength; it has all the contortions of the sibyl, without the inspiration.”—Prior: Life of Burke.

The gloomy comparisons of a disturbed imagination, the melancholy madness of poetry without the inspiration.—Junius: Letter No. viii. To Sir W. Draper. [back]
Note 2.
At the conclusion of one of Mr. Burke’s eloquent harangues, Mr. Cruger, finding nothing to add, or perhaps as he thought to add with effect, exclaimed earnestly, in the language of the counting-house, “I say ditto to Mr. Burke! I say ditto to Mr. Burke!”—Prior: Life of Burke, p. 152. [back]