"Now, when an author has brought us, or is attempting to bring us, into this state; if he multiplies words unnecessarily, if he decks the Sublime object which he presents to us, round and round, with glittering ornaments; nay, if he throws in any one decoration that sinks in the least below the capital image, that moment he alters the key; he relaxes the tension of the mind; the strength of the feeling is emasculated; the Beautiful may remain, but the Sublime is gone."
— Blair, Hugh (1718-1800)
"Quid times? Caesarem vehis;"
we are struck with the daring magnanimity of one relying with such confidence on his cause and his fortune. These few words convey every thing necessary to give us the impression full. Lucan resolved to amplify and adorn the thought. Observe how every time he twists it round, it departs farther from the Sublime, till it end at last in tumid declamation.
(Vol. I, Lecture IV, pp. 78-9)
See Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres. By Hugh Blair (London: Printed for W. Strahan; T. Cadell; and W. Creech, in Edinburgh, 1783): <Link to ESTC>. See also Dublin edition of same year in ECCO-TCP: <Link to Vol. I><Vol. II><Vol. III>. Revised and corrected for second edition of 1785.
Reading Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, eds. Linda Ferreira-Buckley and S. Michael Halloran (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2005). Text based on second edition of 1785.