A method of education sanctioned by the long practice of our venerable ancestors was not to give way before the exceptional dulness of a boy who was merely living at the time then present.
Stelling could obtain credit by his facility, which required little help, much more easily than by the troublesome process of overcoming Tom's dulness.
You remember the garden, Harry,' whispered the schoolmaster, anxious to rouse him, for a dulness
seemed gathering upon the child, 'and how pleasant it used to be in the evening time?
In the mid-eighteenth century, Gray can solemnly describe 'The Progress of Poetry' in terms of the migration of the Nine from Greece to Rome to 'Albion'; but Pope's satiric tone in The Dunciad is perhaps more typical, depicting 'the prostrate Nine' grovelling before the empress Dulness
, or snidely speculating on 'what bards the nightly Muse / Did slumbering visit, and convey to stews' (i.
Like Pope, who connects generation from filth and slime with the spurious creativity of dulness
, Swift's writing frequently associates autochthony and spontaneous generation with lower or parasitic forms of life.
To his good friend and rather more successful courtier Henry Goodyer, he complained that "All shadows are of one colour, if you respect the body from which they are cast (for our shadows upon clay will be dirty, and in a garden green and flowery) so all retirings into a shadowy life are alike from all causes, and alike subjet to the barbarousness and insipid dulness
of the country" (1974, 63).
While the body often serves in Pope's and Swift's poetry to manifest the decayed, debased, or debauched (one thinks of the grotesque body of the Goddess Dulness
in the Dunciad, or Swift's dressing-room poems), here, in its role as science's foil, the body takes on positive connotations--suggesting an ethical imperative in regard to reading practices; that is, the object of the Critic's Eye (the text) is figured not simply as a dead lump of tissue that can be dissected, but as a living presence--a body with an innate "harmony" of parts, which perfectly reflects and directs the beams of its "soul.
He reiterates the theme of dulness
until it becomes a judgment on theology by human history.
In this stratum there appears to be an unduly high incidence of mental defect, insanity, intellectual dulness
[sic], epilepsy, as well as tuberculosis and other physical defects.
although my lord bear with my dulness
, and take pains himself to teach me.
Or merely the lackey of Dulness
, striving for certain wages [.