BL: terrific
Posted: 17 February 2014 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]
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“with brazen Eyes And hairie Main terrific”

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Posted: 17 February 2014 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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And within a few decades in his 1798 satirical poem The Literary Census, Thomas Dutton could mean only of great size when he writes of pamphleteer William Cobbett, “I am struck with admiration at the terrific sublimity of his genius.”

This rings a bit for me like the phrase “terrible beauty.” For me, it feels like the sublimity of his genius wasn’t just of great size, it was also somewhat frightening.

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Posted: 17 February 2014 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It’s not clear if Dutton is actually praising Cobbett. The work as a whole is satire.

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Posted: 19 February 2014 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It’s not clear if Dutton is actually praising Cobbett.

I suspect there was always the possibility of a satirical sense to terrific in the Romantic period. Thoroughgoing Romantics so prized the ‘terrific’ that anyone not romantic it was an obvious quality to parody.

I’m particularly fond of this verse in Peter Pindar’s The Disappointed Duke (a satire on the events of 1818 in England. The Princess Charlotte, the Prince Regent’s only child, having died in childbirth, the Prince Regent’s younger brothers instantly cast off their mistresses (some of more than a decades’ standing) and cast about for someone to marry, to produce a legitimate heir to the throne):

Agog are all, both old and young,
Warm’d with desire to be prolific;
And prompt with resolution strong,
To fight in Hymen’s war terrific.

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Posted: 19 February 2014 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Peter Pindar’s a name not much heard or seen nowadays (not by this poster, at any rate). Thank you, Syntinen Laulu. Masterful satire....(though by all accounts, that family was easy meat for a satirist).

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