John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby

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John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby

John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, KG, PC (7 April 164824 February 1721), English statesman and poet, was the son of Edmund Sheffield, 2nd Earl of Mulgrave, and succeeded to that title on his father’s death in 1658.

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  • Of all those arts in which the wise excel,
    Nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well.
    • Essay on Poetry (published 1723).
  • There's no such thing in Nature; and you'll draw
    A faultless monster which the world ne’er saw.
    • Essay on Poetry (published 1723).
      Compare:
      "'High characters,' cries one, and he would see/ Things that ne’er were, nor are, nor e’er will be", John Suckling, The Goblins, Epilogue.
      "Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see,/ Thinks what ne’er was, nor is, nor e’er shall be", Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism (1711), Part II, line 53.
  • Read Homer once, and you can read no more;
    For all books else appear so mean, so poor,
    Verse will seem prose; but still persist to read,
    And Homer will be all the books you need.
    • Essay on Poetry (published 1723).

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