Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyts New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.
It frequently happens that where the second line is sublime, the third, in which he meant to rise still higher, is perfectly bombast. Blair. Commenting on Lucans style. Borrowed from LonginusTreatise on the Sublime. Sect. III.
We have oftener than once endeavoured to attach some meaning to that aphorism, vulgarly imputed to Shaftesbury, which however we can find nowhere in his works, that ridicule is the test of truth. CarlyleEssays. Voltaire.
That passage is what I call the sublime dashed to pieces by cutting too close with the fiery four-in-hand round the corner of nonsense. ColeridgeTable Talk. Jan. 20, 1834. WielandAbdereiten. III. Ch. XII.
Jane borrowd maxims from a doubting school, And took for truth the test of ridicule; Lucy saw no such virtue in a jest, Truth was with her of ridicule the test. CrabbeTales of the Hall. Bk. VIII. L. 126.
I distrust those sentiments that are too far removed from nature, and whose sublimity is blended with ridicule; which two are as near one another as extreme wisdom and folly. DeslaudesReflexions sur les Grands Hommes qui sont morts en Plaisantant.
Lon ne saurait mieux faire voir que le magnifique et le ridicule sont si voisins quils se touchent. There is nothing one sees oftener than the ridiculous and magnificent, such close neighbors that they touch. De Fontenelleuvres. Dialogues des Morts. (1683). IV. 32. Ed. 1825. Used by Edward, Lord OxfordMs. Common Place Book.
Du sublime au ridicule il ny a quun pas. There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous. Napoleon I to Abbé du Pradt, at Warsaw. See Histoire de lAmbassade dans la Grande Duché de Vasovie. Ed. 2. P. 219. Attributed also to Talleyrand. (Traced from Napoleon to Paine, Paine to Blair.)
The sublime and ridiculous are often so nearly related that it is difficult to class them separately. One step below the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again. Thomas PaineThe Age of Reason. Pt. II.
Twas the saying of an ancient sage that humour was the only test of gravity, and gravity of humour. For a subject which would not bear raillery was suspicious; and a jest which would not bear a serious examination was certainly false wit. ShaftesburyCharacteristics. Letter Concerning Enthusiasm. Pt. I. Sect. V. Referring to Leontinus.
Truth, tis supposed, may bear all lights; and one of those principal lights or natural mediums by which things are to be viewed in order to a thorough recognition is ridicule itself. ShaftesburyEssay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour. Pt. I. Sec. I.