He himself attached great importance to his studies in this kind; his learned friends expected him to give their results to the world; which accordingly, though having little natural gift or felicity in verbal expression, he laboured strenuously to do.
Others may have surpassed him in originality, learning or reasoning power, but for grasp of his subject, clearness of language, lucidity of arrangement, felicity of illustration, vividness of imagination, elegance of diction, and above all, for sympathy with the intellectual position of those whom he addressed, he has hardly been rivalled.
His Poesies pastorales (1688) have no greater claim to permanent repute, being characterized by stiffness and affectation; and the utmost that can be said for his poetry in general is that it displays much of the limae labor, great purity of diction and occasional felicity of expression.
A dozen generations of men have rejoiced in the gentle irony with which Montaigne handles the ludicrum humani saeculi, in the quaint felicity of his selection of examples, and in the real though sometimes fantastic wisdom of his comment on his selections.
The intimacy with the Bible which is manifest in the pages of the Christian Year; and the unobtrusive felicity with which Biblical sentiments and language are introduced have done much to endear these poems to all Bible readers.
It is also charged with a robust and manly eloquence and a rare and unsought felicity of language that make it a masterpiece of style.
He ranks among the half-dozen greatest letterwriters in the English language, and he was perhaps the only great letter-writer with whom the felicity was due to the power of what he has seen rather than what he has read.
Such was the formula of the Eternal Gospel, which, as an unconscious forecast of the Renaissance, has attracted retrospective students by its felicity of adaptation to their historical method.
He believes, with the Jews, in a restoration and extension of the city of Jerusalem; he assumes that this city will be the seat of the Messianic kingdom, and he takes it as a matter of course that there all believers (here he is at one with Barnabas) along with patriarchs and prophets will enjoy perfect felicity for one thousand years.
His style may lack the classic qualities of French prose - lightness, delicacy, sparkle; it certainly has not Daudet's colour and felicity of x xvril.