Longinus [1st century CE]

He who has a competent share of natural and acquired taste, may easily discover the value of any performance from often hearing it. If he finds that it does not transport his soul, or exalt his thoughts–that it does not leave in his mind matter for more enlarged reflection than the mere sounds of the words convey, but that on attentive examination its dignity lessens and declines–he may conclude that whatever pierces no deeper than the ears can never be the true sublime. For that is truly grand and lofty, which the more we consider the greater ideas we conceive of it; whose force is hard, or, rather, impossible to withstand; which sinks deep, and makes such impressions on the mind as cannot be easily worn out or effaced. In a word, you may pronounce that sublime to be commendable and genuine, which pleases all sorts of men at all times. For when persons of different pursuits, habits of life, tastes, ages, principles, agree in the same joint approbation of any performance, then this union of assent, this combination of so many different judgments, stamps a high and indisputable value on that performance which meets with such general applause. –On The Sublime

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