Cyril Connolly (1903-1974), The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus
(1945; rpt. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1955), p. 2:
What is a masterpiece? Let me name a few. The Odes and Epistles of Horace, the Eclogues and Georgics of Virgil, the Testament of Villon, the Essays of Montaigne, the Fables of La Fontaine, the Maxims of La Rochefoucauld and La Bruyère, the Fleurs du Mal and Intimate Journals of Baudelaire, the Poems of Pope and Leopardi, the Illuminations of Rimbaud, and Byron's Don Juan.
Such a catalogue reveals the maker. What is common in thought to these twelve writers? Love of life and nature; lack of belief in the idea of progress; interest in, mingled with contempt for, humanity.