Nahum Tate was Poet Laureate, a cold writer, of no invention, but sometimes translated tolerably when befriended by Mr. Dryden. In his second part of Absalom and Achitophel are above two hundred admirable lines together of that great hand, which strongly shine through the insipidity of the rest.
Her complexion was sallow; and her features small, without beauty, and naturally without expression; but a lucky contraction of the brow had rescued her countenance from the disgrace of insipidity, by giving it the strong characters of pride and ill nature.
The lovers of beauty, preferring what is dull to what is offensive, will rather doze over the inanities and insipidities of a drowsy dilettantism, than choose to be irritated into wakeful attention by ugly contours, disproportioned figures, and ill-assorted colours, drawn and arranged after the hard and ignorant manner of the early Christian painters, and imbued with the childish symbolism of the dismal Middle Ages.
1913, Isaac Goldberg, Sir Wm. S. Gilbert: A Study in Modern Satire, Boston: Stratford, Chapter Four, p. 84,
[…]Gilbert literally educated the English public away from the popular insipidities to which they had grown accustomed, up to a standard of taste to which all future writers of operetta must aspire.