1858 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Cooke

Samuel Austin Allibone, in Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:422.



A native of Braintree, Essex, a poet and man of learning. In 1725 he pub. a poem entitled The Battle of the Poets, in which Pope, Swift, and others were treated with more freedom than reverence. But Cooke excited Pope's ire to a much higher pitch by publishing in The Daily Journal in 1727 a trans. of the episode of Thersites in 2d book of the Iliad, to show the blunders of Pope. For this exposure, and Cooke's share in Penelope, a Farce, the reader already anticipates the penalty. If Pope was not a Hellenist, he was an excellent satirist, and Mr. Cooke was at once placed in the literary pillory yclep'd The Dunciad. In a subsequent edit. of The Battle of the Poets, Cooke notices this contemptible conduct of Pope, and speaks with little respect of his "Philosophy or dignity of mind, who could be provoked by what a boy writ concerning his translation of Homer, and in verses which gave no long promise of duration"