1762 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Mason

William Rider, in Living Authors of Great Britain (1762) 24.



This Gentleman is likewise a Fellow of Oxford [Cambridge]. He has wrote two dramatic Poems with Choruses, after the Manner of the Ancients, viz. Elfrida and Caractacus. The former is a very beautiful Poem, and little inferior to the Samson Agonistes of Milton. Mr. Mason has an uncommon Talent for Imitation; as appears from several Passages in this Piece; in which he has admirably copied the Stile both of Shakespear and Milton, and from his Monody on the Death of Mr. Pope; in which he has in a very masterly Manner copied the Stiles of Chaucer, Spenser, Milton, and Mr. Pope himself. It is a Loss to the Public that this Gentleman who seems to have great talents for dramatic Poetry, has not thought proper to adapt his Pieces to the Stage, as, notwithstanding all has has said in Favour of the Chorus of Antiquity, it appears to be rather a Defect than a Perfection in the Drama, and could never take either in France or England, notwithstanding all the Attempts made to revive it.