1876 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges

Robert Carruthers, in Chambers's Cyclopaedia of English Literature, 3rd ed. (1876; 1879) 6:387-88.



In the style of popular literary illustration, with imagination and poetical susceptibility, may be mentioned SIR EGERTON BRYDGES (1762-1837), who published the Censura Literaria, 1805-09, in ten volumes; the British Bibliographer, in three volumes; an enlarged edition of Collin's British Peerage; Letters on the Genius of Lord Byron, &c. As principal editor of the Retrospective Review, Sir Egerton Brydges drew public attention to the beauties of many old writers, and extended the feeling of admiration which Charles Lamb, Hazlitt, and others had awakened. In 1835 this veteran author edited an edition of Milton's poetical works in six volumes. A tone of querulous egotism and complaint pervades most of the works of this author, but his taste and exertions in English literature entitle him to high respect. Sir Egerton's original works are numerous — Sonnets and Poems, 1785-95; Imaginary Biography, 1834; Autobiography, 1834; with several novels, letters, &c. Wordsworth praised highly the following sonnet by Brydges:

ECHO AND SILENCE.
In eddying course when leaves began to fly,
And Autumn in her lap the treasure strew,
As mid wild scenes I chanc'd the muse to woo
Thro' glens untrod, and woods that frown'd on high;
Two sleeping nymphs, with wonder mute I spy:—
And lo! she's gone. — In robe of dark-green hue
'Twas Echo from her sister Silence flew:
For quick the hunter's horn resounded to the sky.
In shade affrighted Silence melts away.
Not so her sister. Hark! For onward still
With far-heard step she takes her hasty way,
Bounding from rock to rock, and hill to hill:
Ah! mark the merry maid, in mockful play,
With thousand mimic tones the laughing forest fill!