1786 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dennis

William Cowper to Rev. Walter Bagot, 4 July 1786; in Southey, Life and Works of Cowper (1835-37) 5:344-45.



Homer however, say what they will, was a man, and in all the works of man, especially in a work of such length and variety, many things will of necessity occur, that might have been better. Pope and Addison had a Dennis; and Dennis, if I mistake not, held up as he has been to scorn and detestation, was a sensible fellow, and passed some censures upon both those writers that, had they been less just, would have hurt them less. Homer has his Zoilus; and perhaps if we knew all that Zoilus said, we should be forced to acknowledge that sometimes at least he had reason on his side.