1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Campbell

Thomas James Mathias to Thomas Campbell, 8 July 1815; William Beattie, Life and Letters of Thomas Campbell (1849) 2:291.



Middle Scotland Yard, Whitehall, July 8th, 1815.

DEAR SIR,

I am just returned to town from an excursion into the country, and take the earliest opportunity in my power of acknowledging your obliging letter of the 27th of June, and I hope that you will not impute my silence to the least appearance of neglect, but to the impossibility of my writing before, for which I am much concerned. I am happy to hear it is your intention to publish some Specimens of Poetry, ancient and modern; and it will give me much pleasure in seeing all or any of the beautiful passages by Lydgate — which Mr. Gray selected with so much judgment, and which I inserted in the late edition of all his works — admitted into the volume with which you will shortly favour the literary world. If I should ever have the pleasure of seeing you, I could show you many extracts from Lydgate, which would prove the injustice of those opinions which have been given of the old Poet, by persons who probably had read but a few parts of his works. I am glade the "Sketches of English Poetry" will appear under the care of a gentleman of your taste, as they will be most acceptable to the world. It is a very trifling commendation to say, that I have always admired the fancy, harmony, elegance, and spirit of your various poems, and I can only add—

Meae si quid loquor andiendum
Vocis accedat bona pars—

I will not take up more of your valuable time, than to say that I should be happy to have the pleasure of seeing you, when I return from another proposed excursion I am about to take in a week or ten days, and to assure you that I am,

Your most faithful, humble servant,

THOMAS JAS. MATHIAS.