1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Henry Harington

Frances Burney, 1780; Diary and Letters of the Author of Madam D'Arblay, ed. Austin Dobson (1904-05) 1:356-57.



Dr. Harrington and Miss Cooper dined here.

Dr. Harrington, I find, is descended in a right line from the celebrated Sir John Harrington, who was godson of Queen Elizabeth, and one of the gayest writers and flashers of her reign; and it is his son that is the Rev. Henry Harrington, who published those very curious, entertaining, and valuable remains of his ancestor under the title Nugae Antiquae, which my father and all of us were formerly so fond of.

We had much talk among us of Chatterton, and, as he was best known in this part of the world, I attended particularly to the opinion of Dr. Harrington concerning him; and the more particularly because he is uncommonly well-versed in the knowledge of English antiquities; therefore was I much surprised to find it his opinion that Chatterton was no impostor, and that the poems were authentic, and Rowley's. Much indeed, he said they had been modernised in his copies; not by design, but from the difficulty which attended reading the old manuscript — a difficulty which the genius of Chatterton urged him not to confess but to redress. A book, however, is now publishing that is entirely to clear up this so-long-disputed and very mysterious affair, by Dr. Mills, Dean of Exeter.