1783 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Joseph Warton

Frances Burney, 1783; Diary and Letters of the Author of Madam D'Arblay, ed. Austin Dobson (1904-05) 2:180-81.



Monday, Jan. 13. — This proved, and unexpectedly, a very agreeable day to me. I went with my father to dine at Mrs. Walsingham's, where I only went so soon again because he wished it, but where I passed my time extremely well. The party was small, — Dr. Warton, Mr. T. Warton, Mr. Pepys, Mr. Montagu, Mr. Walker the lecturer, and my dear Sir Joshua Reynolds, with my father, were all the men; and Mrs. Montagu was the only other female besides myself.

Dr. Warton made me a most obsequious bow; I had been introduced to him, by Sir Joshua, at Mrs. Cholmondeley's. He is what Dr. Johnson calls a rapturist, and I saw plainly he meant to pour forth much civility into my ears, by his looks, and watching for opportunities to speak to me: I so much, however, dread such attacks, that every time I met his eye, I turned another way, with so frigid a countenance that he gave us his design. He is a very communicative, gay, and pleasant converser, and enlivened the whole day by his readiness upon all subjects.

Mr. Tom Warton, the poetry historiographer, looks unformed in his manners, and awkward in his gestures. He joined not one word in the general talk, and, but for my father, who was his neighbour at dinner, and entered into a tete-a-tete conversation with him, he would never have opened his mouth after the removal of the second course.