1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas James Mathias

Frances Burney to her father, 29 November 1796; Diary and Letters of the Author of Madam D'Arblay, ed. Austin Dobson (1904-05) 5:306-07.



But, my dearest sir, I think I would risk my new cottage against sixpence, that I have guessed the author of The Pursuits of Literature. Is it not Mr. Mason? The verses I think equal to anybody; those on Shakspeare, "His pen he dipt in mind," are demi-divine. And who else could so well interweave what concerns music? — could so well attack Dr. Parr for his severity against Dr. Hurd, who had to himself addressed his Essay on the marks of imitation? — Who be so interested, or so difficult to satisfy, about the exquisite Gray? — Who knows so well how to appreciate works upon gardening? — Who, so singularly, be for "the sovereign — the government," yet, palpably, not for George the Third, nor for William Pitt? And then, the lines which form his sort of epitaph seem for him (Mason) alone designed. How wickedly he has flogged all around him, and how cleverly!