1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alaric Alexander Watts

Walter Scott to Alaric Alexander Watts, 12 October 1824; in Alaric Alfred Watts, Alaric Watts, a Narrative of his Life, by his Son (1884) 1:198-99.



Abbotsford, Melrose,

October 12, 1824,

SIR,

I have to make you many apologies for not more early acknowledging your very obli ging and acceptable present of your poetical volume. I was very long of receiving it, as it was lying at my house in Edinburgh, with which I have little communication when residing at this place.

The acknowledgment of your kindness, to speak truth, I had procrastinated till my thanks could have had no longer a graceful appearance, and I really became ashamed of intruding them on you so long after they were due. Your continued attention has given me an opportunity of thanking you with a better grace than I deserve, and at the same time of expressing the pleasure I have received from your poems. I am not accustomed to lay weight on my own judgment in poetical matters; but I cannot help saying, that in my opinion the elegance both of expression and conception in your poetry entitles it to rank very highly. I am glad to see that the taste of the public has called for a second edition. This is no small tribute to the merits of an author at a period when good poetry has become so general, that whatever is not peculiarly marked by excellence is sure to fall into neglect. I have, therefore, to wish you joy of having obtained the attention which is not always conferred upon merit. Begging you once more to excuse my irregularities as a correspondent.

I am, very much,

Your most obedient, obliged servant,

WALTER SCOTT.