1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Cotton

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in British Bibliographer 2 (1812) 462-63.



I love in my fancy to assemble round Sir Aston [Cokayne], his boon companions, and to listen to his mingled bursts of wit and raillery and literature and verse. But how inferior was he in genius and acquirements, in that pure stream of natural and touching sentiment which is one of the first attractions of unsophisticated genius, to his younger cousin, Charles Cotton, a man equally careless in his fortunes, but of a refined and exquisite heart, who possessed much of the nicer and more tender vein of Cowper, which might have displayed itself in similar compositions had the age and his own unpardonable haste allowed it. But he too lived a life of pecuniary embarrassment, productive of cares, which chilled and froze up the Pierian fountain of his bosom! That bosom was a well-spring of genuine poetry, which scattered its waters without economy or thought.