1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Churchyard

Thomas Frognall Dibdin, in Library Companion (1824; 1825) 2:693-95.



What is to be said of the strange and oft-times incomprehensible fecundity of the first of these poets, Churchyard? The very titles of his works, (all of which I will not enumerate) are perfect reflexes of the motley imagery of his mind. We have his Chips, his Choice, his Charge, Chance, Charity, Challenge, and I know not what! An historian, a controversialist, a translator, and an original poet — we are alternately bewildered by the variety of his performances, and astounded at the enormous prices which the greater part of them produce. It is in vain you depreciate, ridicule, and run down, the black letter slim quartos — in which h the poetry of Churchyard is usually cased — to collectors of the olden school of poetry. Speak till you are hoarse, and declaim till language fails you — with Licius — he will only "subridens" all the time; and, pointing to his "yew"-ornamented Churchyards, will exclaim, "I am eclipsed only by Atticus." Let us therefore leave Atticus and Licius at rest; smiling, in their slumbers, at all the Chips by which they are surrounded.