1729 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Daniel

Jonathan Swift to Alexander Pope, 6 March 1729; Works of Pope, ed. Elwin and Courthope (1871-1889) 7:143 &n.



I have been just a month in town, and have just go ride of it in a fortnight: and, when it is on me, I have neither spirits to write, or read, or think, or eat. But I drink as much as I like; which is a resource you cannot fly to when you are ill. And I like it as little as you: but I can bear a pint better than you can a spoonful. You were very kind in your care for Mr. [Nicholas] Whaley: but I hope you remembered that Daniel is a damnable poet, and consequently a public enemy to mankind. But I despise the lords' decree, which is a jest upon common sense; for what did it signify to the merits of the cause whether George the old, or the young, were on the throne?

[Note by Whitwell Elwin: Several of Daniel's poems are printed in the third edition, 1720, of what Lintot called Pope's Miscellany. The pieces, chiefly religious, are written in smooth verse, and pure English, — qualities which have not sufficed to raise them above the dreariest mediocrity. Nothing more innocent can be imagined, and Pope and Swift were under an hallucination when they fancied that such authors did the slightest injury to any one.]