1871 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Samuel Wesley

Whitwell Elwin, Note in Works of Pope, ed. Elwin and Courthope (1871-1889) 7:184-85n.



The elder Wesley was the author of several volumes of poems, and among others of the "History of the Old and New Testament attempted in verse." "He usually," said his relation, John Dunton, "writ too fast to write well. Two hundred couplets a day are too many by two thirds to be well furnished with all the beauties and the graces of the poetic art." Swift, in the battle between the ancient and modern books, describes him as slain by a kick from Homer's horse, and Pope himself had mentioned him contemptuously, in the first edition of the Dunciad. His name is removed from the text in the annotated edition, and it is stated in a note that the new was the primitive reading, and that the former reading was surreptitious. The change was probably made out of deference to Samuel Wesley the younger, then an usher at Westminster School, and the friend of Lord Oxford and the exiled Bishop Atterbury.