1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Fairfax

Charles Knight, 1817; in Knight, Passages of a Working Life (1864) 1:206-07.



No publisher had thought it worth while to reprint Drayton, or Wither, or Herrick, or Herbert. The delight which Keats expressed in his noble Sonnet upon the discovery of Chapman's Homer was mine, when I first lighted upon Fairfax's Tasso. I had entered a new realm of gold. To me that small folio — the first edition, revised by Fairfax himself — was a precious treasure, There had been no edition of the book for seventy years. Resolved that I would achieve the honour of reprinting it, I issued an Advertisement, in October 1817.... The production of two small volumes at our Windsor Press of the exquisite translation that had been forgotten since Collins had rejoiced to hear Tasso's harp "by English Fairfax strung," was received by a few critics as creditable to the taste of a country printer.