1768 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Anstey

Horace Walpole, 1768; in Memoirs of the Reign of George III, ed. G. F. Russell Barker (1894) 3:119-20.



Two other poets of great merit arose, who meddled not with politics; Dr. Goldsmith, the correct Author of The Traveller; and Mr. Anstey, who produced as original a poem as Hudibras itself, The New Bath Guide. The easiest wit, the most genuine humour, the most inoffensive satire, the happiest parodies, the most unaffected poetry, and the most harmonious melody in every kind of metre, distinguished that poem by their assemblage from the works of all other men. It was a melancholy proof of how little an author can judge the merit of his own compositions, when he afterwards produced The Patriot, in which nobody could discover his meaning, or whether he had any meaning; and in which, amidst various but unsuccessful attempts at humour, nothing remained but his sonorous numbers. He afterwards sunk to no kind of merit at all.