1810 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Wilson Croker

Walter Scott to John Wilson Croker, 10 October 1810; The Croker Papers, ed. Louis J. Jennings (1884) 1:28-29.



Oct. 10th [1810],

MY DEAR SIR,

I drop you these few lines, not to engage you in correspondence, for which I am aware you have so little time, but merely to thank you very sincerely for the eighth edition of your beautiful and spirited poem and the kind letter which accompanied it. Whatever the practised and hackneyed critic may say of that sort of poetry, which is rather moulded in an appeal to the general feelings of mankind than the technical rules of art, the warm and universal interest taken by those who are alive to fancy and feeling, will always compensate for his approbation, whether entirely withheld or given with tardy and ungracious reluctance. Many a heart has kindled at your "Talavera" which may be the more patriotic for the impulse as long as it shall last. I trust we shall soon hear from the conqueror of that glorious day such news as may procure us "another of the same." His excellent conduct, joined to his high and undaunted courage, make him our Nelson on land, and though I devoutly wish that his force could be doubled, I shall feel little anxiety for the event of a day in which he is only outnumbered by one-third. Your acceptable bulletin looks well and auspiciously. The matter of Lucien Bonaparte is one of the most surprising which has occurred in our day — a Frenchman refusing at once a crown, and declining to part with his wife, is indeed one of the most uncommon exhibitions of an age fertile in novelties as portentous.

Believe me, my ear sir,

Ever your truly grateful,

WALTER SCOTT.