1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Steele

Isaac D'Israeli, in Review of Drake, Essays ... illustrative of the Tatler, Spectator, Guardian; Quarterly Review 1 (May 1809) 402.



His writings are often careless, and rarely graceful. His literary excellence consists in his delineation of character. He copies life with all the faithfulness of a Flemish painter; and if, contrasted with Addison, he be found without the softness of his colouring, and the delicacy of his pencilling, it cannot be denied that he is more versatile and vigorous, and the most original sketcher after life of the early part of the last century. His portraits, like those of Lely, preserve the likenesses of our ancestors; but not being formed on the general and permanent principles of art, he is more a painter of fashions than of nature.