1834 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Phineas Fletcher

John Wilson, in Blackwood's Magazine 36 (1834) 515.



No allegorical poem, either previous or succeeding, has approached the Faerie Queen within half the diameter of the earth. The Purple Island of Fletcher is a performance of infinite pains and ingenuity — but a wearisome desert of labyrinths, which, luckily, we traverse clew in hand. The Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful work — but till all distinctions of ranks have been first confused and then destroyed, John Bunyan must stand far aloof from Edmund Spenser — though he too has his place among the hierarchies.