1761 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

Joseph Warton to Thomas Warton, 3 December 1761; Wooll, Biographical Memoirs of Joseph Warton (1806) 279-80.



Winton, Dec. 3d, 1761.

Dearest Tom,

I received the Oxford verses, and answer your last by Dr. Barton, who desires to carry it. Our scheme to Sarum is now therefore fixed and unalterable. The verses are many of them good. Above all, is not Spence's a noble copy, so proper and happy is the introducing our old Saxon connexions. They were written and indeed owned by Dr. Lowth, so says Sturges, &c. here. Phelps's verses are much talked of here. Guess how I enjoy what is said of them. The Warden, &c. don't seem to suspect any thing. By the way, the Warden is much pleased with them, and with yours; so is the Dean and Sturges with both these. Now I must tell you Dr. Burton carps at the Latin ones in many places. In Mr. Lyttleton's is at the very beginning a terrible false concord. I shall speak to some of the Inspectors, quoth the Doctor. "Ilice sub nigro" — feminine, doubtless; and no exception can we find to the contrary of its being the masculine gender: and also again in Penruddocke's (whose name much surprized me) is "ilices suos." What is the meaning of this, or what authority? In the Dean of Christ Church is "liceat lusisse" — which the Doctor says is a false tense, and should not be the perfect — What think you? Who made Penruddocke's — truly the Warden says you did. Dr. Fanshaw's are something well — Williams's the Doctor likes — the Cossack in Williams's is good, not the rest. We think the Wiccamists have this time beat entirely the Westminsters — there are also in number 19 Wiccamists. I wish a small letter was written on the superiority of the Oxford to the Cambridge verses, which is manifest enough. Adieu, and write. I am

Most affectionately your's,

J. WARTON.