1783 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

George Steevens to Thomas Warton, 16 April 1783; Wooll, Biographical Memoirs of Joseph Warton (1806) 398-99.



Hampstead-heath, April 16th, 1783.

Sir,

Your letters (I know not why) always arrive several days after they are due. Your last favour is dated on the 11th, and has not been in my hands a quarter of an hour.

All I have learned relative to the original from which the idea of Milton's Comus might be borrowed, I communicated to Mr. Reed, and you will find it in the 2d vol. of his Biog. Dramatica, p. 441. Only a single copy of his Old Wives Tale has hitherto appeared, and even that is at present out of my reach. Your quotation, however, may give Reed's book a lift. My name is not worth mentioning. Could I have foreseen your enquiry, I would have been better prepared for it.

Whatever the vegetable Spring may produce, the critical one will be prolific enough. No less than six editions of Shakespear (including Capell's notes, with Collins' prolegomena) are now in the mash-tub. I have thrown up my license. Reed is to occupy the old Red Lattice, and Malone intends to froth and lime at a little snug booth of his own construction. Ritson will advertise sour ale against his mild. Lowndes has contrived a surreptitious brewing; and another, viz. our text without notes (your true critical hops) will also soon be in tap. "Suave mari magno," &c. exclaims

Your very faithful and obedient servant,

G. STEEVENS.