1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Roscoe

Thomas Green, 3 March 1798; Extracts from the Diary of a Lover of Literature (1810) 65-66.



Concluded a second reading of Roscoe's Lorenzo de' Medici, which fades considerably on a reperusal. The author, as is natural, partakes of the general debility of his subject; and, for want of better matter, is sometimes led to trifle most elaborately. In the 2d. chapter, he expends more serious and solemn pains in settling the period of a tournament, than would be allowable to an historian of the Roman Empire in ascertaining the date of the sack of Rome by the Goths. — We feel, after all, no interest in the life of his hero, but as it is connected with the literature of the period; we can conceive no other motive, but what this connection presents, which could have led to the selection of his Life as a subject of biography: why not, therefore, have made that literature at once the theme; and written a History of the Revival of Learning in Italy?