1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

P. P., "Literary Vanity reproved" New Bon Ton Magazine 6 (April 1821) 325-26.



No man is more vain of his talents than Mr. Robert S—h—y; and in every company, where he has an opportunity, he becomes the herald of his own fame, to the great annoyance of all whom he honours with his dissertations. In this manner he has dissected "Thalaba" and "Wat Tyler," touching on the latter very lightly.

He was one evening in a large company of wits, and amongst them was the late Professor Porson, who it is well known possessed an eminent propensity to deal in sarcastic repartee. When S—h—y had concluded a long and tedious eulogium upon his poetical merits, most of the company said something complimentary to his talents, and very different from real truth; Porson at length opened his mouth, and paid, with grave deliberation, "Why the works of S—h—y will be read when Shakspeare and Milton are forgotten, and then —"the Laureat eagerly interrupted him with "What, Sir!" "Why, and not till then." A severer reproof was never given; it is a real fact, though not generally known.