1858 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charlotte Smith

Cyrus Redding, in Fifty Years' Recollections (1858) 1:141.



I was a never-ceasing reader. In poetry, I have said, I had early in youth possessed myself of the works of Charlotte Smith. I got fond of her melancholy egotism. She died soon after I arrived in London the first time. Her "Old Manor House" I read with youthful delight. What a pure delight that is which arises out of inexperience! The sonnets of Bowles were not in my view equal to Charlotte Smith's, and yet I was delighted with them. When the fancy is tickled, it is the happiness of youth to be satisfied; it is never discontented enough to be critical. I had read, as I have stated, most of the poets before Cowper, in earlier youth. Spenser delighted me; I revelled in his imaginative scenes of fairyland. Chaucer was too obsolete. This was before I knew much of Shakspeare, from the latter not coming in my way.