1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Sheffield

Leigh Hunt, in Feast of the Poets (1814) 23-24n.



I think — let me see — yes, it is, I declare,

As long ago now as that Buckingham there.

SHEFFIELD, Duke of Buckingham, one of the licentious dabblers in wit, who were educated in the court of Charles the Second. It would have appeared a great piece of insolence to this flimsy personage, who in a posthumous edition of his works is recommended to the care of "Time, Truth, and Posterity," to be told, that at the distance of a hundred years, it would be necessary to say who he was. His Grace, it is true, by favour of long standing, and of the carelessness of the compilers, still keeps his place in those strange medleys of good and bad, called collections of the English Poets; but very few persons know any thing of him; and they who do, will hardly object to the tone of contempt, with which Apollo speaks of a grave coxcomb, who affects to care nothing for the honours of either literature or the world, when he was evidently ambitious of both.