1711 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Nathaniel Lee

Joseph Addison, in Spectator No. 39 (14 April 1711).



Among our modern English Poets, there was none who was better turned for Tragedy than Lee; if instead of favouring the Impetuosity of his Genius, he had restrained it, and kept it within its proper Bounds. His Thoughts are wonderfully suited to Tragedy, but frequently lost in such a Cloud of Words, that it is hard to see the Beauty of them. There is an infinite Fire in his works, but so involved in Smoke, that it does not appear in half its Lustre. He frequently succeeds in the passionate part of the Tragedy, but more particularly where he slackens his Efforts, and eases the Stile of those Epithets and Metaphors, in which he so much abounds.