1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas D'Urfey

Robert Southey, in Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807) 1:237.



Had D'Urfey lived in an age when vice had been less barefaced, his "happy knack of writing Satires and irregular Odes" might have pleaded something in his favour as a poet. We may, however, believe the effect of his ribaldry to have been innocent, when we find the moral Isaac Bickerstaff recommending his cause to the publisher, in the 67th Number of the GUARDIAN, and requiring their patronage to a Play performed for his benefit, when in his old age he was much reduced. There is every reason to suppose that this effort of friendship was successful. In his youth he had lived in the best societies, and was noticed by Charles II.; and country gentlemen, who thought that wit, like other plagues, might be caught by infection, made it a subject of boast among their fellow squires, if by accident they had breathed in the same room with Tom D'Urfey.