1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Bankes

David Erskine Baker, in Companion to the Play-House (1764) 2:Sig. A4v.



His turn was entirely to Tragedy. — His Merit in which is of a peculiar Kind. — For at the same Time that his Language must be confess'd to be extremely unpoetical, and his Numbers uncouth and inharmonious; nay, even his Characters very far from being strongly marked or distinguished, and his Episodes extremely irregular; yet it is impossible to avoid being deeply affected at the Representation, and even at the reading, of his tragic Pieces. — This is owing to the happy Choice of his Subjects, which are all borrowed from History, either real or romantic, and indeed the most of them from Circumstances in the Annals of our Country, which, not only from their being familiar to our continual Recollection, but even from their having some Degree of Relation to ourselves, we are apt to receive with a Kind of partial Prepossession, and a Predetermination to be pleased.