1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Bentley

George Dyer, in Privileges of the University of Cambridge, Supplement (1824) 2:53.



Dr. Bentley was a man of extensive reading, and obtained a substantial reputation by his critical talents. But a man's taste is not in exact proportion to his reading, nor will his imagination always keep pace with his acuteness. As a proof that Bentley was not greatly gifted with taste, nor extraordinarily enriched with fancy, may be mentioned, that he is known to have written only one copy of verses, in which is a passage copied from Cowley, though (adds Dr. Johnson, in his Life of Cowley) with the inferiority of an imitator. Almost every critic of eminence has left behind him some lines of poesy, as a kind of testimony, that, if he was not qualified to rank among the first performers on the lyre, he knew, at least, when the instrument was in tune. It does not appear that Dr. Bentley's ears were "well hung."