1756 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Walsh

Joseph Warton, in Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope (1756, 1782) 1:205-06.



If POPE has here [Essay on Criticism] given too magnificent an eulogy to Walsh, it must be attributed to friendship, rather than to judgment. Walsh was in general a flimsy and frigid writer. The Rambler calls his works PAGES OF INANITY. His three letters to POPE, however, are well written. His remarks on the nature of pastoral poetry, on borrowing from the ancients, and against florid conceits, are worthy perusal. POPE owed much to Walsh: it was he who gave him a very important piece of advice, in his early youth; for he used to tell our author, that there was one way still left open for him, by which he might excel any of his predecessors, which was, by CORRECTNESS; that though indeed we had several great poets, we as yet could boast of none that were perfectly CORRECT; and that therefore, he advised him to make this quality his particular study.