1797 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Walsh

Joseph Warton, Note in Works of Alexander Pope, ed. Warton (1797) 7:54-55n.



Walsh, though a feeble and flimsy poet, yet from these letters [to Pope], and from the Essay on Pastoral, which he gave to Dryden, appears to have been a man of some taste and literature, but of narrow ideas in poetry. He seems to be the first of our critics that attended much to the Italian poets. We ought to esteem him for his early praise and encouragement of Pope, which perhaps contributed to determine Pope to devote himself to the study of Poetry. The best of Walsh's poetry is a Parody on the Fourth Eclogue of Virgil, in which Tories, Nonjurors, and Jacobites, are vigorously attacked and ridiculed; and an Imitation of the Justum & tenacem of Horace, B. 3. Ode 3. in which a speech of King William, from stanza the 4th to the 13th, is given with much energy and force. Some of Addison's best verses are also a translation of this very Ode; and it is remarkable that Oldmixon relates it was he that desired Mr. Addison to give a translation of this Ode; certainly one of his most spirited compositions.

It is surprising that Walsh should make no mention of that exquisite Pastoral Comedy, The Faithful Shepherdess, of Beaumont and Fletcher, nor of the Comus of Milton, who in truth has borrowed much from Fletcher.