1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Jonathan Swift

Isaac D'Israeli, in Quarrels of Authors (1814) 3:297-99.



Having, when young, composed one of the wild Pindarics of the time, addressed to the Athenian Society, and DRYDEN, judiciously observing that "cousin JONATHAN would never be a Poet," the enraged Wit, after he had reached the maturity of his own admirable judgment, and must have been well aware of the truth of the friendly prediction, could never forgive it. He has indulged the utmost licentiousness of personal rancour; he places DRYDEN by the side of the lowest of Poets; he even puns miserably on his name to degrade him as the "emptiest" of Writers; and for that spirited Translation of VIRGIL which was admired even by POPE, he employs the most grotesque sarcastic images to mark his diminutive genius — for this Version-maker is so lost in VIRGIL, that he is like "the Lady in a Lobster; a Mouse under a canopy of state; a shriveled Beau within the penthouse of a full-bottomed perriwig." He never was generous enough to contradict his opinion, and persisted to the last.—