1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Jonathan Swift

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in Lecture XIV (1818, 1836); Coleridge on the Seventeenth Century (1955) 416.



It is, indeed, worthy of remark that all our great poets have been good prose writers, as Chaucer, Spenser, Milton; and this probably arose from their just sense of metre. For a true poet will never confound verse and prose; whereas it is almost characteristic of indifferent prose writers that they should be constantly slipping into scraps of metre. Swift's style is, in its line, perfect; the manner is a complete expression of the matter, the terms appropriate, and the artifice concealed. It is simplicity in the true sense of the word.