1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Yalden

John Nichols, in Select Collection of Poems (1780-84) 3:167n.



Of this writer's life, Dr. Johnson's elegant little composition supercedes what otherwise might have been said. Yalden's Hymn to Darkness is "his best performance," being "for the most part imagined with great vigour, and expressed with great propriety. Of his other poems it is sufficient to say that they deserve perusal, though they are not always exactly polished." I rather cite this testimony of the great Biographer, as the publishers of the English Poets have been censured for admitting Yalden into their collection; a censure which, if deserved, I must take upon myself. However it happened that this writer's poems had never been before collected, I am persuaded that there are few who have actually read them but must have found much to admire. In the "English Poets" I inserted as many of them as could then be met with. Farther references have discovered what are here printed: but there are still four poems (which are known to be Dr. Yalden's, tow of which are particularly noticed in Dr. Johnson's life of him) which have eluded my inquiries; The Conquest of Namur, 1695, folio; The Temple of Fame, to the Memory of the Duke of Gloucester, 1700, folio; Aesop at Court; and a poem "on the late Queen's accession," I suppose Queen Anne; which, by the title of it, seems not to have been published till after her death.