1853 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Steele

W. M. Thackeray, in English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century (1853); Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 2:763.



The great charm of Steele's writing is its naturalness. He wrote so quickly and carelessly that he was forced to make the reader his confidant, and had not the time to deceive him. He had a small share of book-learning, but a vast acquaintance with the world. He had lived with gownsmen, with troopers, with gentlemen ushers of the Court, with men and women of fashion; with authors and wits, with the inmates of the spunging houses, and with the frequenters of all the clubs and coffee houses in the town. He was liked in all company because he liked it; and you like to see his enjoyment as you like to see the glee of a box full of children at the pantomime.