1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ambrose Philips

Joseph Warton, in Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope (1782) 2:240 & n.



The bard whom pilfer'd pastorals renown,
Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown.

PHILLIPS, certainly not a very animated or first-rate writer, yet appears not to deserve quite so much contempt, if we look at his first and fifth pastoral, his epistle from Copenhagen, his ode on the death of Earl Cowper, his translations of the two first olympic odes of Pindar, the two odes of Sappho, and above all, his pleasing tragedy of the Distrest Mother. The secret grounds of Philips's malignity to Pope, are said to be the ridicule and laughter he met with from all the Hanover Club, of which he was secretary, for mistaking the incomparable ironical paper in the Guardian, No. 40, which was written by Pope, for a serious criticism on pastoral poetry. The learned Heyne also mistook this irony, as appears by p. 202. v. I. of his Virgil.