1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ambrose Philips

Robert Southey, in Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807) 2:112.



The praise of the Guardian and the satire of Pope, has made Ambrose Philips remembered when his Poems are neglected. Pope, in whom contempt seems always to have been mingled with envy, accuses him of poverty in a couplet wherein a falsehood is told in bad English: but whatever inconvenience he may have suffered from narrow circumstances in early life, he obtained affluence by honourable means, and lived to a good old age to enjoy it. His Pastorals, if the reader can so far lay aside all common sense as to forget the inherent absurdity of Pastorals, deserve much of the commendation which they once received. His Namby-Pamby Pieces are in a style of his own invention, and the silliness of the style may be excused to the silliness of the subject. At least half his book, says Johnson, deserves to be read. Few of our minor poets have obtained so favourable a sentence.