1756 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elijah Fenton

Joseph Warton, in Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope (1756; 1782) 1:306-08.



Fenton was an elegant scholar, and had an exquisite taste; the books he translated for POPE in the Odyssey are superior to Broome's. In his Miscellanies are many pieces worthy of notice; particularly his Epistle to Southerne; the Fair Nun, imitated from Fontaine; Olivia, a Character; an Ode to the Sun; and one to Lord Gower, written in the true spirit of Lyric poetry, of which the following allegory is an example:

Enamour'd of the SEINE, celestial fair,
The blooming pride of Thetis azure train,
Bacchus, to win the nymph who caus'd his care,
Lash'd his swift tigers to the Celtic plain;
There secret in her saphire cell,
He with the Nais wont to dwell,
Leaving the nectar'd feasts of Jove;
And where her mazy waters flow,
He gave the mantling vine to grow,
A trophy to his love.

His tragedy of Mariamne has undoubtedly merit, tho' the diction be too figurative and ornamental; it does indeed superabound in the richest poetic images: except this may palliated by urging, that it suits the characters of oriental heroes, to talk in so high a strain, and to use such a luxuriance of metaphors.