1761 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Allan Ramsay

William Shenstone to Mr. MacGowan, 24 September 1761; in Letters, ed. Mallam (1939) 423-24.



I have perused the Gentle Shepherd with all imaginable pleasure; and here again am indebted to you, sir, for the assistance of your glossary. 'Tis rare to find a poem of this length, where simplicity of sentiment and of language are so very well sustained. The metre is generally musical; and the old Scottish words form an admirable kind of Doric. Good sense, expressed naturally, in a phrase easy, perspicuous, and not wholly void of ornament, seems the talent of Ramsay, whose taste in composition was perhaps more remarkable than his genius; and in whom fire and invention would certainly have deprived his readers of the Gentle Shepherd.