1739 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gay

Anonymous, in "The Apotheosis of Milton" Gentleman's Magazine 9 (January 1739) 21.



A little after I observed a Man of a sweet engaging Deportment, his Eye was piercing, and a smile sat upon his Brow, which discover'd what I had almost call'd a severe Good-nature. It was, however, a Good-nature, whose Expression seem'd rather to pity than to upbraid; and, at the same time, even the Pity convey'd a Reproach. His Habits were of the richest Stuff, but, those about him which were most conceal'd were most rich, and my Conductor told me that I could not have a just Notion of their Beauty unless I was nearer his Person. He then inform'd me, that I saw Mr. Gay; a Man, added he, whose Virtues recommended his Qualities, and who is an Instance, that the best Ingredient that can enter into the Character of a good Writer, is that of being an honest Man.