1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gay

Robert Southey, in Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807) 298.



Two additional volumes professing to be the Miscellaneous Works of this well-known Poet were printed in 1773, in which several poems, and among them three cantos in continuation of Gondibert were inserted as his, which certainly he never wrote. His Fables though the most popular of his Works are by no means the most valuable. His Eclogues were written to ridicule Ambrose Philips, but in attempting the burlesque, Gay copied nature, and his unexpected success might have taught his contemporaries a better taste. Few Poets seem to have possessed so quick and observing an eye. The first specimen is well known [Sweet William's Farewell to Black-eyed Susan], but is selected for the rare union of wit and tenderness, that is to be found in it.