1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gay

William Hazlitt, in Select British Poets (1824); Works, ed. Howe (1932) 9:239-40.



If good sense has been made the characteristic of Pope, good-nature might be made (with at least equal truth) the characteristic of GAY. He was a satirist without gall. He had a delightful placid vein of invention, fancy, wit, humour, description, ease, and elegance, a happy style, and a versification which seemed to cost him nothing. His Beggar's Opera indeed has stings in it, but it appears to have left the writer's mind without any.