1895 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Wither

W. J. Courthope, in History of English Poetry (1895-1910) 3:327.



Judging him solely by his later works, the Royalist poets and critics, either through ignorance or party spirit, regarded the once-charming lyric poet as a wretched Puritan scribbler. Cleveland and Butler ranked him with Prynne and Vicars. Pope, preserving the tradition of the Restoration, classed him in the Dunciad with Gildon and Ward, and his name might have remained in this company, had not Bishop Percy inserted one of his poems in the Reliques, and spoken of him as "not altogether devoid of genius." Since then selections of his poems have been made by Sir Egerton Brydges in 1822, while Fair Virtue was reprinted by the late Professor Henry Morley in 1891.