1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Robert Anderson, in Works of the British Poets (1795) 8:xii.



In his Pastorals, Dr. Warton observes, there is not to be found a single instance of a rural image that is new. The ideas of Theocritus, Virgil, and Spenser, are indeed exhibited in language equally mellifluous and pure, but the descriptions are trite, and common. A mixture of British and Grecian ideas may be justly deemed a blemish. An Englishman speaks of "celestial Venus, and Idalia's Groves, of Diana and Cynthius." They exhibit, however, a series of versification, which had in English poetry no precedent, nor has since had an imitation.