1834 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in Autobiography (1834) 1:127.



Even his beautiful Eloisa is no original composition; it is the conception of a powerful and passionate fancy, — not invention. The genius is secondary, because it lies solely in the language and versification. But who can put it in the same class with the inventions of Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, Tasso, Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton? When Byron wrote Manfred, and Cain, and Heaven and Earth, he was a great inventor: why therefore does he affect to despise himself for not following Pope's model? I am sorry to say, that this seems nothing less than perverse affectation.