1768 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Kames

John Gregory to James Beattie, 1 January 1768; Forbes, Life of James Beattie (1806) 1:110-11.



Every thing relating to the Belles lettres is read, or pretended to be read. What had made Lord Kaims's Elements of Criticism so popular in England is his numerous illustrations and quotations from Shakespeare. If his book had wanted these illustrations, or if they had been taken from ancient or foreign authors, it would not have been so generally read in England. This is a good political hint to you, in your capacity of an author; and certainly, if you write to the world, and wish to gain their approbation, you must write in such a manner as experience shows to be effectual for that purpose, if that manner be not criminal.