1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Thomson

William Wordsworth, in Essay, Supplementary to the Preface (1815); Prose, ed. Grosart (1876) 2:119-20.



Pope, repaying praises which he had received, and wishing to extol him to the highest, only styles him "an elegant and philosophical poet;" nor are we able to collect any unquestionable proofs that the true characteristics of Thomson's genius as an imaginative poet were perceived, till the elder Warton, almost forty years after the publication of The Seasons, pointed them out by a note in his Essay on the Life and Writings of Pope. In The Castle of Indolence (of which Gray speaks so coldly) these characteristics were almost us conspicuously displayed, and in verse more harmonious, and diction more pure. Yet that fine poem was neglected on its appearance, and is at this day the delight only of a few!