1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Glocester Ridley

John Nichols, in Literary Anecdotes of the XVIII Century (1812-15) 1:649n.



The origin of this [Psyche] was as follows: his friend, Mr. Spence, having lent him the Works of Spenser, which he had never read, on returning them, our Author sent Mr. Spence, as a fragment, the fifteen first stanzas of Psyche, without farther plan or design, as an exercise to imitate that Writer. Mr. Spence pressed him to finish it: he did so, and completed the canto. This was his excuse for adopting obsolete words. After this, Mr. Dodsley, and other friends, prevailed with him to think of a second part to the Metamorphosis; but, 'sensible (as he modestly said) how very moderate his talent was for poetry, he was desirous to supply that defect, as far as he could, by conveying some new and useful knowledge, through the vehicle of verse.' As the first part of the Metamorphosis, in one canto, was a kind of Paradise Lost, this was to be a Paradise Regained.