1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Chapman

Thomas Park, in Restituta or ... English Literature Revived 4 (1816) 433-34.



There is a grave and masculine morality in most of Chapman's productions, which renders them deserving of particular notice: his personal character seems to have corresponded with his writings: this we are fully authorised to presume, from the testimonies of other writers. Oldys remarks, that the head of Chapman was a treasury or chronicle of whatever was memorable among the poets of his time; and that he preserved in his own conduct the true dignity of poetry, which he compared to the sun-flower, that disdains to open its leaves to a smoking taper.

Drayton calls him "reverend Chapman," in his Epistle to Henry Reynolds; and Wood, probably from hence, pronounces him "a person of a most reverend aspect, religious and temperate, qualities rarely meeting in a poet." The truth is (as the living Editor of Philips has remarked) he does not seem to have mingled in the dissipations and indiscretions, which then marked his profession. Freeman, in his Epigrams, 1614, terms Chapman's an "inambitious pen:" but this, his arduous task of translating the whole of Homer's remains from their originals, and his approach to the throne of England in his dedications, appear to refute.