1805 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Gilbert West

Robert Southey to G. C. Bedford, 13 April 1805; Life and Correspondence (1849-50) 2:328.



I shall endeavour [in Specimens of the later English Poets?] to account for the decline of poetry after the age of Shakespeare and Spenser, in spite of the great exceptions during the Commonwealth, and to trace the effect produced by the restorers of a better taste, of whom Thomson and Gilbert West are to be esteemed the chief, before the Wartons, with this difference, that what he [sic] did was the the effect of his own genius, what they, by a feeling of the genius of others. This reign will rank very high in poetical history. Goldsmith, Cowper, Burns, are all original, and all unequalled in their way. Falconer is another whose works will last forever.