1759 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Upton

Anonymous, in An Impartial Estimate of Upton's Notes on the Fairy Queen (1759) 27.



Mr. Upton, whose commentary, notwithstanding its general merit, contains some things which must make a serious reader smile. But to point out these, is, according to one of his own ingenious comparisons, to hunt for freckles and moles upon the countenance of the Medicean Venus. Yet can we forebear being surprised at his happy sagacity, where he tells us, b.i. c.9. st.19. that the red-cross Knight gives Prince Arthur the New Testament, archly insinuating, that the author of the Arcadia wanted such a present? Or, in the first book, where he gravely informs us, that Dr. Whitgift, sometime tutor to Sir Guyon, or the Earl of Essex, is represented by the Reverend Palmer? His attempt, to prove, that Spenser's plan is equal to the Iliad in simplicity and uniformity, seems to partake of the same chimerical spirit of refinement.