1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Boyse

Robert Southey, in Review of Chalmers's English Poets; Quarterly Review 11 (July 1814) 490.



The wretched and disgraceful history of Boyse gives occasion to Mr. Chalmers to display his prowess against a man of straw. "There are those," he says, "who have no scruple to tell us that genius is an apology for all moral defects, and that none but the plodding prudent sons of dulness would reveal or censure the vices of a favourite poet. Such is already the influence of this perversion of the powers of reasoning, that if it is much longer indulged, no man will be thought worthy of compassion or apology, but he who errs against knowledge and principle, who acts wrong and knows better." The very commendable morality of this editor is not always improved by its savour of methodism, and it might he well for him to remember that uncharitable feelings are more likely to be misbestowed than charitable ones.