1825 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Armstrong

Henry Mackenzie, Anecdotes and Egotisms, 1825 ca.; ed. Thompson (1927) 39.



Dr. ARMSTRONG, took his degree at Edinburgh, was noticed as a remarkably good scholar and a very successful student of medicine; but tho' [he] wrote an admirable poem on the subject, he was not very fond of its practice. His first poem was one of much genius and of considerable poetical merit, but too free and indelicate for general perusal, called The Economy of Love, now (it may be said favourably for his memory) forgotten.

He was not quite temperate enough for a careful physician; yet notwithstanding his love for a friend and a bottle, he acquired considerable practice in London; as might be expected from his talents and disposition, he was in great favour with a circle of friends. In criticism he blamed the want of simplicity in some of the most admired poetry even of his time (what would he have said now!) and did not like far-fetched figures or long words. One harmless word he had a great objection to, "inculcate;" that word, he said, should go to the paviors, alluding to its sound in pronunciation.