1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. James De La Cour

Robert Southey, in Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807) 3:193.



At a very early age this writer attained some reputation, by an Epistle from Abelard to Eloisa, and by his Prospect of Poetry. He took orders, but neglected even the decencies of his profession, till habitual drunkenness produced derangement. His madness took a prophetick turn, and as during the siege of the Havannah, he guessed what day it would surrender, he was for some time in high odour as a prophet. A little estate of about fourscore pounds a year, preserved him, with the help of hospitality, from want: towards the latter end of his life he sold this to his brother-in-law for his board and lodging and a certain yearly allowance; restraining himself from staying out after twelve o'clock at night, under the penalty of one shilling; his balance at the end of the year, was in consequence very inconsiderable.