1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir John Harington

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in Censura Literaria 4 (1807) 11.



Sir John Harington was born 1561, and died at his seat at Kelston, near Bath, in 1612, aged 51. The NUGAE ANTIQUAE, which have been lately re-edited with so much elegance, and so much erudite industry, have so fully brought back his memory to the public notice, that it would be superfluous for me to repeat the circumstances of his life or character.

The epigrams, it must be confessed, although they appear to have once enjoyed some reputation, possess no poetical merit. They are flat, colloquial, rhymes, of that low tone, above which it seems to have been difficult for the genius of Harington to rise. But they may still be persused with some interest by the antiquary, the biographer, and the investigator of ancient manners, and customs; like those of Sir Aston Cokayne, which contain numerous cotemporary notices of his friends, neighbours, and acquaintance. For this reason, I shall transcribe a few specimens.