1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Lyttelton

Joseph Warton, in Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope (1782) 2:317-20.



An excellent man, who always served his friends with warmth (witness his kindness to Thomson) and his country with activity and zeal. His Poems, and Dialogues of the Dead, are written with elegance and ease; his Observations on the conversion of St. Paul, with clearness and closeness of reasoning; and his History of Henry II. with accuracy, and knowledge of those early times, and of the English constitution; and which was compiled from a laborious search into authentic documents, and the records lodged in the Tower and at the Rolls. A little before he died, he told me, that he had determined to throw out of the collection of all his works, which then soon to be published, his first juvenile performance, the Persian Letters, written, 1735, in imitation of those of his friend Montesquieu, whom he had known and admired in England; in which he said there were principles and remarks that he wished to retract and alter. I told him, that, notwithstanding his caution, the booksellers, as in fact they have, would preserve and insert those letters.