1753 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Robert Lowth

John Werge, in "Epistles on Several Subjects" Collection of Original Poems (1753) 285-86.



With this, you will receive the copy you sent me of the choice of Hercules, with your annotations upon that admirable poem, which by your permission I have transcribed; and though you yourself forswear ever to publish them, I may some time or other perhaps do violence to your modesty, and usher them into the acquaintance of the world. As you desired my opinion of that poem, which I had read before in Mr. SPENCE'S Polymetis, and begged some additional remarks upon it, I will briefly own that I always admired it, as one of the greatest ornaments of the English poetry; but must beg you'll excuse me, as yet at least, from encreasing the number of notes.

The passage that most particularly strikes me is the twentieth stanza, where the happiness enjoyed by the allies of sloth is admirably pictured by a most finished groupe of intellectual and corporeal figures, heightened to the life by the strongest lineaments of painting, infinitely expressive of their respective characters. Next to this admirable passage the twenty-fifth stanza claims my approbation, wherein the effects produced upon sloth by the address of virtue are excellently delineated in a most beautiful allusion to the rainbow, which charms the view through the radiant effulgence of a poetic medium.

At present let this partial account of my approbation suffice, a more particular enumeration of it's beauties may hereafter entertain us in a social hour, while we wander amidst the rural beauties of ****