1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

William Wordsworth, in Essay, Supplementary to the Preface (1815); Prose, ed. Grosart (1876) 2:121n.



Shenstone, in his Schoolmistress, gives a still more remarkable instance of this timidity [displayed by Thomas Percy]. On its first appearance, (See D'Israeli's 2d Series of the Curiosities of Literature) the Poem was accompanied with an absurd prose commentary, showing, as indeed some incongruous expressions in the text imply that the whole was intended for burlesque. In subsequent editions, the commentary was dropped, and the people have since continued to read in seriousness, doing for the Author what he had not courage openly to venture upon for himself.