1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

Anna Brownell Jameson, in The Loves of the Poets (1829) 2:311-12.



Shenstone, if he was not a poetical old bachelor, was little better than a poetical dangler. He was not formed to captivate: his person was clumsy, his manners disagreeable, and his temper feeble and vacillating. The Delia who is introduced into his elegies, and the Phillis of his pastoral ballad, was Charlotte Graves, sister to the Graves who wrote the Spiritual Quixote. There was nothing warm or earnest in his admiration, and all his gallantry is as vapid as his character. He never gave the lady who was supposed, and supposed herself, to be the object of his serious pursuit, an opportunity of accepting or rejecting him; and his conduct has been blamed as ambiguous and unmanly. His querulous declamations against women in general, had neither cause nor excuse; and his complaints of infidelity and coldness are equally without foundation. He died unmarried.