1800 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Brown

Robert Southey, 1800 ca.; Common-Place Book (1849-51) 4:342.



His Estimate ran through seven editions in one year. "His insatiable vanity, dogmatism and arrogance rendered him disgusting to others, and a torment to himself." Yet this ill-natured writer confesses that he understood the theory of composition, and that his Dissertation on the Rise, Union, and Power, the Progression, Separation, and Corruptions of Poetry and Music, evinces a thorough acquaintance with the subjects on which he treats.

One pamphleteer abused him, "that, with an eye to preferment, he had officiously strained all his powers and faculties, to make the people appear sole authors of their own calamities." The same opponent says, "whoever casts an eye on the estimator's scanty page and overgrown margin, will pronounce at once that nobody understands the value of three and sixpence better than he." All which the M. Review (April 1758) appears to commend.

The next article is upon the second vol. of the Estimate (vol. xviii. p. 354). It is thoroughly malignant; and, if the writer had any reason for suspecting the real state of Brown's mind, might almost deserve to be called murderous. P. 374.