1765 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

James Beattie to William Forbes, 7 December 1765; William Forbes, Life of Beattie (1806) 1:75.



Setting aside his merit as a poet, which, however in my opinion, is greater than any of his contemporaries can boast, in this or any other nation, I found him possessed of the most exact taste, the soundest judgment, and the most extensive learning. He is happy in a singular facility of expression. His conversation abounds in original observations, delivered with no appearance of sententious formality, and seeming to arise spontaneously without study or premeditation. I passed two very agreeable days with him at Glammis, and found him as easy in his manners, and as communicative and frank, as I could have wished.