1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Daniel

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in Censura Literaria 10 (1809) 30.



I confess my own preference of Daniel to Drayton is decisive. If the language of the latter is less abstract, that of the former is more pure, perspicuous, fluent, pointed, and original; it abounds in a stream of the most acute moral reflections, often expressed with a surprising force and felicity, the result of a discriminative head constantly exercised in meditating on all the variety of human affairs, and constantly arranging those meditations till they were ready with all their shades of difference at his call. But all these nice and masterly operations of the head would have been little, unless they had received a vivifying effect from the spirit of a feeling, warm, and virtuous heart. It is said that he is too much of a historian, rather than a poet. But does not Drayton, who makes this charge [in the Epistle to Reynolds], fall into the same defect?