1834 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Richard Hurd

John Wilson, in "Spenser" Blackwood's Magazine 36 (September 1834) 426-27.



Christopher North is a just man as well as a fine critic, and therefore directs attention to the vindication of Spenser by Hurd. Would that Warton had been the champion — for far dearer to us is the memory of the Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, than of Worcester's mitred lord. The Bishop was too much of a precisian, and there are few flashes of the mens divinior in his Dialogues. Moreover, his was "pride that licked the dust" beneath Warburton's feet. The Monk had a soul of sunshine, ventilated by vernal breezes all life-long; and his History of English Poetry is a mine of gold. Moreover, "the fient a pride — nae pride had he" — and "honest Tom Warton" — as he will be endearingly called for ever by Oxonians — illustrated Goldsmith's line — itself worth all Theophrastus — "in wit a man, simplicity's child." Yet — true it is and of verity — that we owe to Hurd the vindication of Spenser. Therefore, laud to the lawn sleeves, the crosier, and the wig — for they came to the rescue of the Faery Queen.