1763 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Mason

Elizabeth Montagu to Benjamin Stillingfleet, 9 August 1763; in Reginald Blunt, Mrs. Montagu, 1762-1800 (1923) 1:54.



I know our friend Torri thinks I have been poring my eyes out for many years for very little purpose, and is afraid I should teach my Godson more than the needful love of the pater noster and the ten commandments, but he does not know how much amusement I can make to myself in my lonely walks from memory and imagination. I have sometimes fancy'd a lean black smith at his forge was the miserable personage of Care painted by Spencer. Thanks to Mr. Mason, I have heard the Druids sing their mystick songs upon these mountains. One morning Mrs. Carter and I were looking down from them upon the town of Spa, the Cordeliers carried the host in procession, their solemn step, lugubre habit, and the base voice of their chaunting deepen'd the murmur of the falling floods, and shed a browner horror on the woods. The dreary desert, the woods, the rocks, the cascades and all the objects we look'd upon borrow'd from, and lent solemnity to this religious ceremony, and it is the only instance in which I have found any of that kind of awe from the rites of the Romish Church.