1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

William Hazlitt, in Lectures on the English Poets (1818; 1909) 160.



Warton was a poet and a scholar, studious with ease, learned without affectation. He had a happiness which some have been prouder of than he, who deserved it less — he was poet-laureate:

And that green wreath which decks the bard when dead,
That laurel garland crown'd his living head.

But he bore his honours meekly, and performed his half-yearly task regularly. I should not have mentioned him for this distinction alone (the highest which a poet can receive from the state), but for another circumstance: I mean his being the author of some of the finest sonnets in the language — at least so they appear to me.