1779 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Keate

Horace Walpole to William Cole, 21 May 1779; Letters, ed. Cunningham (1906) 7:200-01.



There is another new book called Sketches from Nature, in two volumes, by Mr. G. Keate, in which I found one fact too, that, if authentic, is worth knowing. The work is an imitation of Sterne, and has a sort of merit, though nothing that arrives at originality. For the foundation of the church of Reculver, he quotes a manuscript said to be written by a Dominican friar of Canterbury, and preserved at Louvain. The story is evidently metamorphosed into a novel, and has very little of an antique air; but it affirms that the monkish author attests the beauty of Richard III. This is very absurd, if invention be nothing to do with the story; and therefore one should suppose it genuine. I have desired Dodsley to ask Mr. Keate, if there truly exists such a manuscript: if there does, I own I wish he had printed it rather than his own production; for I agree with Mr. Gray, "that any man living may make a book worth reading, if he will but set down with truth what he has seen or heard, no matter whether the books is well written or not." Let those who can't write, glean.