1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Erasmus Darwin

Leigh Hunt, in Feast of the Poets (1814) 27-28n.



The late Dr. Darwin, whose notion of poetical merit, in common with that of Goldsmith and others, was of the school of Pope, though his taste was otherwise different, was perhaps the first, who by carrying it to its extreme pitch of sameness, and ringing it affectedly in one's ears, gave the public at large a suspicion that there was something wrong in it's nature. But of those who saw it's deficiencies, part had the ambition without the taste or attention requisite for striking into a better path, and became eccentric in another extreme; while others, who saw the folly of both, were content to keep the beaten track and set a proper example to neither. By these appeals, however, the public ear has been excited to expect something better; and perhaps there never was a more favourable time than the present, for an attempt to bring back the real harmonies of the English heroic, and to restore to it half the true principle of its music, — variety.