1801 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Wolcot

William Jackson of Exeter, in Autobiography (1801 ca.); The Leisure Hour (1882) 360.



He gave me at different times many beautiful songs and other pieces of his charming poetry, of which I afterwards made great use. Wolcot is one of the few extraordinary men of the present times. In his poetry he is by turns vulgar, delicate, abusive, and sometimes sublime. He neither begs, borrows, nor steals, but is always himself and himself alone. His conversation is seldom entertaining, and never informing. "What mortal could suppose," said a lady, "that such a man had written so many fine things?" Wolcot began his career by abusing the painters and the king; but long before his Exhibition Odes, he published a poem in the Gentleman's Magazine, the subject "A Cornish Ball in a Barn," truly original and full of humour. His notes to Mrs. Robinson (published in her Life) are the prettiest of trifles.