1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Wolcot

Anne Grant to Miss Dunbar, 1802; in Letters from the Mountains; Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 4:650.



I cannot tell you how much I admire and despise Peter; he is every way original, and most original in this respect, that know not that ever any other object at once excited my contempt and admiration. His humour is most peculiar, most unaffected, most irresistible. Yet for what end Providence intrusted a weapon so dangerous in the hands of one who avows his disregard of everything sacred and venerable, is very difficult for us to conjecture. I am the more fully convinced of the bad tendency of his writings, from the amusement I derive from them, fore-armed as I am by a disgust at his want of principle and decency. Bozzy and Piozzi, however, is above praise and beyond censure: there the satire is so just, so pointed, so characteristic, that one can laugh without self-reproach. The Lousiad, however, I regard with a mixture of contempt and disgust.