1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Wolcot

Henry Crabb Robinson, 9 May 1811; Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence (1870; 1872) 1:171.



Dined with Thelwall. A large party. The man whom we went to see, and, if we could, admire, was Dr. Wolcott, better known as Peter Pindar. He talked about the artists, said that West could paint neither ideal beauty nor from nature, called Opie the Michael Angelo of old age, complained of the ingratitude of certain artists who owed everything to himself, spoke contemptuously of Walter Scott, who, he said, owed his popularity to hard names. He also declaimed against rhyme in general, which he said was fit only for burlesque. Not even Butler would live. At the same time he praised exceedingly the Heroic Epistle to Sir W. Chambers [by William Mason]. Congreve he considered the greatest miracle of genius, and that such a man should early abandon literature was to him unaccountable. As Peter Pindar was blind, I was requested to help him to his wine, which was in a separate pint bottle, and was not wine at all, but brandy.