1837 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmond Malone

Henry Hallam, in Introduction to the Literature of Europe of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries (1837-39; 1882) 2:305-06.



Johnson explained much well; but there is something magisterial in the manner wherein he dismisses each play like a boy's exercise, that irritates the reader. His criticism is frequently judicious, but betrays no ardent admiration for Shakspeare. Malone and Steevens were two laborious commentators on the meaning of words and phrases; one dull, the other clever: but the dulness was accompanied by candor and a love of truth; the cleverness, by a total absence of both. Neither seems to have had a full discernment of Shakspeare's genius.