1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Chalmers

Thomas James Mathias, in Pursuits of Literature (1798) 99-101 & n.



When flippant wit, and book-learn'd confidence,
Alone give right to science, taste, and sense,
When modest worth by idle boasting's shewn,
Then, nor till then, will I approve Malone:
See on the critick, "in his pride of place,"
Laborious Chalmers drops his leaden mace.
In the wild squabbles of a wordy war,
Let rabid Porson tell, or griesly Parr,
Coombe, Travis, or whate'er the name,
The breeding of more criticks is the same:
From royal Phalaris let your views extend
To Bristol's wizard stripling, and his end.

See The Apology for the Believers in — (Mr. Ireland's) Shakspeare Papers.

So forc'd from wind-guns lead itself can fly,
And pond'rous slugs cut swiftly through the sky.
Dunciad

Mr. Chalmers is a well-inform'd, useful, and well-meaning writer, but too "laborious, heavy, and busy" in his works. It was but a waste of erudition to throw it away on this composition. He always has my thanks for his political information; but I wish he had more spirit and a more animated manner.