1833 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Chalmers

Allan Cunningham, in "Biographical and Critical History of the Literature of the last Fifty Years" The Athenaeum (30 November 1833) 814.



The Caledonia is to the Anglo-Saxon History [of Sharon Turner] what Stonehenge is to a carved font in an old cathedral. It is one of the children of Anak. In deep research, and heaping together of matter, the Britannia of Camden fades away before it. A life, and a long and busy one, was almost exclusively devoted to this stupendous work: the author lived to complete it, and no more. The concluding volume is still in manuscript; and no bookseller has appeared willing to hazard the expense of giving to the world a thousand pages quarto. This is one of those cases in which literature is not its own reward; and had Chalmers lived in any land under the sun save this, his Caledonia would have been published by the government, and the learned author pensioned.