1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Penrose

Lord Byron, in Observations on the Observations (1821); Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 5:578.



There is nothing dishonourable in such a disorder [hypochondriacism], which is more peculiarly the malady of students. It has been the complaint of the good, the wise, and the witty, and even of the gay. Regnard, the author of the last French comedy after Moliere, was atrabilarious; and Moliere himself, saturnine. Dr. Johnson, Gray, and Burns, were all more or less affected by it occasionally. It was the prelude to the more awful malady of Collins, Cowper, Swift and Smart; but it by no means follows that a partial affliction of this disorder is to terminate like theirs. But even were it so,—

Nor best, nor wisest, are exempt from thee;
Folly — Folly's only free— PENROSE [Madness].

If this be the criticism of exemption, Mr. [Bowles's] last two pamphlets form a better certificate of sanity than a physician's.