1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Mackenzie

Margaret Oliphant, in The Literary History of England (1882) 1:175-76.



However it may pique our patriotism to say so, it is no doubt true that Scotland, like every junior partner in a great historical union, has always had a most lively jealousy of her wealthy sister, and delighted in nothing so much as in the ability to hold her own in all peaceful contests of arts or letters. While neither Burns nor Scott existed, Henry Mackenzie was always something; and perhaps it pleased the jocund little capital all the better that he stood up to the adversary on his own ground, giving her a Lounger of her own in emulation of all the Spectators and Ramblers, than if he had struck out the fresh vein of her own humours and oddities, which was happily reserved for a more potent magician.