1779 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Alabaster

Samuel Johnson, in "Life of Milton," Lives of the English Poets (1779-81); ed. Hill (1905) 1:87-88.



I once heard Mr. Hampton, the translator of Polybius, remark, what I think is true, that Milton was the first Englishman who, after the revival of letters, wrote Latin verses with classick elegance. If any exceptions can be made they are very few; Haddon and Ascham, the pride of Elizabeth's reign, however they may have succeeded in prose, no sooner attempt verses than they provoke derision. If we produced anything worthy of notice before the elegies of Milton it was perhaps Alabaster's Roxana.