1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir John Davies

Anonymous, in Review of Davies's Poetical Works, ed. William Thompson, The Critical Review 35 (1773) 314.



Mr. W. Thompson, the author of a poem called SICKNESS, was a great admirer or these poems, and when he died, left a corrected copy of them, for which they are now reprinted. In some short marginal notes, he observes, "that the Poem on the Soul was, without dispute, except Spenser's Fairy Queen, the best that was written in queen Elizabeth's, or even James the First's time;" that "the Acrosticks make some amends for the innumerable fooleries of other writers in this way;" and that "it is a great pity, and to be lamented by the poetical world, that so very ingenious a poem as the Orchestra should be left unfinished, or, what is more likely, that part of it should be lost." With all due deference, however, to the judgment of Mr. Thompson, we cannot exempt our author from the charge of having largely contributed to the "innumerable fooleries" above-mentioned, when we find him torturing his mother tongue, and his own brain in writing twenty-six hymns in acrostic verse, on ELIZABETHA REGINA!