1801 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir James Bland Burges

William Taylor of Norwich to Robert Southey, 1 February 1801; J. W. Robberds, Memoir of the Life and Writings of William Taylor of Norwich (1843) 1:366.



Sir James Bland Burgess has just been proving, that very smoothly polished and laboriously wrought antijacobin poetry may be imperusably dull. I have read one whole canto and half several cantoes of his Richard the First, and the arguments of all the eighteen cantoes, in the hope of being directed by them to some bearable episode; but, alas! it is all duller still than the Berlin Richard Lowenherz printed in 1796. His mythology is the Miltonic, and diabolically hacknied it appears; the speeches of his devils are rimed paraphrases of the insipidest passages in Cumberland's Calvary. Mr. Sotheby is said to like the poem; he is very polite or very partial. Alfred [by Joseph Cottle], which you mention, I have not seen; by what I hear, it must have been published to keep Sir James Bland Burgess in countenance. When shall we have Thalaba? I want something to abuse, which I shall read through.