1801 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir John Davies

George Ellis, in Specimens of Early English Poets (1801; 1845) 2:329-30.



His poem on the Immortality of the Soul is a noble monument of his learning, acuteness, command of language, and facility of versification. His similes (as Mrs. Cooper and Mr. Headley have justly observed) are singularly happy; always enlivening, and often illustrating his abstruse and difficult subject: but while we admire his wit and ingenuity, we sometimes regret the more indefinite and sublimer conceptions of his model, Lucretius.

Besides the Nosce Teipsum, he composed Orchestra, a poem on Dancing; and twenty-six Acrosticke Hymnes on the words Elizabetha Regina, one of which is here given. They are probably the best acrostics ever written, and all equally good: but they seem to prove their author was too fond of struggling with useless difficulties.