1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Chatterton

Robert Potter to Edward Jerningham, 4 April 1782; Lewis Bettany, Edward Jerningham and his Friends (1919) 336.



Did Mrs. Bacon tell you that I had been deep in Dr. Milles and Mr. Bryant? I had, from the first publication of these poems, declared them to be Chatterton's. I think the word forgery too harsh for the occasion. My opinion was founded upon the language, which is such as never was in use; upon the stanza, and harmony of the verse, unknown till Spenser's days; and upon the many instances of coincidence of expression with modern poets. Mr. Bryant, with all his learning, will hardly induce us to believe that lines in which we find in Addison's Cato were written by a priest in the 14th century. Mr. Warton's arguments must be decisive.