1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Chatterton

Thomas Campbell, in Specimens of the British Poets (1819; 1855) 537n.



Nor is Chatterton's imposition reprehensible like Ireland's forgeries, for no real name or fame suffered as Shakespeare's might have suffered. A real Rowley, such as Chatterton gave birth to, never existed till he wrote, and no poet between Chaucer and Spenser but might own with pride the productions of the boy "of Bristowe." Lauder's imposture went to degrade a great author, Ireland's to make another write as only an Ireland could of written, but Chatterton's to make a new poet to advance the glory of his native city and of his nation at large. "The deception," says Southey, "was not intended to defraud or injure on human being."