1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Timothy Dwight

Robert Southey to G. C. Bedford, 24 February 1796; Life and Correspondence (1849-50) 1:269.



Friday, 24th.

Timothy Dwight (Bedford, I defy you or Mr. Shandy to physiognomise that man's name rightly. What historian is it who, in speaking of Alexander's feast, says they listened to one Timothy, a musician?) Timothy Dwight, an American, published, in 1785, an heroic poem on the conquest of Canaan. I had heard of it, and long wished to read it, in vain; but now the American minister (a good-natur'd man, whose poetry is worse than anything except his criticism) has lent me the book. There certainly is some merit in the poem; but, when Colonel Humphreys speaks of it, he will not allow me, to put in a word in defence of John Milton. If I had written upon this subject I should have been terribly tempted to take part with the Canaanites, for whom I cannot help feeling a kind of brotherly compassion.