1803 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Ritson

Robert Southey to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 14 March 1803; Life and Correspondence (1851) 159.



If they buy many books at Gunville, let them buy the English metrical romances published by Ritson: it is, indeed, a treasure of true old poetry: the expense of publication is defrayed by Ellis. Ritson is the oddest, but most honest of all our antiquarians, and he abuses poor Percy and Pinkerton with less mercy than justice. With somewhat more modesty than Mister Pinkerton, as he calls him, he has mended the spelling of our language, and, without the authority of an act of Parliament, changed the name of the very country he lives in into Engleland. The beauty of the common stanza will surprise you.