1803 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Ritson

Anonymous, in Review of Ritson, Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food; British Critic 22 (November 1803) 488-89.



We had written thus far, when we were informed that he was no more! How fearful are the ways of heaven! The fool who, in the pride of his no knowledge, arraigned the wisdom of Providence; the worm that, in the conceit of his no-strength, aspired to pull the Almighty from his throne, sunk, in the twinkling of an eye, beneath the level of the lowest and most contemptible of the beasts that perish! It is said that he was found naked, at midnight, in the court of his inn, with a large clasp-knife in one hand, and a copper kettle in the other, on which he was exercising his impotent fury. The humanity of the neighbours conveyed him to a mad-house, where, in the course of a few hours, he expired in a paroxysm of frenzy.

It is just, as well as charitable, to hope that his opinions were influenced by the imperceptible growth of that malady which destroyed him: for the rest he is now before a righteous tribunal, where we also must appear; and where, the least sinful of the human race must look, no otherwise than himself, for forgiveness to the mercy of a long-suffering Judge and Father.