1803 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas James Mathias

William Roscoe to Thomas James Mathias, 1803; Life of William Roscoe (1833) 1:199.



It gives me great pleasure to observe, that the literature of Italy has begun to attract the more particular notice of our countrymen; and I am highly gratified to find that its cause has fallen into such able hands as yours, who are in every respect qualified to set it off to advantage. One would have thought that the example of our great poets, and particularly of Spenser and Milton, would have recommended the Italians to the study of all those whom are emulous of their honours; yet certain it is, that they have hitherto been unaccountably neglected in this country, and, excepting a very few eminent authors, may be said to be wholly strangers amongst us. Nor is it from the poets alone we should derive improvement. The literary history of Italy would open an immense fund of information far beyond what that of any other country (I do not except even our own) could afford.