1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

George Dyer, in Poetics: or a Series of Poems and Disquisitions on Poetry (1812) 2:23.



Such writers as Burns confirm my argument. That story would be poorly, indeed falsely told, that left Burns gasping for inspiration at the ploughtail. Such a character would not have existed, but for that love of general nature and strength of feeling, which in part lead to, and in part constitute, mental improvement. Writers much inferior to Burns prove no less; such as Taylor the Water Poet, and Stephen Duck the Thresher: they considered mental improvement so essential to their pretensions, as to be even ostentatious of the little they knew; and whoever chooses to dip into their poems, will find that the extent of their reading was commensurate, at least, with the reach of their poetry.