1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Cooper Walker

Robert Anderson to Thomas Percy, 18 May 1808; Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the XVIII Century (1817-58) 7:188-89.



I did not overlook what your Lordship has noticed in Mr. Cooper Walker's Essay on Romantic Fabling, and I think with justice; for certainly the editor of the Reliques was entitled to commemoration and applause, in preference to Ritson and Ellis, who only followed him. The "mentio honorifica" of Ritson at all surprised me, as I had dissuaded him from appearing as his correspondent in a biographical sketch by one of his friends, to which he was solicited to contribute. He seemed convinced, at the time, that it would not be creditable to be concerned in it; and I hinted too that it would affect the intercourse between us, as my attachment to your Lordship's person and character would oblige me to take notice of an unkind and deliberate association with a malignant and implacable enemy of your fame. I have had no epistolary communication with Mr. C. Walker, nor indeed with any of my literary friends in Ireland, for many months. At the time he sent me the Essay, I mentioned the note as likely to be offensive to your Lordship; and he took occasion to speak of you, as he has uniformly done to me, in terms of the highest respect. He is certainly a very well-natured worthy man, and I can ascribe to nothing but his excessive good-nature his indiscriminate admiration of men of letters, of almost every description, which may be easily mistaken for an inordinate ambitiousness of notoriety.