1833 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Henry John Todd

John Wilson, in "Spenser" Blackwood's Magazine 34 (1833) 807.



Yet not one of them all [the poets] would edit Spenser! And the task — he found it a hard one — was left to worthy Dr. Todd — to whom we are all greatly indebted for a lumbering but authentic Life of the Poet, in which is gathered together — like sheaves of all kind of grain, huddled together in a barn by husbandmen afraid of a thunder-shower — a mass of most interesting and confused information; but as for any light thrown on passages dark or obscure, because of mysterious meaning, or of secret or slight allusion to men or things afar off, but called to the service of the moral muse from Court and Camp and Council, you meet not even

—With a ray
Of straggling sunshine gone astray;

for though he often holds up a candle, he has never remembered to light it, and in "the darkness visible" you lose all temper with the impertinent tallow.