1784 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ben Jonson

Joseph Warton to John Nichols, 18 April 1784; in Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the XVIII Century (1812-15) 6:172-73.



I have a little printing scheme to mention to you, and imagine you will not dislike to join with me in the profit and loss. We all know what a taste is diffused for reading our old Poets. I think some of our old Critics might be made as popular and pleasing. I therefore propose to you to print, in a very neat volume in twelves, these two pieces, both of which are excellent in their way: A Defense of Poetry by Sir Philip Sidney; and, Observations on Eloquence and Poetry, from the Discoveries of Ben Jonson. Neither of these pieces are read frequently, because one is at the end of the Arcadia, into which few people look; and the other at the end of Jonson's works, consisting, you know, of many volumes. — I would wish it were soon done, if you approve it. I should be glad to see the proofs, and to have it perfectly correct. And I will find you the copy to print from.