1833 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

John Wilson, in "Spenser" Blackwood's Magazine 34 (1833) 806.



Scott speaks of "my master, Spenser." But there was little sympathy between their natures; their genius had not much in common; and the might of their magic was exhibited in very different spheres. He of the Thames was all for meditation, and the wondrous world of Thought haunted by aerial shadows, typical of the Beautiful in manners, in morals, and in mind, but, above all, in Spirit. He of the Tweed evoked from their tombs, not spectres or phantoms, but Beings restored to flesh-and-blood life, and carrying with them the clank of armor. He made the Past the Present by a necromancy that awoke the dead, as by the sound of a trumpet, and he shewed us how fields were lost and won, by fighting them over again before our astonished imaginations, that began to feel as if with bodily eyes they were gazing on Flodden or Bannockburn.