1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Thomas James Mathias, in Pursuits of Literature (1798) 298 & n.



I cannot, will not, in a college gown,
Vent my first nonsense on a patient town,
Quit the dull Cam, and ponder in a the park
A six-weeks Epick, or a Joan of Arc.

Robert Southey, author of many ingenious pieces of poetry of great promise, if the young gentleman would recollect what old Chaucer says of poetry,

—'Tis every dele
A rock of ice and not of steel.

He gave the public a long quarto volume of epick verses, JOAN OF ARC, written as he says, in the preface, in six weeks. Had he meant to write well, he should have kept it at least six years. — I mention this, for I have been much pleased with many of the young gentleman's little copies of verses. I wish also that he would review some of his principles.