1804 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Lamb

William Taylor of Norwich to Robert Southey, 27 March 1804; J. W. Robberds, Memoir of the Life and Writings of William Taylor (1843) 1:491.



I am less displeased than you at Mrs. B—'s critique of John Woodvyll; the best passages are actually reprinted: the sneer is not dissembled but avowed. The tragedy is really bad: had it been my lot to notice it, I should have supposed it a play bespoken by [William Henry] Ireland of some needy author in order to make it into Shakespeare manuscript. It is however preposterous to inveigh against the Southey school of writers in analysing this play; for it is not of the school of writers struck at. It is quaint and affected, not simple and insipid; the diction is artfully antique, not vulgarly natural.