1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin

Leigh Hunt, in "Pocket-Books and Keepsakes" The Keepsake (1828) 11-12.



To confess a weakness, we must own to a greater sympathy with the outsides of books than our mention of this gentleman might imply. Respecting the insides we sometimes venture to differ with him. We cannot go so far as to be transported with any thing that he thinks festive in old monkery, or spotless in modern prudery, the immaculate and very profitable Shakspeares not excepted. We cannot consent to doubt with Thomas respecting the merits of Sir Richard Steele, or to admit his comparative nothingness with regard to Addison; albeit we allow that the latter, besides a very great man, was a sort of born clergyman, and a member of the privy council. We are not in the habit, with Frognall, of leaping up to kiss and embrace every "enticing" edition in vellum, and every "sweetly-toned, mellowtoned, yellow morocco binding," calling them "precious," comforting," "bright," "beauteous," "bewitching," "large and lovely," and "irresistible;" epithets of which we allow the full force in their proper places. But we must say, that in common with Mr. Dibdin, we have a penchant for good and suitable, and even rich and splendid bindings; and would fain have the scorching sun strike upon a whole room full of them, with all the colours of a flower-garden or a cathedral window.