1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Smith

Dorothy Wordsworth to Thomas De Quincey, 5 April 1809; Letters of the Wordsworth Family, ed. Knight (1907) 1:419.



The pamphlets came on Saturday night. Decius looks so very dry that I have not heart to attack him. I have read Cervallos; also I have read Miss Smith's Translation of Klopstock's and Mrs. K's letters. I wish she had never translated them; for they disturb that beautiful image which you conceive of Mrs. K's character from the few letters to Richardson; being full of beautiful breathings of godliness, exclamations without end, and "God" in every fourth line of a page.

Klopstock's letters to her are of the same kind, but being a man's letters, and the letters of a man who has had such a high reputation, one cannot read them with the same indulgence. I never in my life read a book in which there was so little sense or thought, — there is none, except in some of Mrs. K.'s letters, which have far more good in them than her husband's.