1837 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Struthers

John Gibson Lockhart, in Life of Scott (1837-38; 1902) 2:61.



Mr. Struthers's volume was unfortunate in bearing a title so very like that of James Grahame's Sabbath, which, though not written sooner, had been published a year or two before. This much interfered with its success, yet it was not on the whole unsuccessful: it put some 30 or 40 into the pocket of a good man, to whom this was a considerable supply; but it made his name and character known, and thus served him far more essentially; for he wisely continued to cultivate his poetical talents without neglecting the opportunity, thus afforded through them, of pursuing his original calling under better advantages. It is said that the solitary and meditative generation of cobblers have produced a larger list of murders and other domestic crimes than any other mechanical trade except the butchers; but the sons of Crispin have, to balance their account, a not less disproportionate catalogue of poets; and foremost among these stands the pious author of The Poor Man's Sabbath; one of the very few that have had sense and fortitude to resist the innumerable temptations to which any measure of celebrity exposes persons of their class. I believe Mr. Struthers survives to enjoy the retrospect of a long and virtuous life. His letters to Scott are equally creditable to his taste and feelings, and some time after we shall find him making a pilgrimage to Ashestiel.