1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Campbell

Lord Byron, 11 January 1821; Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 5:165-66.



In reading, I have just chanced upon an expression of Tom Campbell's; — speaking of Collins, he says that "no reader cares any more about the characteristic manners of his Eclogues than about the authenticity of the tale of Troy".... The secret of Tom Campbell's defence of inaccuracy in costume and description is, that his Gertrude, etc., has no more locality in common with Pennsylvania than with Penmanmaur. It is notoriously full of grossly false scenery, as all Americans declare, though they praise parts of the poem. It is thus that self-love for ever creeps out, like a snake, to sting anything which happens, even accidentally, to stumble upon it.