1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Croly

Lord Byron to John Murray, 4 September 1817; Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 4:164.



By Mr. Rose I received safely, though tardily, magnesia and tooth-powder, Phrosine and Alashtar [Spenserians by Henry Gally Knight]! I shall clean my teeth with one, and wipe my feet with the other. Why do you send me such trash — worse than trash, the Sublime of Mediocrity? Thanks for Lallah [by Moore], however, which is good; and thanks for the Edinburgh and Quarterly, both very amusing and well written. Paris in 1815, etc. [Spenserians by George Croly] — good. Modern Greece [by Felicia Hemans] — good for nothing; written by some one who has never been there, and not being able to manage the Spenser stanza, has invented a thing of its own, consisting of two elegiac stanzas, a heroic line, and an Alexandrine, twisted on a string. Besides, why "modern?" You may say modern "Greeks," but surely "Greece" itself is rather more ancient than ever it was.