1843 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Tennant

John Wright, in Memoir of Wright, Poetical Works (1843) xxxii.



Wright speaks of the goodness of Tennant with gratitude. While at Dollar, many long and earnest conversations took place between them on the merits of the most popular poets. Tennant's opinions were tinctured with a charitable feeling which shielded the blemishes attributable to character or style. Byron's faults were glozed over by many beauties of his poetry — Burns's errors were sheltered under the splendour and versatility of his talents — to all the sons of the Muse he was a friend, and advocated even their failings with a zeal and earnestness that would almost make them "lean to virtue's side." He was of an unpretending character, and without even a shadow of that egotism, which is chargeable on many, who, with slighter claims to genius, have more assurance. When he died [sic], Wright — with a lively sense of his worth — composed the epitaph which will be found in the body of this volume.