1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Joseph Hall

Robert Anderson, in Works of the British Poets (1795) 3:726.



The Virgidemiarum are not printed with his other writings; and are not even mentioned by him, through his extreme modesty, in the Specialities of his Life. Pope saw them, but so late in life, that he could only "wish he had seen them sooner." They were reprinted at Oxford in 1753, and are now, for the first time, admitted into a collection of classical English poetry....

Upon comparing him with Donne, his successor, it will appear, that his verses are more metrical and flowing; that he is not inferior to him in wit, and that he exceeds him in his characters, which are more numerous, and drawn with greater art and strength of colouring.

Many of his lines would do honour to the most harmonious of our modern poets. The sense has generally such a pause, and will admit of such a punctuation at the close of the second line, as if it were calculated for a modern ear.

He has an animated idea of good poetry, and frequently avows his admiration of Spenser, who was his contemporary, and whom he imitates in the use of obsolete words, which lessen the value, and diminish the perspicuity of his writings.