1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Joseph Warton

Michael Wodhull, "Wooll's Life of Warton" Gentleman's Magazine 76 (1806) 995-96.



Nov. 6.

MR. URBAN,

The circumstance of that anonymous Satirist, the Author of the Pursuits of Literature, having applied to Dr. Warton the cant term "Democrat," is so truly ridiculous, that I should not have dreampt of noticing it, but for the stress laid upon it by Mr. Wooll.

In some remarks on Pope, Dr. Warton, unwilling to confine Virgil's praise of liberty to "one" honest line, instances what he says about the expulusion of Mezentius by the Etrurians: his ideas, occupied by the poets, orators, and historians of antient Greece and Rome, were unlikely to have suggested any allusion to what was passing in France; nor was it possible for so able a critic to have discovered any similitude between either the character or the fate of an intrepid ferocious tyrant slain in battle, and the execution of Louis XVIth. It seems, however, as if the Biographer, in his anxious care to avoid provoking any similar cavil, has thrown aside Dr. Warton's Odes on Liberty, and Superstition, retaining those on The Nightingale, Spring, and A Lady who hates the Country: encomiums on the Brutuses and Dr. Samuel Clarke may be less palatable to some readers than an apotheosis of Julius Caesar, Dr. Waterland, or the two Sherlocks; but, as Mr. Wooll proposes to indulge us with a second volume, I would humbly submit to his consideration, as a Biographer, whether thoughts on Religion or Politics, expressed with energy, are not more interesting to the Public, and more characteristical of Dr. Warton, than either his Descriptive or his Amorous effusions.

L. L.