1893 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

George Saintsbury, in A History of Nineteenth Century Literature (1893; 1913) 80-81.



The often cited parallel of the false and true Florimels in Spenser applies here too. The really great poets do not injure each other in the very least by comparison, different as they are. Milton does not "kill" Wordsworth; Spenser does not injure Shelley; there is no danger in reading Keats immediately after Coleridge. But read Byron in close juxtaposition with any of these, or with not a few others, and the effect, to any good poetic taste, must surely be disastrous; to my own, whether good or bad, it is perfectly fatal.