1804 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Pearse Gillies

Robert Pearse Gillies, 1804; Memoirs of a Literary Veteran (1851) 1:185.



During this period [1804], however, my own notions about poetry had undergone a complete revolution, partly from repeated reference to Drake's "Literary Hours," but still more from attentive study of Milton's minor poems; the first edition of Thomson's Autumn (under the name of Winter); a certain ode on the approach of Summer, by Thomas Warton; beyond all, of Beattie's Minstrel," which I had never duly appreciated till then. Henceforward, my poetical readings and attempts at composition were invariably carried on out of doors; and during the months of May and June, in the early mornings and brilliant evenings, I could find realized in our own woods all the vivid descriptions of nature contained in Comus, Lycidas, the Penseroso and Allegro. I knew quite well than in capacity, I had not any nearer relationship to Milton than a farthing rushlight has to the sun; but this consciousness by no means interfered with my triumph and delight at realizing his descriptions, and at being able to commune with the same nature under the same aspects which he had commemorated.