1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Babington Macaulay

Leigh Hunt to Macvey Napier, 29 November 1844; Correspondence of Leigh Hunt (1862) 2:35.



Thanks are such pleasant things to receive, and good-natured men take so reasonable a pleasure in knowing them to have been received, that I cannot but send you this, to say how gratified I have been by your letter. I took it for granted, of course, that you were not unaware of the merits of Spenser, "after his kind;" but I did not know that you were so fond of our old friend of the "whilom" and "eftsoons;' and I rejoice that you are. Might I venture to express a wish that the Edinburgh Review, some day, would take up a new edition of his works, and let the public see what you feel. Macaulay won't do it, I fear; for though a poet himself, he does not partake of the love of poets for Spenser; which is an anomaly that perplexes me. The Review, you must know, is thought a little cold at present towards works of imagination; and I long to see it at the head of the right portion of the enthusiasm of the age, leading it in that as well as in the points which it does, and with a leader's love as well as mastery.