1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Alexander Geddes

Alexander Campbell, in Introduction to the History of Poetry in Scotland (1798) 331.



In 1792, volume the first of the Transactions of the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland, was printed at Edinbrugh, in which appeared Three Scottish Poems, with a previous dissertation on the Scoto-Saxon dialect, by the Revd. ALEXANDER GEDDES, LL.D. So precious a morsel from the translator of the Bible, must be deemed by every philologist, a happy acquisition to Scottish literature. While all must admire the Doctor's dissertation, it is not necessary to pay implicit respect to his ingenious conjectures. He will admit this remark. At the same time, I acknowledge, in many points, I am inclined to place the topics he has touched on with so much judgment and candour, in the same point of view he has done. Notwithstanding, I have my doubts. With regard to his "three poems," there can be but one opinion. They are composed in the true classic Scottish dialect, and possess the genuine characteristics of poetry, and philological knowledge. The "epistles," no doubt, are rather adulatory; yet, considering on what occasion they were written, the partiality displayed throughout, to the departed geniuses of his native country, may be pardoned, or overlooked by every good-natured critic. "The first Eklog of Virgil, translatit into Skottis vers," is not inferior to any part of the Bishop of Dunkeld's ENEADOS.