1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Drayton

Walter Savage Landor to Robert Southey, 1811; John Forster, Landor, a Biography (1869) 13-14.



The two first books I ever bought were at the stall of an old woman at Rugby. They happened to be Baker's Chronicle and Drayton's Polyolbion. I was very fond of both because they were bought by me. They were my own; and if I did not read them attentively, my money would have been thrown away, and I must have thought and confessed myself injudicious. I have read neither since, and I never shall possess either again. It is melancholy to think with how much more fondness and pride the writers of those days contemplated whatever was belonging to "Old" England. People now, in praising any scene or event, snarl all the while, and attack their neighbors for not praising. They feel a consciousness that the foundations of our greatness are impaired, and have occasioned a thousand little cracks and crevices to let in the cold air upon our comforts. Ah, Nassau and Oliver! — "Quis vobis tertius haeres?"