1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Thomas Percy

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 202.



Percy, bishop of Dromore (1728-1811), was the son of a grocer, and a native of Bridgnorth, in Shropshire. He was educated at Oxford, and having taken holy orders, became successively chaplain to the king, a dean, and then a bishop. In 1765 he published his Reliques of English Poetry, the work by which he is chiefly known. It was largely influential in awakening a taste for natural descriptions, simplicity, and true passion, in opposition to the coldly correct and falsely sentimental style which was then predominant in English literature. Percy altered and supplemented many of these old pieces, copied as they were mostly from illiterate transcripts or the imperfect recitation of itinerant ballad-singers.