1906 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Beattie

George Saintsbury, in History of English Prosody (1906-10) 2:510-11n.



Of Beattie I would rather not talk much. I once wrote of him that "he would have been a poet if he could," and I cannot go any further now. But there is now doubt that he was a most successful schoolmaster to bring folk to poetry in his own day and long afterwards; indeed, I have been told by quite young people that Beattie so brought them. And I am not like that severe allegorist of the forties (was it Bishop Wilberforce or Mr. Adams?) who delivered over to the Black Cherubim a great teacher of young soldiers for not fighting the good fight himself quite consistently.