1914 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Brathwait

Edmund Gosse, in "Samuel Rowlands" Seventeenth-Century Studies (1914) 82-83.



Lodge and Greene began as Euphuists at the feet of Lyly; they were drawn by the example of Nash into the practice of satire, and into the compilation of catchpenny pamphlets on passing events. They very quickly ran through their brief careers, and had already died or retired from public life before Rowlands began to write. But their influence had been immense; they had inaugurated a new epoch in popular literature; and though the main current of such writing proceeded to flow in the channel of the drama, they still counted their followers in the younger generation. Of these followers Rowlands, and fifteen years later Braithwait, were the most important, and to both of these authors, entirely neglected for more than two centuries, public interest has of late returned. That either the one or the other was a writer of much merit, or deserved in any strict sense the name of poet, may easily and safely be denied, but neither lacks that quality of force that renders an author worthy of more than mere antiquarian attention.