1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Babington Macaulay

R. H. Horne, in "T. B. Macaulay" New Spirit of the Age (1844; 2d edition) 2:38.



Mr. Macaulay may fairly be regarded as the first critical and historical essayist of the time. It is not meant to be inferred that there are not other writers who display as much understanding and research, as great, perhaps greater capacity of appreciating excellence, as much acuteness and humour, and a more subtle power of exciting, or of measuring, the efforts of the intellect and the imagination, besides possessing an equal mastery of language in their own peculiar style; but there is no other writer who combines so large an amount of all these qualities, with the addition of a mastery of style, at once highly classical and most extensively popular. His style is classical, because it is so correct; and it is popular because it must be intelligible without effort to every educated understanding.