1742 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Henry Felton

J. Rhudd, in "To a young Lady, with Felton's Dissertation on Reading the Classics and forming a just Style" London Magazine 11 (January 1742) 42.



To your fair hand I give Felton's gay page,
Charg'd with prosaic sense, big with poetic rage:
To this great judge each writer's faults were known,
And ev'ry author's merit, but — his own.
O'er ev'ry age and class the censor sits,
And candidly or taxes, or acquits:
In prose and poetry alike presides;
And thro' each dubious work impartial guides.
In all the force of critic light and shade
Behold each author's pourtrait, here display'd.
Whom to reject, hence learn, and whom retain;
And which the study, which befits D—ck-L—ne.

Far-rais'd above the million's vulgar sight,
To read, in this fair page you'll learn, and write:
With their criteria either science grac'd,
And in good sense and criticism plac'd.
To laws still bound, strict as th' Athenian stage,
We enter here into each tortur'd page.

Smit with these rules, contemptuous throw aside
Each low inclassic secretary guide;
And, form'd on better models, dare to find
The native riches of your growing mind.
With such a guide to either style proceed,
And emulate the authors whom you read....