1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Montagu

Hester Mulso Chapone, in Letters on the Improvement of the Mind (1773, 1774) 128-29.



You will at first find his [Shakespeare's] language difficult; but, if you take the assistance of a friend, who understands it well, you will by degrees enter into his manner of phraseology and perceive a thousand beauties, which at first lay buried in obsolete words and uncouth constructions. The admirable Essay on Shakespear, which has lately appeared, so much to the honour of our sex, will open your mind to the peculiar excellencies of this author, and enlighten your judgment on dramatic poetry in general, with such force of reason and brilliancy of wit, as cannot fail to delight as well as instruct you.