1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Cooper Walker

Joseph Ritson to Joseph Cooper Walker, 12 August 1789; Letters of Joseph Ritson (1833) 1:143-44



I took the earliest opportunity on my return to town, of reading your instructive and entertaining history [of the Irish Bards]. You have my thanks in common with those of the public for affording so delectable an employment. It is much to be wished that in addition to the poetry, music, dress, and arms of the ancient Irish you would favour us with an account of their diet, manners, and amusements; topics equally interesting with those you have already so happily treated. After the elegant specimen M. Le Grand has given us of the method in which such a subject should be treated, in his Vie privee des Francois, it becomes manner not of lamentation only, but of surprise that no person has attempted a work of this nature for England. But we are altogether for hasty and superficial productions which cost as little labour to compile as ingenuity to put together. How much therefore must Ireland be indebted to you for rescuing her from such an imputation, by works which evince so superior a degree of both industry and genius!