1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Thomas Percy

Joseph Ritson to Joseph Cooper Walker, 4 November 1789; Letters of Joseph Ritson (1833) 1:152.



As a publication of uncommon elegance and poetical merit I have always been, and still am, a warm admirer of Bishop Percys Reliques, and though I have been persuaded he has not on every occasion been so scrupulously attentive to his originals as I think the work required, I shall be very glad to find the idea unfounded, and readily confess that what you have been so obliging as to tell me about the folio MS. has in a great measure removed my prejudice on that head. The limits of a letter will not permit me to enter fully into the discussion of a question upon which I believe a good deal may be said. In the course of some prefatory matter to a book [Collection of Ancient Songs] which ought to have come out two or three years ago, but which I hope to receive and have the pleasure of transmitting to you in a short time, you will perceive the grounds upon which I have ventured to doubt the authenticity or at least the fidelity of this celebrated publication.