1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Browne of Tavistock

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in Restituta or ... English Literature Revived 2 (1815) 10.



The metaphysical subtlety, and tasteless and unfeeling ingenuity of Donne, produced execrable distortions in him and his imitators so opposite to all that is attractive or valuable in the Muse, that more than half a century did not rid the common versifiers of its disgusting effects. A freedom from these faults, and a strong disapprobation of them clearly expressed in many of his Prefaces, at a time when no one else entirely escaped the infection, and when fashion made the cultivation of them the path to fame, distinguishes George Wither, and has endeared him memory to me, and convinced me of the strength of his taste, and the original powers of his mind. William Browne, though a partaker of the same cast, is, in my opinion, by no means equally pure; nor, though he has had the good fortune to enjoy a better fame, is he by many degrees equally entitled to it.