1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Montagu

Melesina Chenevix Trench to Mary Leadbeater, 16 July 1811; Leadbeater Papers (1862) 2:217-18.



I sincerely concur in your opinion of Lady Mary W. Montagu's last published letters — heartless, flippant, selfish, and indelicate. Miss Seward goes so far at to call them "disgusting," and in general I think her criticisms on that lady's writings very just. Those of her namesake considerably lower the reputation she has gained as the champion of our immortal Shakespeare. It seems an insult to call any one his champion; and a hundred years hence, when his flame burns still brighter than it does now, and when Voltaire shall have sunk to his own place, — which, though still lofty, will probably be much lower than he now occupies, — posterity may wonder that any one could have thought a blow from him could possibly reach the great, the sublime, the inimitable poet, who, if he yields to Homer and Virgil, is certainly second to no other.