1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Sotheby

Melesina Chenevix Trench to Mary Leadbeater, 18 November 1811; Leadbeater Papers (1862) 2:227.



I have been much interested by your "Tobit;" this, however, is not a work that would have much chance of pleasing the public, as a scripture story is a millstone that I believe would now sink any poem. Mr. Sotheby has struggled nobly against this prejudice in his "Saul," but scarcely any one has read that charming poem. In the whole circle of my acquaintance I never met one who had, nor could I ever prevail on any person to do so, not even amongst Mr. Sotheby's friends and relations, except my second self; yet it had the advantage of being introduced in an extract of considerable length in the Annual Register about ten or a dozen years since. I think Johnson did some injury in declaring religious subjects unfit for poetry.