1839 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Gabriel Harvey

Robert Aris Willmott, in English Sacred Poets (1839) 34n.



This singular man, who united to ripe scholarship a very ridiculous propensity for writing verses, enjoyed considerable popularity in his day. He was the friend of Spenser, with whom he became acquainted at Cambridge, and to whose Faery Queen he prefixed the sweetest lines he ever wrote. But Harvey's vanity surpassed all his other qualifications. Upon his return from Italy he dressed himself in the Venetian costume, and was remarkable for the uncommon richness and costliness of his attire. The circumstance, however, of his father having been a rope-maker at Saffron Walden, seems to have embittered his life. Hence arose his enmity to the unhappy Greene, who some weeks before his death published a tract containing reflections upon rope-makers in general.