1834 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Quarles

Robert Aris Willmott, in English Sacred Poets (1834; 1839) 1:238-39.



We may say of him, in the emphatic words of Dr. Hammond, that he was of an athletic habit of mind, braced into more than common vigour by healthful and ennobling studies, and a pure and virtuous life. There was nothing effeminate in his manners or his disposition; he was often ungraceful, but never weak. No man had a corrector notion of the beauty of style, or presented a more striking exception to his own rule: — "Clothe not thy language," he said, "either with obscurity or affectation; in the one thou discoverest too much darkness, in the other, too much lightness. He that speaks from the understanding to the understanding is the best interpreter." It would have been good for his fame if he had practised what he taught. His eccentricity was the ruin of his genius: he offered up the most beautiful imagination, without remorse, to this misshapen idol.