1793 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Steevens

Lord Charlemont to Edmond Malone, October 1793, in Sir James Prior, Edmond Malone (1860) 206-07.



I have lately seen (October 1793), — for Heaven forbid that I should have bought! — Steevens's last edition of Shakspeare. You know I always disliked the man, and certainly the manner in which he mentions you has by no means diminished my dislike. In all he says there is but too visibly a feeble, though, thanks to his slender abilities, a fruitless attempt to damn with faint praise, which is certainly the species of satire least creditable to its author. Besides, that a publication at this period has at least the appearance of being meant to check the progress of your intended quarto, and indeed he has taken care to preserve for himself the only advantage he can ever have over you, by making his edition far more legible than that which you last published. The quarto however will not I trust, be affected by it: indeed, I now wish for its success more ardently than ever. Yet it is whispered among the booksellers that the present state of the times may possibly retard its coming forth. I hope otherwise.