1772 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

Anonymous, in "Catalogue of the most celebrated Writers" Letters concerning the present State of England (1772) 360.



GRAY. The strongest instance in the world of what little avail learning is of to a poet; and yet more so, that plainness and simplicity are more sure of pleasing than the most laboured exertions. I do not mean, that this writer is of genuine simplicity in any of his works, but the Country church-yard is a beautiful poem; and, compared with his Pindaric Odes, simplicity itself. It will be read and admired when the latter are forgotten; an affected obscurity, and a broken composition of fits and starts, did well in the Greek, but are vile in English.