1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

Lady Anne Hamilton, in Epics of the Ton (1807) 11 & n.



Good natured Scott rehearse in well-paid Lays
The marv'lous chiefs and elves of other days....

In former days poets, we are told, could not make a bare livelihood of the fruit of their brains. They might sing like Syrens, and beg like gypsies, and yet after all they could scarcely make a shift to dine on one dish, and drink small beer. Times, it would appear, are altered. Scott, by producing before us the lays of our ancient minstrels, and by himself bringing up the rear, enjoys large pieces of copy-rights, and a couple of good offices. To his honour be it said, few men deserve better to thrive in the world.