1914 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Randolph

Edmund Gosse, in "Captain Dover's Cotswold Games" Seventeenth Century Studies (1914) 117-18.



The stars must have erred in casting his horoscope, for Randolph had none of that precocious ripeness which seems so often to be the presage of, and the consolation for, an early death. His genius, which had something resolute and sturdy about it, was one that would certainly have raised him, at least, to an honourable place in the second rank of poets. His six plays and his thin collection of lyrics were but the infant motions of a wing that meant to strike hard and wide into the empyrean of poetry. There is nothing hectic or hysterical in what remains to us of Randolph; no attractive weakness or dolphin colour of approaching death. Had he lived he might have bridged over, with a strong popular poetry, the abyss between the old romantic and the new didactic schools, for he had a little of the spirit of each. As it is, he holds a better place in English literature than Dryden, or Gray, or Massinger would have held had they died before they were thirty.