1762 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

William Warburton to Thomas Balguy, 7 October 1762; Wooll, Biographical Memoirs of Joseph Warton (1806) 283-84.



Prior Park, October 7, 1762.

When you see Mr. T. Warton, pray tell him with what new pleasure I have read his improved edition of his Observations on the Fairy Queen, which I had formerly read with the highest satisfaction. He says truly, p. 234. v. 2. that "taste and imagination make more antiquarians than the world is willing to allow." He is a noble instance of this truth; and if he goes on so, he will rescue antiquarian studies (the most amusing in the world, and not the least useful) from the contempt of certain learned blockheads, and the stale ridicule of ignorant wits. Above all, there is nothing I more wish than an edition of my favourite Chaucer from his hand: nor would it be indifferent to an antiquary of taste to have Wood's Antiquities of Oxford, as he wrote him in his own English, given to the public for the reason Mr. Warton speaks of in his Life of Bathurst. It would be infinite pity not to go on in illustrating antiquity; since he is certainly the first antiquarian of taste and spirit that we have seen since Spelman and Seldon. I will venture to point at two slips, that he should set right in the next edition, v. i. p. 29. In Richard I.'s licence for holding tournaments, he explains Warringford by [Wallingford]; he should have said Waingford, 6 miles south of Stemford: between which two places there is a large heath proper for those exercises. Again, p. 194, "Cuir bouilli" he explains by tarred leather; he should have said tarred leather hardened in boiling oil, to make it fit for that part of the knight's armour. — Pray let me know whether he publishes his Theocritus by subscription.

You. may remember I told you I had an account to settle with Walpole, for his pp. 106-7, in the 1st of his Anec, of Paint. Lord Mansfield told me at Gloucester that he had denied to every body on his honour that he meant me, and professed his great regard, &c. If he has bought off my resentment to his own satisfaction, I have no reason to quarrel at the price, how small soever it may be thought, from this influence. Believe me to be,

Dear Sir, &c.

W. GLOUCESTER.

[William Warburton wrote to Richard Hurd, 30 November 1762: "I am extremely pleased with T. Warton's new edition of his observations, and have let him know as much by Balguy. I am glad he is in earnest with his project of the History of English Poetry: he will do it well. — Your advice will determine me to strike out the note on his Brother [in his edition of Pope's Works]. The reasons you give have sufficient weight" Letters of a Late eminent Prelate (1808) 250.]