1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir John Denham

George Gregory, in Letters on Literature, Taste, and Composition (1808) 2:186.



Of those poems which describe natural scenery, Denham's Cooper's Hill, Pope's Windsor Forest, and Roscoe's Mount Pleasant, are the best. I add the latter, though it is not so much known as it deserves; but the name of the author has been justly celebrated since its publication, and it is, in my opinion, inferior to neither of the others. Cooper's Hill Dr. Johnson regards as an original work, and calls Denham "the father of a species of composition that may be denominated 'local poetry.'" Yet the very limited popularity of this poem at present is an argument against this species of poetry; and I believe Pope's Windsor Forest (notwithstanding his magic wand, which turned almost every thing to gold, and the curiosa felicitas, in which he was not exceeded by Horace) is less read than any of his poems, the Temple of Fame excepted, which may also be regarded in some measure as a descriptive poem.