1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Waller

Robert Anderson, in Works of the British Poets (1795) 5:445.



The poetry of Waller, when we consider the time in which his first pieces (which are no ways inferior to his later ones) were written, displays a great elegance of taste, and a judgment almost congenially matured. One can scarcely believe, that but twenty years intervened between the last publication of Spencer, and the first of Waller; yet the former (who indeed affected the obsolete,) cannot be read without a glossary; whereas, the diction and turn of stile (save a few scattered expletives) of the latter, are so entirely modern, that they seem no otherwise different, than by conveying that superior weight and energy of sentiment, which so strongly mark the character of the older poetry, and which yet promises it a longer existence than its florid but feeble offspring can hope for.