1851 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Waller

Leigh Hunt, in Table Talk (1851) 136.



Pope said of Waller, that he would have been a better poet had he entertained less admiration of people in power. But surely it was the excess of that propensity which inspired him. He was naturally timid and servile; and poetry is the flower of a man's real nature, whatever it may be, provided there be intellect and music enough to bring it to bear. Waller's very best pieces are those in praise of sovereign authority and of a beautiful mistress. He would not have sung Saccarissa so well had she favoured him.