1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Merry

Edward Mangin, in A View of the Pleasures arising from Books: in Letters to a Lady (1814) 26-28.



You know how highly I esteem your taste and judgment; I therefore believe you will smile, (as indeed I myself do at the recollection,) when I tell you that at an early period of life, the farrago of bombast called Ossian's Poems, served me as a model of sublimity; and as to the versifiers, the mewlings of the Dellacruscan school were then in my mind the choicest examples of the sweet and tender in poetry!

That this could ever have been the fact seems to me now most astonishing; it is, nevertheless, perfectly true, but the mania did not endure long; and a good while before the termination of the last century those delectable effusions, and others of their class, had become objects of my contempt. Shortly after the appearance of Mr. Gifford's excellent Baviad, the Dellacruscans were no more, and had ceased to be subjects even of ridicule. And, as this age has brought with it another and a purer taste than the preceding, I dare say an admirer of any of the above productions would be as difficult to find at present in our literary circles, as a wolf in Wales, or even as an unicorn in the world.