1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Thomson

Richard Ryan, in Poetry and Poets: being a Collection of the choicest Anecdotes relative to the Poets of every Age and Nation (1826) 3:171-72.



Thomson's first part of his Seasons, — Winter, lay like waste paper at the bookseller's, till a gentleman of taste, Mr. Mitchell, promulgated its merits in the best circles, and then all was right. Thomson got from Andrew Millar, in 1729, one hundred and thirty-seven pounds shillings for Sophonisba, a tragedy, and Spring, a poem. For the rest of the Seasons, and some other pieces, one hundred and five pounds of John Millar; which were again sold to Millar, nine years afterwards, for one hundred and five pounds. When Millar died, his executors sold the whole copy-right to the trade for five hundred and five pounds.

Gray, the Poet, speaks thus of Thomson: — "He has lately published a poem, called the Castle of Indolence, in which there are some good stanzas." "In an ordinary critic, possessed of one-hundredth part of his sensibility and taste, such total indifference would be utterly impossible." — (Stewart's Philos. Essays.)