1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Flatman

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 59.



From a Drawing by Sir Peter Lely, in the possession of the Publisher.

THOMAS FLATMAN — whose exceedingly picturesque and interesting portrait follows — aimed at reconciling the sister muses, and wielded both the pencil and the pen. His drawings are said to have been much better than his poems; and we can readily believe it. His verse reminds us occasionally of Herrick's; but it is less sparkling and ingenious, and indeed inferior on the whole. — From his appearance, he ought to have been a better poet. His languid and almost tender look, his waving hair and graceful though somewhat affected dress, might well have belonged to an amorist; and we can easily fancy him tuning his voice to serenade or song, or inditing an elegy full of music and pathos, rivalling the passionate melody of Sappho, or the Dorian lament of the tender Bion. It is a little unfortunate that this was not the case. Flatman never did justice (in verse) to his personal appearance; but dealt out his sayings in a moderate volume, which posterity has almost utterly neglected. But, where are his paintings? — Alas, that his virtues should be written in water, and his follies in brass!