1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Raleigh

Leigh Hunt, in Imagination and Fancy (1844) 66.



Exclusiveness of liking for this or that mode of truth, only shows, either that a reader's perceptions are limited, or that he would sacrifice truth itself to his favourite form of it. Sir Walter Raleigh, who was as trenchant with his pen as his sword, hailed the Faerie Queene of his friend Spenser in verses in which he said that "Petrarch" was thenceforward to be no more heard of; and that in all English poetry, there was nothing he counted "of any price" but the effusions of the new author. Yet Petrarch is still living; Chaucer was not abolished by Sir Walter; and Shakspeare is thought somewhat valuable. A botanist might as well have said, that myrtles and oaks were to disappear, because acacias have come up.