1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Percival Stockdale

William Davis, "Literary Vanity" Bibliographical and Literary Anecdotes (1814) 94-95.



He was the Child of Irascibility, and the offspring of his brain bear evident marks of their parentage. For upwards of half a century his search was immortality, his claims to which he did not scruple to found on his literary labours, and even to his death, he nourished the delusive conviction that posterity would do him that justice, of which he fancied he was deprived by cotemporary envy; with this self conviction he used frequently to quote instances of celebrated men who never received their due praise 'till after they were laid under ground, and it has even found its way into his life of himself, where giving a list of his works, he says "this I wrote at Portsmouth" and "this was written at No. 2, Bateman's Buildings." Ridiculous egotism! as if the world cared one straw whether his "this" was written in a counting-house, or his "that" in a coal-hole.

To crown the whole, a short time previous to his death, he printed at his own expence, a new edition of his Poems, of which I think I may venture to say, not twenty copies were sold; and had he lived long enough it was his intention to have republished the whole of his own works, which had he done, would in all probability have reduced him to the same dilemma as Aldrovandus.