1836 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Twining

Hartley Coleridge, in "William Mason" Worthies of Yorkshire and Lancashire (1836) 416n.



We know not any prose translation of any classic worthy to be compared with Twining's "Poetics," for elegance, correctness, and pure Anglicism. The notes are a treasure of classical information; and the two preliminary dissertations ("On Poetry, considered as an imitative art," and "On the word Imitative, as applied to Music") are among the earliest specimens of philosophical criticism. Twining understood his author well, and has shown clearly how grossly, if not wilfully, the French interpreters have misunderstood him. It is to be regretted that he is not as bold in advancing his own clear view of Aristotle's purport, as in demolishing the flimsy comments of Bossu and Dacier. It was much that he dared to use his common sense and common eyes; but he might have discovered much more had he used the telescope of an imaginative philosophy; not that he wanted imagination or philosophy either, but he was afraid to trust them together.