1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Williams

Robert Southey to Henry Taylor, 24 January 1827; Life and Correspondence (1849-50) 5:285.



My old acquaintance (those, I mean, who were elders when I was a young man) are dropping on all sides. One very remarkable one is just gone to his rest after a pilgrimage of fourscore years. Edward Williams, the Welsh bard, whom, under his Welsh name of Iolo, some lines in Madoc were intended to describe and gratify. He was the most eccentric man I ever knew, in whose eccentricity there was no affectation, and in whose conduct there was nothing morally wrong. Poor fellow! with a wild head and a warm heart, he had the simplicity of a child and the tenderness of a woman, and more knowledge of the traditions and antiquities of his own country than it is to be feared will ever be possessed by any one after him. I could tell you some odd anecdotes of him which ought not to be lost.