1693
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Instructive Books for young Readers.]

Athenian Mercury 12 No. 1 (October 1693).

Rev. Samuel Wesley


Edmund Spenser is recommended to young readers — along with most of the rest of the English canon. Samuel Wesley is said to have handled the literary department of the Athenian Mercury. The "Athenian Society" consisted of the printer John Dunton, the mathematician Richard Sault, and the Rev. Samuel Wesley the elder, whose vast poem on the Life of Christ is here given a puff.

George Saintsbury: "this curious and interesting medley of Dunton's, and Samuel Wesley's, and others', was almost the first to provide something in English answering, or that might have answered, to the 'Journal des Savants' and the 'Mercure Galant.' Actually, the Mercury was not very literary. I do not pretend to have examined the original volumes with any very great care. But in the three copious books which were either directly compiled out of it, or composed in imitation — the Athenian Oracle, Athenian Sport, and The British Apollo — literature holds no very large place" History of English Criticism (1911) 146.




Quest. 4. What Books of Poetry wou'd you Advise one that's Young, and extreamly delights in it, to read, both Divine and other?

Answ. For Divine, David's Psalms, Sandy's and Woodford's Versions, Lloyd's Canticles, Cowley's Davideis, Sir J. Davis's Nosce Teipsum, Herbert's and Crashaw's Poems, Milton's Paradices, and (if you have Patience) Wesley's Life of Christ. For others, Old Merry Chaucer, Gawen Douglas's Aeneads (if you can get it) the best Version that ever was, or We believe ever will be, of that incomparable Poem; Spencer's Fairy Queen, &c., Tasso's Godfrey of Bulloign, Shakespear, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ben Johnson, Randal, Cleaveland, Dr. Donne, Gondibert, WALLER, all DRYDEN, Tate, Oldham, Flatman, The Plain Dealer — and when you have done of these, we'll promise to provide you more.


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