1754 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sonnet XVII. To Isaac Hawkins Browne.

The Canons of Criticism and Glossary, Being A Supplement to Mr. Warburton's Edition of Shakespear ... The Sixth Edition.

Thomas Edwards


In this undated and posthumously published sonnet Thomas Edwards encourages Isaac Hawkins Browne to write in his native English — like Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton. Brown (1705-60) is best known for his popular book of parodies, A Pipe of Tobacco (1736).

Advertisement to Canons of Criticism: "The Canons of Criticism, and the Sonnets printed in Dodsley's Miscellanys were so well received by the best Judges, that it is presumed the Republication of them, together with the other pieces, which the Author left behind him, and which he had prepared for the press before his last illness, will be agreeable to the Public. The twenty-seven Sonnets, which now appear for the first time, are in the same taste with those in Dodsley's volume, correct, simple, not aiming at points or turns, in the phrase and structure rather ancient, for the most part of a grave, or even of a melancholy cast; formed in short upon the model of the Italians of the good age, and of the Imitators among us, Spenser and Milton" (1765) Sig. A.

Austin Dobson: "One of [Richard Owen] Cambridge's associates, who had lived on the same staircase with him at Lincoln's Inn, was the parodist Isaac Hawkins Browne. Browne, too, was doubtless of these water parties; and in any case must have been known to Edwards, since Edwards devotes two sonnets to him, Nos. xvi and xvii. In the former he acknowledges Browne's influence on his own versification; in the latter he invites him to return to his 'native language,' a transparent reference to the lengthy Latin poem by Browne on the Immortality of the Soul, an English translation of which by Soame Jenyns appears in Dodsley's sixth volume" "Edwards's Canons of Criticism" in Later Essays, 1917-20 (1921) 20.



Once more, my Hawkins, I attempt to raise
My feeble voice to urge the tuneful song
Of that sweet Muse, which to her Country's wrong
Or sleeps, or only wakes to Latian lays.
Great is the merit, well-deserv'd the praise
Of that last Work, where Reasoning just and strong
In charming verse thy name shall bear along
To learned foreiners, and future days:
Yet do not thou thy native language scorn,
In which great Shakspear, Spenser, Milton sang
Such strains as may with Greek, or Roman vie:
This cultivate, raise, polish, and adorn;
So each fair Maid shall on thy numbers hang,
And every Briton bless thy melody.

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