1813
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

On Mr. Todd's Edition of Spenser.

Poems on Several Occasions: by Edward, Lord Thurlow. The Second Edition: considerably enlarged.

Edward Thurlow


Henry John Todd's Works of Spenser, with its long biography of the poet, was published in 1805: "Todd saw the wrong, then clear'd with golden pen | The faultless charter, to th' applause of men!" Edward Thurlow would also have admired the high praises Todd gives to his idol, Sir Philip Sidney.

The Satirist: "But we come to the Sonnets. Those are eight in number, and in the same spirit with the Romaunt, flashing with the same brilliant imagination, and pointed with the same acute satire. Modern critics have perhaps not exhibited more genuine burlesques of those bedridden fancies that dole out their weaknesses upon the world, as if fatuity were a virtue. But Lord Thurlow is a master of the art; alive to all its powers of infliction, he makes his use of them all, and, by the slight device of dedicating those Sonnets to certain noble Lords, contrives to unite the humour of general ridicule with the sharpness of individual correction. The stateliness of the epithets at the commencement of each, shows how much can be done by even a single word in the hands of contemptuous genius" 13 (September 1813) 217.

Thomas Moore: "Another peculiarity by which this noble author deceives us into a momentary feeling of interest about his writings, is that air of antiquity, which his study of our earlier writers enables him to throw not only over his verse but his prose. This charm, however, is of short duration. A mimickry of the diction of those mighty elders; — a resemblance, which keeps carefully wide of their beauties, and is laboriously faithful to their defects alone; — the mere mouldering form of their phraseology, without any of that life-blood of fancy which played through it — is an imposture that soon wearies, and, if his Lordship does not take especial care, will, at last, disgust. He must not be surprised, if some unlucky critic should fall into the tasteless error of Martinus Scriblerus's maid, and, in scouring off the rust from the pretended antique shield, discover but a very indifferent modern sconce underneath it" Edinburgh Review 23 (September 1814) 412.



Two hundred years the circling World has roll'd,
I' th' endless Ocean of enlighten'd space,
Her pure allotted path, from earthly mould
Since thy great mind fled up to heav'nly grace;
Disdaining this low stage, and empire base,
Unliken'd Spenser; in her perfect flight
Achieving with brave toil her native place,
And greedy hope of Angelick delight:
Yet could not Time, with his unceasing might,
Most patient, but most fearful enemy,
So aught 'gainst thee, but throw some little slight
Upon thy Verse, vow'd to Eternity:
Todd saw the wrong, then clear'd with golden pen
The faultless charter, to th' applause of men!

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