Page images

Progress of Poetry!' that there were not so many alterations as he expected, which was evidently owing to his method of long previous meditation, and that some of the lines were written three or four times over; and then, what is not always the case with an author, the best is always adopted.

He said there was nothing of which Gray had not the profoundest knowledge, at least of such subjects as come under the denomination of learning, except mathematics, of which, as well as his friend Mason, he was as completely ignorant, and which he used frequently to lament. He was acquainted with botany, but hardly seems to have paid it the compliment it deserves, when he said he learnt it merely for the sake of sparing himself the trouble of thinking."



1. School of S


(See Observ. on the English Poets, by Pope, in Spence's Anecdotes, ed. Malone, p. 81, 145.)

2. School of Chaucer.


Rymer, 2d part, p. 65, 66, 67, 77. Petrarch, 78. Catal. or Provençals. [Poets.]

3. School of Petrarch.


4. School of Dante.


5. School of


and from Italian


Chaucer's Visions.* Romaunt of the Rose.
Pierce Plowman. Tales from Boccace.

T. Occleve.
Walter de Mapes.

Earl of Surrey.

Sir Thomas Wyat.
Sir Philip Sydney.

G. Gascoyne. Translator of Ariosto's Co-

Mirror of Magistrates.

Lord Buckhurst's Induction.

Gorboduck. [Original of good Tragedy.-Seneca his Model.]


Spenser. Col. Clout, from the School of Ariosto, and Petrarch,

translated from Tasso.

[blocks in formation]

*Read. Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose. Visions of Pierce Plowman. [Malone.]

[blocks in formation]


T. Carey,
G. Sandys, in
his Par. of


} in matter,

in versifi-

Models to

(Sir John Mennis, Originals of Hudibras.


Here are several mistakes. The first paragraph under Æra II. viz. "Spenser, Col. Clout, from the School of Ariosto, and Petrarch, translated from Tasso," is unintelligible. We have no English poem by Alabaster. Golding, I believe, translated nothing from the Italian. Sir John Davies and Drayton wrote nearly as soon as Donne. Carew, and T. Carey, are the same person; and Thomas Carew, the person meant, had published nothing when Waller wrote his first poem. There is no poet of the name of Baynal. The person meant, I suspect, was Tho. Randal, in which way the name of Randolph the poet was often written in the last century; and Pope might not have known that Randolph, whom he mentioned before, and Tho. Randal, were the same person. [Malone.]*

To these observations by Mr. Malone, I shall add, that there does not seem to be any just ground for placing Chaucer in the

*Randall. See Llewellyn's Poems, P. A. 5. Randall. Masters, Cartwright - See Dryden's Art of Poetry, i. 242, 'Randall in his Rustic Strains. See Pref. Poems to Gayton's Chartæ Scriptæ. Tom. Randall ! 4to. 1645. Bancroft's Essay, 4to. p. 2. T. Randall. See Faithf. Teate's Poems, 1699, p. 1. Randall, and Davenant. Marlow was spelt Marley, see Peele's Works, ed. Dyce, ii. 140.

school of Provence. Mr. Trywhitt says, "As to Chaucer's language, I have not observed, in any of his writings, a single phrase or word, which has the least appearance of having been fetched by him from the south of the Loire. With respect to the manner and matter of his compositions, till some clear instance of imitation be produced, I shall be slow to believe, that in either he ever copied the poets of Provence, with whose works, I apprehend, he had very little, if any, acquaintance." [Cant. Tales, pref. p. xxxv.] Even T. Warton, in his Emendations and Additions to his second volume [p. 458], says: "I have never affirmed that Chaucer imitated the Provençal bards; although it is by no means improbable that he might have known their tales." Secondly, Davenant and Drayton can never be placed in the school of Donne.* Drayton should be ranked with Spenser; where indeed Pope, in his conversation with Spence, placed him: and Davenant is a poet who approaches nearer to Shakspeare, in the beauty of his descriptions, the tenderness of his thoughts, the seriousness of his feeling, and the wildness of his fancy. Cartwright did not imitate Donne; † and Cleveland is a writer of a very peculiar style, which he formed for himself. "The obtrusion of new words on his hearers (says Dryden) is what the world has blamed in our satirist Cleveland. To express a thing hard, and unnaturally, is his new way of elocution. There is this difference between his Satires and Donne's, that the one gives us deep thoughts in common language, through rough cadence; the other gives us common thoughts in abstruse words." Essay on Dramatic Poesy, p. 63, 64. [See this Catalogue in Mathias's Gray, vol. ii. p. 8.]

Letter from T. Gray to Thomas Warton, in the possession of Al. Chalmers, Esq. See his Life of T. Warton, v. British Poets, vol. xviii. p. 80.

Sir, Our friend, Dr. Hurd, having long ago desired me, in your name, to communicate any fragments or sketches of a

* Perhaps Pope alluded to Suckling's verses to Davenant:

"Thou hast redeem'd us, Will:- and future Times
Shall not account unto the age's crimes

Death of fierce Wit. Since the great Lord of it
DONNE parted hence: no man has ever writ
So near him, in his own way.".

† Dryden first called Donne metaphysical. See Warton's Pope, vol. iv. p. 252.

design I once had to give a History of English Poetry,* you may well think me rude or negligent, when you see me hesitating for so many months, before I comply with your request; and yet, believe me, few of your friends have been better pleased than I, to find this subject (surely neither unentertaining nor unuseful) had fallen into hands so likely to do it justice. Few have felt a higher esteem for your talents, your taste, and industry. In truth, the only cause of my delay has been a sort of diffidence, that would not let me send you any thing, so short, so slight, and so imperfect as the few materials I had begun to collect, or the observations I had made on them. A sketch of the division or arrangement of the subject, however, I venture to transcribe; and would wish to know, whether it corresponds in any thing with your own plan, for I am told your first volume is in the press.


On the Poetry of the Gallic or Celtic nations, as far back as it can be traced. On that of the Goths, its introduction into these islands by the Saxons and Danes, and its duration. On the origin of rhyme among the Franks, the Saxons, and Provençaux. Some account of the Latin rhyming poetry, from its early origin, down to the fifteenth century.


On the school of Provence, which rose about the year 1100, and was soon followed by the French and Italians. Their heroic poetry, or romances in verse, allegories, fabliaux, syrvientes, comedies, farces, canzoni, sonnetts, ballades, madrigals, sestines, &c. Of their imitators, the French; and of the first Italian School, commonly called the Sicilian, about the year 1200, brought to perfection by Dante, Petrarch, Boccace, and others. State of poetry in England from the Conquest, 1066, or rather from Henry the Second's time, 1154, to the reign of Edward the Third, 1327.


On Chaucer, who first introduced the manner of the Provençaux, improved by the Italians, into our country. His charac

*See a letter from Thos. Warton to Garrick, June 28, 1769, in which he says Gray had once an intention of this sort, (of writing the History of English Poetry), but he dropt it, as you may see by an Advt. to his Norway Odes. See Garrick's Corres. vol. 355.

« PreviousContinue »