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genius it requires, but from certain suspicions, founded on a perusal of the Notes, that, to sail in safety, Mr Hodgson must steer by the rudder and compass of another man's thoughts..
ART. IV. Lectures on the truly Eminent English Poets. By Per
cival Stockdale. Printed for the Author, and sold by Longman Hurst Rees & Orme. 2 vol. large 8vo. Price one guinea in boards. 1807.
W HATEVER truth there may be in the assertion, that none but
a poet should criticize a poet, we are nevertheless extremely happy to meet now and then with dissertations on poetry in sober prose ; for most of our modern bards, as if they were afraid that posterity would not take the trouble to be their commentators, have enshrined themselves in their own annotations.
The author before us seems to have written the greater part of these remarks at a time when the subjects of criticism, on which he enters, excited a livelier interest than they do at present in the public mind. More than half of his pages is devoted to the refutation of Dr Johnson's heretical dogmas on the merits of our best writers. There was a time when no true admirer of Milton or Gray could speak without a rapture of indignation of Johnson's blasphemies against those poets. We know not if any duels were fought in that fashionable controversy, as they were in the course of another, which did not long precede it, in this part of the island, viz. the guilt or innocence of Mary Queen of Scots ; but if blood was not spilt, a great deal of gall was generated. Nearly coeval with these, was the Rowleyan controversy, concerning the authenticity of the poems produced by Chatterton. On this subject also, Mr Stockdale has taken the field with as much ardour as we should now expect in a writer on the Catholic question, or the expedition to Copenhagen. On both questions, whether as the adversary of Johnson or of Miller and Bryant, Mr Stockdale appears to us rather impetuous as an advocate; yet generally, and with good feelings, in the right. We are only afraid this ingenuous veteran will find the public interest not so warm as his own. Johnson's true glory will live for ever; his violent prejudices have already lost their authority. The refutation of his errors, therefore, is not now called for. · Of all that was ever written against him, there is but one worthy of being preserved as a literary curiosity; we mean the continuation of his criticism on Gray's Elegy, being an admirable imitation of his style, and a temperate caricature of the unfairness of his strictures. Still, however,