[William] Cowper said, forty or fifty years ago, that he dared not name John Bunyan in his verse for fear of moving a sneer.  To our refined forefathers, we suppose, Lord Roscommon’s Essay on Translated Verse and the Duke of Buckinghamshire’s Essay on Poetry appeared to be compositions infinitely superior to the allegory of the preaching tinker.  We live in better times, and we are not afraid to say that, though there were many clever men in England during the latter half of the seventeenth century, there were only two minds which possessed the imaginative faculty in a very eminent degree.  One of those minds produced Paradise Lost, the other, Pilgrim’s Progress.Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) in his essay, “John Bunyan,” in Edinburgh Review (December, 1831).

From: Thomas Babington Macaulay: Critical and Historical Essays, edited by A. J. Grieve; 2 volumes; Everyman’s Library series (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1907), 2:410.


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