pleasing passages occur, especially in the tender and innocent loves of Pyrocles and Philoclea. I think it, nevertheless, on the whole inferior in sense, style, and spirit, to the Defence of Poesy.
In The Quarterly Review, vol. 1, 1809, pp. 77-92, D’Israeli (1766-1848) had contributed a rather unenthusiastic review of Zouch’s Life (No. 84). His enthusiasm for Sidney has increased markedly in the interim, but he remains aware that most of his contemporaries, however convincing his advocacy, will continue to regard Arcadia as tedious and remote.
What innocent lover of books does not imagine that ‘The Arcadia’ of Sidney is a volume deserted by every reader, and only to be classed among the folio romances of the Scuderies, or the unmeaning pastorals whose scenes are placed in the golden age? But such is not the fact. ‘Nobody, it is said, reads “The Arcadia;” we have known very many persons who read it, men, women, and children, and never knew one who read it without deep interest and admiration,’ exclaims an animated critic, probably the poet Southey. 1 More recent votaries have approached the altar of this creation of romance.
It may be as well to remind the reader that, although this volume, in the revolutions of times and tastes, has had the fate to be depreciated by modern critics, it has passed through fourteen editions, suffered translations in every European language, and is not yet sunk among the refuse of the bibliopolists. ‘The Arcadia’ was