'Adam Smith, Sir [-] informed me, was no admirer of the Rambler or the Idler, but was pleased with the pamphlet respecting the Falkland Islands, as it displayed in such forcible language, the madness of modern wars. Of Swift, he made frequent and honourable mention, and regarded him, both in style and sentiment, as a pattern of correctness. He often quoted some of the short poetical addresses to Stella, and was particularly pleased with the couplet,
Say Stella, - feel you no content,
Reflecting on a life well-spent?
Smith had an invincible dislike to blank verse, Milton's only excepted. "they do well", said he, "to call it blank, for blank it is". Beattie's Minstrel he would not allow to be called a poem; for he said it had no plan, beginning or end. He did not much admire Allan Ramsay's "Gentle Shepherd", but preferred the "Pastor Fido", of which he spoke with rapture'.