1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charlotte Smith

David Rivers, in Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 2:267-69.



Of Bignor Park, Sussex, a lady of very distinguished reputation as a Poet, and as a Novel-writer. Her first publication was Elegiac Sonnets and other Essays, which appeared in quarto, in 1784. These poems, characterized by great elegance of feeling and beauty of expression, have been very frequently reprinted, and, with many subsequent additions, are now published in two duodecimo volumes, under the title, Elegiac Sonnets and other Poems. In 1787, Mrs. Smith published The Romance of Real Life, in three duodecimo volumes, which is a compilation from a voluminous French work, entitled Causes celebree, &c. and, in the year following, Emmeline, or the Orphan of the Castle, a novel. She has, since that time, written Ethelinde, Celestina, Desmond, the Old Manor House, the Wanderings of Warwick, the Banished Man, Montalbert, and Marchmont, novels; The Emigrants, a poem; Rural Walks, in dialogues intended for the use of young persons, in two duodecimo volumes; Rambles Farther, in continuation of the Rural Walks, in two duodecimo volumes; and a Narrative of the Loss of Catherine, Venus, &c. near Weymouth, drawn up from information taken on the spot, and published for the benefit of an unfortunate survivor from one of the wrecks and her infant child. Considered as a novel-writer only, though her powers of pleasing are very great, Mrs. Smith has a few superiors among her countrywomen: considered as a poet only, the number of these will be found exceedingly small: but, if considered, as to her union of both characters, we know of no lady who has superior pretentions.