1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bryan Waller Procter

Robert Chambers, in Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1844; 1850) 2:441.



BRYAN WALTER PROCTER, better known by his assumed name of Barry Cornwall, published, in 1815, a small volume of dramatic scenes of a domestic character, "in order," he says, "to try the effect of a more natural style than that which had for a long time prevailed in our dramatic literature." The experiment was successful; chiefly on account of the pathetic and tender scenes in Mr. Procter's sketches. He has since published Marcian Colonna, The Flood of Thessaly, and other poems: also a tragedy, Mirandola, which was brought out with success at Covent Garden theatre. Mr. Procter's later productions have not realised the promise of his early efforts. His professional avocations (for the poet is a barrister) may have withdrawn him from poetry, or at least prevented his studying it with that earnestness and devotion which can alone insure success. Still, Mr. Procter is a graceful and accomplished writer. His poetical style seems formed on that of the Elizabethan dramatists, and some of his lyrical pieces are exquisite in sentiment and diction.