1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Campbell

Melesina Chenevix Trench to Mary Leadbeater, 3 October 1809; Leadbeater Papers (1862) 2:173-74.



Your admiration for Gertrude of Wyoming is not greater than my own. There is an exquisite sensibility in some passages, and a pomp of poetical diction untied with apparent truth of descriptive painting in others, which cover all the faults of its meagre, disjointed, improbable narrative, and its occasional obscurity. The long suspension of the meaning of the sentence from the beginning of a stanza to its conclusion occurs too often to suffer it ever to be a popular poem; those to whom verse is not familiar are constantly obliged to seek for his meaning. However, the condensed beauties of Gertrude are numerous, and particularly to be admired at present, when the art of saying much in few words seems almost forgotten.