1833 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bryan Waller Procter

Anonymous, in "Barry Cornwall, Motherwell, and Leigh Hunt" Fraser's Magazine 7 (February 1833) 206-07.



Barry Cornwall's name has been long known as the author of Dramatic Scenes, Marcian Colonna, the Girl of Provence, and Mirandola. The last gave a new impulse to the hopeless languor of tragedy, and was mainly instrumental in bringing forward the energies of Macready. It was full of the power of our early dramatists, whom the poet had made his models of fable, construction, and language. Let it not be supposed, however, that it was an imitation. The author brought high poetical conception to the task, fervour of imagination, zeal, assiduity, learning, and knowledge of the human heart. He was familiar with the productions of Marlow, Massinger, Ben Jonson, the lyrical rhapsodies of Milton, and the sweet writings of Beaumont and Fletcher. He could for ever meditate upon the tender and delicate touches in the characters of Juliet, Imogen, Perdita, and Miranda. He is also well endued with the spirit of the writings of modern poets, especially of Shelley, and great has been his relish for the moving descriptions of Dante, and the melting touches of Boccacio.