1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Hopkinson

R. P. S., in "Progress of Literature in Pennsylvania" Philadelphia Monthly Magazine NS 1 (January 1829) 173.



For an account of Dickinson we refer to the American Quarterly Review, for June, 1827, where also, honorable mention is made of Francis Hopkinson, who, as a satirical and facetious essayist, stands without a rival on our list of authors. His writings throw much light upon the spirit of the times, and though many were elicited by passing events, they will remain lasting memorials of his taste and literary genius. The subjects upon which he bestowed the lash, though passing, were important, and will be as familiar to after ages as to the present. We may venture to predict, without laying claim to divine inspiration, that after perusing the unvarnished detail of the historian, the reader will naturally recur to the vivid illustration of the satirist. We seldom obtain a correct view of the tone of the public mind from the pages of the historian; this is to be gathered from the periodicals of the day, where every topic discussed appears in all its freshness, without disguise. History may be compared to the Egyptian art that preserved the body, but could not retain the spirit.