1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Hands

Richard Gough, Review of Hands, The Death of Amnon; Gentleman's Magazine 60 (June 1790) 540.



A Wag of our acquaintance, coming into a bookseller's shop in the country, where subscriptions were taken-in for the benefit of this poetess, burst out into an exclamation, which only those who know him can conceive any idea of: — "The Death of Ammon? Who the devil is this Ammon? Hah! I have read a great many books, but never met with the Death of Ammon before." — The novelty of the subject is not an unfrequent recommendation of a book: but we have the authority of no mean judge of poetical merit, and though a poet himself, not jealous or envious of any who aim to ascend the Heliconian hill, and particularly attentive to female merit, as well as instrumental in bringing these poems to light, by promoting a subscription of not fewer than 1100 names, at 5s. each, — that there is no woman's poetry, in this age, from which he has received so much entertainment. "When I speak," adds he, "of Mrs. H's poetry, I speak of the 'Death of Ammon,' which I consider as by far the best." — The poems are introduced by a modest dedication to Bertie Greathed, Esq. If here and there an unequal line has insinuated itself into the five cantos of this heroic poem, which is written in blank verse, we must pardon the inexperienced Muse, and consider it as more than compensated by the sentiments conveyed in the whole. The Appendix is made up of miscellaneous articles, which Mrs. H's subscribers will read without the severity of criticism.