1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Letitia Elizabeth Landon

John Wilson, et. al., in Blackwood's Magazine (August 1824); Noctes Ambrosianae, ed. Mackenzie (1854) 1:466-67.



ODOHERTY. Literary Gazettes! — What a rumpus all that fry have been keeping up about Miss Landon's poetry — the Improvisatrice, I mean.

NORTH. Why, I always thought you had been one of her greatest admirers, Odoherty. Was it not you that told me she was so very handsome! — A perfect beauty, I think you said.

ODOHERTY. And I said truly. She is one of the sweetest little girls in the world, and her book is one of the sweetest little books in the world; but Jerdan's extravagant trumpeting has quite sickened every body; and our friend Alaric has been doing rather too much in the same fashion. This sort of stuff plays the devil with any book. Sappho! and Corinna, forsooth! Proper humbug!

NORTH. I confess you are speaking pretty nearly my own sentiments. I ran over the book — and I really could see nothing of the originality, vigor, and so forth, they all chatter about. Very elegant, flowing verses they are — but all made up of Moore and Byron.

ODOHERTY. Nay, nay, when you look over the Improvisatrice again, I am sure you will retract this. You know very well that I am no great believer in female genius; but nevertheless, there is a certain feminine elegance about the voluptuousness of this book, which, to a certain extent, marks it with an individual character of its own.

NORTH. I won't allow you to review this book, my dear Standard-bearer, for I perceive you are half in love with the damsel concerned; and under such circumtances, a cool and dispassionate estimate is what nobody could be expected to give — least of all you, you red-hot monster of Munster.

ODOHERTY. No abuse, my old Bully-Rock!