1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Tennant

Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Review of Tennant, Anster Fair; The Monthly Review 69 (December 1812) 432.



This burlesque performance is written with so much humour, that it would afford uninterrupted amusement if it were shorter: but the author "goes on, and sings of fairs and shows," through six cantos. Notwithstanding, therefore, the ingenuity which he displays, he will find few readers disposed to laugh to the end of his song, and still fewer inclined to tolerate the epithets of his own compounding which occur in almost every stanza, such as "lack-nose-visages;" "Harp-fumbling Theban;" "Ocean-thumping hulks;" "hedge-lined highway;" and "lynx-sharp eye." The expression at page 57., "ice thrice baked beneath the pole," is absolute nonsense: but pages 58. and 59. contain a description of Maggie Lauder, which, though disfigured by hyperbole, is pleasing and poetical; and on the whole, the poem is creditable to the talents of the writer.