1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Meyler

Anonymous, Review of Meyler, Poetical Amusement on the Journey of Life; Anti-Jacobin Review 23 (January 1806) 102-03.



The author appears to have emptied the whole contents of his poetical common place book into this volume, which contains as motley a collection of rhymes, as we remember ever to have met with. Variety as well of subjects as of metre abounds, and there is something to please every palate that is not very fastidious in the choice or flavour of its food. In truth we cannot compliment Mr. Meyler on his poetical talents; though, from some few lines scattered o'er his work, like a stray flower on a barren heath, we have been induced to believe him not destitute of genius. In his tributary poem to the authors of the Spiritual Quixote, and of the New Bath Guide, which we consider as one of the best of his productions, amidst a number of indifferent lines, we find the following.

Above all pomp of grief, or blazing pyres,
Give me the sigh that gratitude inspires:
The bosom-tomb which honest rustics raise,
Shames the proud urn and monumental phrase; (praise)
Transcends the marble's boast, and chissel's art,
Sinking th' inscription deeply on the heart.

These are certainly good lines; and bespeak ability in the writer of them. But, in this poem (which, by the bye, like many others in the collection, is highly creditable to his heart) he jumps from one kind of measure to another, in the most extraordinary manner, and by that means gives a ludicrous air to a serious subject. He is, moreover, the most careless and slovenly of bards.

In p. 91 of this volume is an epigrammatic poem, entitled, "The Fair Equivoque," which appeared in our Review for January, 1805. It was given to us as the production of a clergyman in the vicinity of London. If it be really the offspring of Mr. Meyler's muse, we can only say that it bears not the smallest likeness to the rest of the family. It is beyond comparison the best piece in the volume.