1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Parnell

John Aikin, in Letters to a Young Lady (1806) 47-48.



PARNELL is a poet who may be put into your hands with a certainty of affording you pleasure; nor is there any need of selection in his works, as far as those contained in Pope's edition, which terminates with The Hermit. These, however, do not constitute a third part of the matter in the modern editions of Parnell's poems. Of these copious appendages Dr. Johnson says, "I know not whence they came, nor have ever inquired whither they are going;" and if, in an express criticism on the author, he thought himself treating them with so much indifference, I may surely take the same liberty, when it is my sole object to point out such pieces as may agreeably impress you with his characteristic excellences. These are, uncommon sweetness and clearness of language, melodious versification, lively elegance of sentiment, and force of description.