1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elijah Fenton

Robert Anderson, in Works of the British Poets (1795) 7:648.



His Poems and Translations have been frequently printed. They are characterized by elegance of diction, elevation of sentiment, opulence of imagery, and harmony of numbers. To examine his performances one by one would be tedious. His Ode to Lord Gower is written in the true spirit of lyric poetry. It has been praised by Pope, at least as much as it deserves. It has more of the ease and elegance of Horace, than the fire and enthusiasm of Dryden. The Ode to the Sun is very little inferior to it. His Epistles to Southern and Lambard are entitled to great praise. English poetry has perhaps never exceeded the smoothness and delicacy of his Kisses, translated from Secundus. The lines flow with an irresistible inchantment. In his Tale, devised in the manner of Chaucer, the humour and obsolete language of the father of English poetry, is happily imitated. The Fair Nun imitated from Propertius, Ovid, and Marullus, are commonly spirited and elegant. The Epistle to Phaon, is inferior to Pope's in elegance and faithfulness. He has added another of his own invention of Phaon to Sappho, in which they story of the transformation of the former from an old mariner to a beautiful youth, is well told.