1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Aaron Hill

Robert Southey, in Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807) 2:141-42.



Aaron Hill deserves to ben mentioned with respect for his talents and his virtues. He holds the first place for liberality and beneficence among the literary men of his country. His Poems are all faulty, and yet all bear the marks of talents. That upon Bellaria at her spinet will remind the reader of Darwin. His character of Pope in The Progress of Wit, is particularly just, elegant, and severe, and was occasioned by the following four lines in the Dunciad.

Then Hill essay'd; scarce vanish'd out of sight,
He bouys up instant, and returns to light;
He bears no token of the sabler streams,
And mounts far off among the swans of Thames.

Hill did not like the mixture of ill-nature and compliment, and replied thus:

Tuneful Alexis on the Thames' fair side,
The Ladies' play-thing, and the Muses' pride;
With merit popular, with wit polite,
Easy though vain, and elegant though light,
Desiring and deserving other's praise
Poorly accepts a fame he ne'er repays;
Unborn to cherish, sneakingly approves,
And wants the soul to spread the worth he loves.