1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Broome

Robert Anderson, in Works of the British Poets (1795) 8:724-25.



As a poet, his compositions are characterised by correctness of judgment, elegance of diction, and harmony of numbers, rather than by force of genius, or grace of fancy; neither of which, however, are wanting. To examine his performances one by one, would be tedious. One of his pieces is intituled, Melancholy; an Ode, occasioned by the Death of a beloved Daughter, 1723; but it is not quite certain that it was written on a daughter of his own. His Verses on the Death of a Friend, which were printed in 1727, were afterwards very happily enlarged, and applied to Fenton, who died in 1730. His Verses to Mrs. Elizabeth Townsend, on her Picture at Rainham, are elegant and poetical in a high degree. Of his Paraphrases from Scripture, nothing very favourable can be said; yet the third chapter of Habakkuk, and the Paraphrases from Job and Ecclesiasticus, have merit; the language not being deficient either in strength or melody. His translations are smooth, classical, and spirited; and most of his original pieces have something to be praised, either in the thought or the expression. Dr. Warton thinks the books he translated for Pope, in the Odyssey, are inferior to Fenton's; but it is no small honour to him, that the readers of poetry have never been able to distinguish his books from those of Fenton and Pope.