1889 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Samuel Croxall

Edmund Gosse, in History of Eighteenth-Century Literature (1889) 138-39.



Dr. Samuel Croxall (1680?-1752) published anonymously in 1720 The Fair Circassian, a paraphrase of the Canticles. He had previously issued two cantos in imitation of the Faery Queen. Croxall was blamed for the voluptuous warmth of his verses, which was indeed something extraordinary from the pen of an embryo canon residentiary. He translated Aesop in 1722. He described his poetical ambition rather too arrogantly, when he said that his aim was 'to set off the dry and insipid stuff' of the age by publishing "a whole piece of rich glowing scarlet." Two stanzas from his utterly neglected poetry will show how little Croxall shared the manner of his contemporaries:

Unlock the trees of your burnish'd hair,
Loose let your ringlets o'er your shoulders spread;
Thus mix'd, we view them more distinctly fair,
Like trails of golden wire on ivory laid;
So Phoebus o'er the yielding ether streams,
And streaks the silver clouds with brighter beams.

What rosy odours your soft bosom yields,
Heaving and falling gently as you breathe!
Like hills that rise amidst fair fertile fields,
With round smooth tops and flowery vales beneath;
So swell the candid Alps with fleecy snow,
While myrtles bud, and violets bloom below.