1777 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Chatterton

John Langhorne, in Review of Poems, supposed to have been written ... by Thomas Rowley; The Monthly Review 56 (April 1777) 256.



On first opening these Poems, the smooth style of the harmony, the easy march of the verse, the regular station of the caesura, the structure of the phrase, and the cast and complexion of the thoughts, made us presently conclude that they were "Mock Ruins." — If such they are, their merit is of no high estimation, it being as easy for a person accustomed to versification, and acquainted with obsolete terms, to fabricate an old poem as to write a new one: but if, on the contrary, they are really productions of the fifteenth century, they are the most extraordinary literary curiosities that this or any recent period has produced: for they would shew us that the graces of numbers, and the refinements of poetical melody, are of no modern date, but belonged to one of the first adventurers in English poesy.