1831 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Thomson

John Wilson, in "An Hour's Talk about Poetry" 1831; Recreations of Christopher North (1852) 88.



Poetry, which though not dead, had long been sleeping in Scotland, was restored to waking life by Thomson. His genius was national; and so, too, was the subject of his first and greatest song. By saying that his genius was national, we mean that its temperament was enthusiastic and passionate, and that, though highly imaginative, the sources of its power lay in the heart. The Castle of Indolence is distinguished by purer taste and finer fancy; but with all its exquisite beauties, that poem is but the vision of a dream. The Seasons are glorious realities; and the charm of the strain that sings the "rolling year" is its truth.