1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Blacklock

Joseph Robertson, in Lives of the Scottish Poets (1822) 4:49-50.



Nor is it to be concealed, that his melancholy is to be traced as much to offended vanity, as to a genuine sense of neglected merit. For, however he may have, in one case, disclaimed all pretensions to the character of "a prodigy," it is clear enough, from what he says elsewhere of the fact, "no less certain than extraordinary," of a man on whose mind visible objects were never impressed, rivalling Homer, Milton and Ossian, in "energy and transport of description," that he fully thought himself one. Now, with due deference to his panegyrists, there is nothing in the productions of Dr. Blacklock which can at all entitle him to be looked upon in this light. His poetry is by no means of the first order; neither does it partake so much of the enthusiasm inspired by visual perceptions, as the partiality of his friends had led him to believe. Curiosity, to see what a blind man could do, attracted attention to his poems when published; but if we except the beautiful song of the Braes of Ballenden, none of them have kept their hold of popular recollection.