1797 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Tobias Smollett

William Godwin, "Of English Style" The Enquirer (1797) 467.



He has published more volumes, upon more subjects, than perhaps any other author of modern date; and, in all, he has left marks of his genius. The greater part of his novels are peculiarly excellent. He is nevertheless a hasty writer; when he affects us most, we are aware that he might have done more. In all his works of invention, we find the stamp of a mighty mind. In his lightest sketches, there is nothing frivolous, trifling, and effeminate. In his most glowing portraits, we acknowledge a mind at ease, rather essaying its powers, than tasking them. We applaud his works; but it is with a profounder sentiment that we meditate his capacity.