1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Tobias Smollett

John Aikin, in Letters to a Young Lady (1806) 207.



His Tears of Scotland, and Ode to Leven Water, are pieces of great sentimental and descriptive beauty; but his Ode to Independence rises to the first rank of compositions of that class. It opens with great spirit, and much fancy is displayed in the parentage and education of the personified subject of the piece. The travels of Independence form a series of animated historical sketches; but it would have been more correct to have included Albion in the track of his peregrinations, than to have made it his birth-place. The concluding stanza, in which the poet lays aside fiction, and draws a sober picture of life and character, gives a fine moral termination to the whole.