1792 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Mason

John Bennet, in "Letters to a young Lady" American Museum [Philadelphia] 11 (January 1792) 10.



Mason's poems have great merit, and have acquired him a considerable celebrity. His Caractacus, his Elfrida, and his English garden have all been admired. Nothing, however, from his pen, has pleased me more, than the epitaph upon his lady. His talents seem to be particularly formed for the pensive and pathetic. But poetry, after all, is but an embellishment, and, in the character of a divine, a very secondary distinction. How much more important and useful to mankind, are the labours of that pastor, who, by one judicious, impassioned, and well-directed discourse, appals the sinner, encourages the saint, revives the drooping, guides the perplexed, or condescends to cheer the bed of sickness with divine consolations! This remark, however, is not particularly intended to depreciate the ingenious author of Caractacus. He is said to excel likewise, as a preacher.