1803 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Jackson Pratt

Anonymous, in "Mr. Pratt" Monthly Mirror 16 (July 1803) 9.



To sum up the poetic character of Mr. Pratt: — He is always animated, always good humoured, except when his indignation is raised against cruelty and oppression, and then he lashes the culprits with a happy mixture of irony and satire, peculiarly his own. In the fervour of composition, he sometimes gives up the reins to imagination, and bounds along without the control which frigid writers impose on themselves, and therefore escape errors, if they reach not excellencies; but private satire never disgraced his pen; the individual is always safe, though the general class to which he belongs, as in his admirable poem of The Poor, may feel the weight of his indignant Muse. In a word, — in poetry, as well as prose, he is always interesting and impressive, and the sentiment fixes on the heart of the reader before the judgment can balance the terms in which it is conveyed.