1842 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charlotte Smith

Mary Russell Mitford to Elizabeth Barrett, 4 May 1842; L'Estrange, Life of Mary Russell Mitford (1870) 2:248.



Charlotte Smith's works, with all their faults, have yet a love of external nature, and a power of describing it, which I never take a spring walk without feeling. Only yesterday I strolled round the park-like paddock of an old place in our neighborhood — an old neglected ride, overgrown with moss, and grass, and primroses, and wild strawberries — overshadowed by horse-chestnuts, and lilacs, and huge firs, and roses, and sweet-briar, shot up to the height of forest trees. Exquisitely beautiful was that wild, rude walk, terminating in a decayed carthouse, covered with ivy; and, oh! so like some of her descriptions of scenery! My mother knew her when her husband was sheriff of Hampshire; and she lived in a place (about four miles from the little town of Alresford, where I was born) where the scenery and the story of the Old Manor House may still be traced. There was a true feeling of nature about Charlotte Smith.