1793 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Andrew Macdonald

William Enfield, Review of Macdonald, Miscellaneous Works; The Monthly Review NS 12 (December 1793) 473.



The author of this volume, as many other men of letters have done, experienced the buffetings of fortune. He was a literary adventurer, and professed talents which seemed to promise him success. He had a brilliant imagination, an original turn of humour, and a considerable store of knowledge and reading; yet, from the want of connections and opportunities, rather than from any fault of his own, he struggled with distress, and died in obscurity, an early martyr to disappointment. — There is some reason to apprehend that his works were doomed to partake of the ill fortune of their author. His tragedy, Vimonda, though at first well received, is now almost forgotten. His other dramatic pieces, The Princess of Tarento, a comedy in two acts; Love and Loyalty, an opera; and the Fair Apostate, a tragedy; though not destitute of merit, have never obtained notice. His miscellaneous pieces, which are for the most part of the humorous and satirical kind, being almost entirely on personal and temporary subjects, (as his Odes to Authors, Monitory Madrigals to Musical Amateurs, and New Probationary Odes for the Laureateship,) notwithstanding the vein of easy humour and lively fancy which pervades them, are passed by, and the persons and occasions on which they were written. There are other pieces, however, on more general topics, which deserve a better fate; among these, we must mention particularly Velina, a poetical fragment, and an ode on the Scotch music.