1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Merry

Anonymous, in Gentleman's Magazine 69 (March 1799) 253.



Mr. Merry was an accomplished man, and certainly possessed a degree of poetical genius that might have given permanence to his works, if his Muse had not been seduced by the tinsel of affectation. He may be considered as one of the victims of the French Revolution; for his mind was deeply tainted by the principles upon which that detestable event was founded; and he was induced to consider friendship and reputation as a slight sacrifice at the altar of Jacobinism. Before the lamentable disorders of France, he was highly esteemed by numerous and respectable friends, who admired him for his knowledge, humour, and companionable qualities; but the change in his political opinions gave a sullen gloom to his character, which made him relinquish all his former connexions, and unite with people far beneath his talents, and quite unsociable to his habits. He once possessed a good fortune, which was devoted to a fashionable style of living; and, by family interest, as well as by his talents, he might have raised himself in the army, which he quitted early in life.