1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Samuel Hoole

Anna Seward to Helen Maria Williams, 25 December 1787; Letters, ed. Scott (1811) 1:396-97.



Ere I quit the subject of new-risen genius in our art, let me speak to you of the most amiable poem I have read this many a day. I should like much to converse with the youthful author. It is the junior Mr. Hoole's poem, The Curate, that I mean. His description of the ceremony of ordination is charming. The subject is new, in verse, and well becomes the chaste poetic colouring he has thrown upon it. My heart went with his Edward, on his journey home. I saw the top of Snowdon in imagination, with a glow of sympathetic pleasure from the soft domestic source. Soon was this pleasure extinguished in commiserating tears.

Nothing can be more sweet and pathetic than the egotism in the opening of this poem.

But the landscape of his parsonage in the country; how one longs to go and dine with him! From want of time, I must repress the inclination I feel to point out the numerous passages in this poem which have delighted me, while with every part I was at least pleased and satisfied. This work is the mild green of poetic writing on which the eye is gratified to dwell, without being dazzled.

With the father of this young bard, the ingenious translator of Ariosto, I had once the pleasure of passing an evening in your house.

The genius of such a youth must give to such a father no common degree of delight,

When to the sun, exulting, he unfolds
His plumes, that with paternal colours glow.

The happiness which results to me from reflecting upon these white specks in the destiny of others, is amongst the dearest of my pleasures. It makes the blessings of my acquaintance my own. Time, as yet, has nothing weakened its force.