1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Herbert Barton, in Mirror of Poesy (1826) 168.



The best poems of Burns possess a vigor of imagination, a warmth of feeling, a happy simplicity and force of expression that render them irresistibly engaging. It is difficult to determine whether he excels most in the sublime, the tender, or the humourous. In fact, in all these modes he drew his ideas immediately from nature, and animated them with the fire of genius. The Cotter's Saturday Night is a noble and pathetic picture of human manners, mingled with a fine religious awe. It comes over the mind like a slow and solemn strain of music. The soul of the poet aspires from this scene of low-thoughted care, and reposes, in trembling hope, on "the bosom of its Father and its God."