1830 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. James Hurdis

Henry Francis Cary, 1830 ca.; Memoir of the Rev. Henry Francis Cary (1847) 2:296.



It was the chief ambition of Hurdis to be like Cowper. In this, as far as simplicity of diction and the natural delineation of common objects are concerned, he has at times succeeded. But like other professed imitators, he often pushes the beauties of his model into the defects on which they border; the ease of Cowper into negligence, his homeliness into vulgarity, and his sensibility into affectation. To the excellence of his versification he has scarcely made any approach; and none whatever to the artfulness of his transitions. He seems not to have known that which his master speaks of so feelingly;

—the pleasure in poetic pains
Which only poets know;

but to have taken without choice whatever first presented itself to his pen. If he may claim anything as his own, it is a certain juvenile luxuriance of fancy, in which he occasionally indulges; and to which Cowper even in earlier life never showed much disposition.