1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Wordsworth

William Hazlitt, in Select British Poets (1824); Works, ed. Howe (1932) 9:243.



Mr. WORDSWORTH'S characteristic is one, and may be expressed in one word; — a power of raising the smallest things in nature into sublimity by the force of sentiment. He attaches the deepest and loftiest feelings to the meanest and most superficial objects. His peculiarity is his combination of simplicity of subject with profundity and power of execution. He has no fancy, no wit, no humour, little descriptive power, no dramatic power, great occasional elegance, with continual rusticity and boldness of allusion; but he is sublime without the Muse's aid, pathetic in the contemplation of his own and man's nature; add to this, that his style is natural and severe, and his versification sonorous and expressive.