1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

George Daniel, in The Modern Dunciad (1814; 1815) 55-56 &n.



To SOUTHEY, well-combin'd, at once belong
Truth, grandeur, force, variety of song;
All that exalted genius can inspire,
A poet's rashness, with a poet's fire.
But still his faults (this candour must allow
Spite of the courtly laurel on his brow)
Would mar the force of many a modern rhyme,
And quite obscure a genius less sublime.
Whene'er I read (nor think me too severe)
Aught childish in his works that grates my ear,
I turn to "MADOC'S" grand, sublimer lays,
And hate the line that speaks in his dispraise.

Mr. Southey has written much unmeaning bombast, not to say downright absurdity, since his appointment to the Laureateship: who can read with patience his congratulatory Odes, beginning with "Conqueror, deliverer, friend of human-kind;" "Frederick the well-belov'd," and "Prince of the mighty Isle." — Virgil's fame rests upon one Epic Poem; Mr. Southey has already written three times that number; yet after all, I fear Virgil will be reckoned the greater poet.