1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Francis Hodgson, in Childe Harold's Monitor (1818) 18.



Southey, with plainness levelled down to prose,
And intermingled swearing, dully flows;
Still low in tone, though oft in thought divine,
Assumes the man, but yet retains the swine—
Perverted slave, 'mid Circe's conquered rout,
His heart Ulysses, but his mouth a snout!
—Say ye, who e'er have glanced at Roderic's page,
Found ye the gems that decked a fairer age?
The figured wealth of Gray's immortal lines,
The glow of Collins caught from Attic shrines;
The mingled beams from Milton's orb that dart,
Fire the raised eye, and melt the applauding heart?
—Nor here can Prejudice, with poisonous gall,
Mar the sweet truth — these all were scholars, all!
Flew o'er Hymettian flowers with pinion free,
And sought the thyme that fed the Matine bee.