1835 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Campbell

Washington Irving, in "Abbotsford" 1835; Russell, Book of Authors (1860) 411.



The conversation here turned upon Campbell's poem of Gertrude of Wyoming, as illustrative of the poetic materials furnished by American scenery. Scott cited several passages of it with great delight. "What a pity it is," said he, "that Campbell does not write more, and oftener, and give full seep to his genius! He has wings that would bear him to the skies; and he does, now and then, spread them grandly, but folds them up again and resumes his perch, as if he was afraid to launch away. What a grand idea is that," said he, "about prophetic boding, or in common parlance, second sight — "Coming events cast their shadows before." "The fact is," added he, "Campbell is in a manner a bugbear to himself. The brightness of his early success is a detriment to all his further efforts. He is afraid of the shadow that his own fame casts before him."