1833 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Croly

Allan Cunningham, in "Biographical and Critical History of the Literature of the last Fifty Years" The Athenaeum (30 November 1833) 812.



Salathiel, by the Rev. GEORGE CROLY, is a magnificent fiction: it is the tale of the Wandering Jew; and as its hero is doomed to long life and much variety of fortune, he has seen a vast deal; and his story is of the destinies of nations as well as of his own feelings, experiences, and sorrows. There are many natural scenes, and passages tender and eloquent, but somewhat cold and stately; it abounds in descriptions on which all the splendours of fancy and language are lavished. The fault of the work is, there can be no sympathy with the adventures of one who suffers to fulfil a curse, and whose life, stretched on the rack of evil fortune, endures for centuries. We feel with Salathiel for eighty years and odd; and at the close of the usual term of human life, shut our hearts, and commence wondering. The author, in his poem of "May Fair," was more at home; it contains passages which, for condensed vigour of thought and language, and sharp severity of rebuke, are not to be paralleled in the "Legion Club" of Swift.