1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Millhouse

Anonymous, in Review of Millhouse, Song of the Patriot; The Literary Gazette (9 September 1826) 562.



Millhouse is a common weaver at Nottingham; and as the present unpretending publication is submitted to the world for his benefit, (that is, he has not been able, we dare say, to find a purchaser for his copyright), we trust it will procure for him the general patronage of those who love to reward modest merit and encourage obscure talent. We do not mean to say that the author, whose former poem of Vicissitude was noticed with praise in the Literary Gazette, is a village Milton, or either mute or inglorious. But he is a man of good feeling, and of that genuine poetical temperament which has taught him to o'erleap his station in society, and present himself before us as a child of song, — not cultivated in the highest manner, it is true, but alive to the beauties of nature, and expressing himself in a style of considerable sweetness and force. There are faults of composition, — but even these flow rather from a want of knowledge of his niceties of language than from any other deficiency; and the gentle critic will readily pass over and excuse a few double epithets and a few meannesses of composition in a writer of this class, when he recollects that he is very often called upon to exercise the same forbearance towards bards of more exalted name and more fortunate destinies. In short, we consider Robert Millhouse to be distinctly entitled to a share of that favour which was shewn to the effusions of a Bloomfield and a Clare. At sixteen years of age, under every adverse circumstance, he manifested his devotion to poesy; and now, at the age of thirty-six, no unpropitious state of daily toil and anxious provision diverts him from that grateful task which throws over his life the charms of sympathy and imagination.