1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Keble

Edward Smedley to H. Hawkins, 17 November 1828; Poems of the late Rev. Edward Smedley (1837) 319.



L. M. H. talks of Keeble and Pollok, — the first to my mind is the most copious and overflowing poet of our times. Like Barrow in prose, he never seems exhausted, long after his readers are so, for I confess myself to be frequently oppressed even when I admire him most, and that perhaps I should be more pleased if he had stopped half way, and not run me out of breath. Now and then I am unable to follow him, but in the next stanza he atones for this obscurity, (the fault, after all, may be in myself,) by some most delicate and exquisitely simple touch. Of Pollok I know less, for I have but glanced at him. I was arrested by some noble passages which slid off into downright burlesque, and one's courage fails before the long vista of blank verse presented by a goodly octavo. How many of us are there who, if they would honestly answer, must admit they have never read through the Paradise Lost; but perhaps these are the very best readers of contemporary poetry.