1793 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Nathan Drake

Thomas Holcroft, in Review of Drake, Poems; The Monthly Review NS 12 (October 1793) 164.



The author writes sometimes with labour, and sometimes with negligence. His thoughts are abrupt, and his sentiments are disjointed. His thoughts are abrupt, and his sentiments are disjointed. His elisions are frequently at war with sense and grammar; and his verses are sometimes in want of a commentary: not to explain the manners of a remote period, or facts not generally known, but to give fullness and body to the ideas which he wanted the strength or the patience to develope. — We do not deliver these disagreeable truths with any view to dispirit the author; much less is it our intention or our wish to injure him. On the contrary, from the specimens which he has given, we would excite him to more accurate and deep investigation. He frequently catches the phrase and garb of poetry, but seldom its soul. His repetitions of the same word, and his interjections, of Ah, and Oh, are frequent and reprehensible. Nor can we too forcibly repeat that, while the poet is solicitous to preserve his dignity, he must no less carefully adhere to the idiom of the language in which he writes; all violent departures from which are licentious and disgusting.