1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Howitt

John Wilson, et. al., in Blackwood's Magazine (November 1828); Noctes Ambrosianae, ed. Mackenzie (1854) 3:171.



SHEPHERD. Wha are thae three brothers and sisters, the Howitts, sir, whose names I see in the adverteesments?

NORTH. I do not know, James. It runs in my head that they are Quakers. Richard and William — they will not be angry if I mistake their names — seem amiable and ingenious men — and sister Mary writes beautifully—

SHEPHERD. What do you mean by beautifully? That vague.

NORTH. Her language is chaste and simple — her feelings tender and pure — and her observation of nature accurate and intense. Her Studies from Natural History in the Christmas Bos — the Squirrel, Dormouse, and King Fisher, have much of the moral — say rather the religious spirit that permeates all Wordsworth's smallest poems, however seemingly light and slight the subject — and show that Mary Howitt is not only well read in the book of Bewick, but in the book from which Bewick has borrowed all — glorious plagiarist — and every other inspired Zoologist—

SHEPHERD. The Book o' Natur—

NORTH. The same, James; and few — none have read that volume to greater purpose than yourself. You have not seen the Christmas Box?

SHEPHERD. Me? I see naething.

NORTH. This year it is edited by one of the most agreeable and ingenious gentlemen in all England, James — Mr. Crofton Croker.