1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Dale

Anonymous, in "Dale's Poems" Blackwood's Magazine 8 (November 1820) 185.



We have seldom met with any productions calculated to give a more engaging idea of their author's character, than the Widow of Nain, and the Outlaw of Taurus; — two poems which have lately been published by Mr. Dale, of Bene't College, Cambridge. The notions usually connected with the name of academical poetry, are such, that it is no wonder we threw these little volumes aside at first, without bestowing on them more than a very hasty glance. But if any of our readers have, from similar prejudices, been induced to treat Mr. Dale with similar disrespect, we beg leave to assure them that the loss is their own. His poetry is in truth the very reverse of what is usually produced in colleges: His style, indeed, bears all the marks of that easy unlaboured elegance, which can only be acquired after very long and intimate acquaintance with the models of classical antiquity; but it is totally free from all the coldnesses of pedantic imitation; and the spirit that animates its numbers, is no other than that of keen human feeling, exalted and adorned by the impressions of a piety as tender as it is deep. — We regard what the author has published as chiefly valuable on account of the promise it unfolds; but, even if he were never to publish another line, he has already done enough to secure his name the admiration of affectionate remembrance, among all that are worthy of reading poetry.