1903 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Motherwell

George Eyre-Todd, in The Glasgow Poets (1903) 233.



Among the poets who have drawn inspiration directly from the old romantic narrative ballads of Scotland, William Motherwell must rank close after Sir Walter Scott and the Ettrick Shepherd. His poetry, with that of Allan Cunningham, remains the latest and most luscious fruit of the great romantic movement begun half a century earlier by John Home's tragedy, Douglas, itself founded on the ballad of Gil Morice. Motherwell's own collection of the ancient ballads stands among the best, and with the comprehensive essay on the subject by which it is prefaced may be set beside the Border Minstrelsy of Scott himself.