1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alaric Alexander Watts

Anonymous, in "Literary Souvenir, etc." Quarterly Review 37 (1828) 88-89.



Mr. Ackermann's book, the Forget Me Not, deserves the praise of having led the way in this new path. A gentleman, bearing the name of Alaric Attila Watts, and, notwithstanding his name, the author of some minor poems which really have nothing either Gothic, or Hunnish, or Methodistical about them, has the higher merit of having "refined it first, and taught its use" in the Literary Souvenir.... Mr. Watts unquestionably gave a new turn to the affair. He it was who introduced the fashion of embellishing these little books with really fine engravings from really fine pictures: he is justified, accordingly, in claiming the honour of having "been of considerable service in promoting a taste for the the fine arts in every part of the kingdom." With the exception of the Keepsake, which is double the price of the Souvenir, his embellishments have not been surpassed; and, although the terms in which he speaks of the literary part of his publication, in his prefaces, are sufficiently self-complacent, he has not, perhaps, been beaten, taking things in the mass, in that department either. Some of his rivals have, undoubtedly, printed a few detached poems better than any he has been able to produce; but, on the average, his sheets need not fear any such comparison.