1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mrs. Cornwell Baron Wilson

Anonymous, in Review of Wilson, Hours at Home; Gentleman's Magazine 96 (June 1826) 534.



For those who can value virtuous emotions, and gentle feelings arrayed in harmonious verse — for those who can estimate the quiet blessings of home — its tranquil pleasures and its cheerful hearth — celebrated in no inglorious strains, this little volume will have great attractions. It is the offspring of a reflecting, cultivated, and somewhat pensive mind, seeking to unburthen an affectionate heart in the language of nature and of song; exposing perhaps a little too much its sacred and more private thoughts, and celebrating perhaps too minutely its own domestic joys and sorrows. It is easy to perceive that if this lady belongs to a school in poetry, it is to that of which Mr. Alaric Watts is a master; and in which Barton, amongst others, is a true disciple. To them belongs no dabbling with mighty mysteries, to them is given no appalling revelations of the depths and the darkness of human passions, and the fearful secrets of the human heart. Tenderness, delicacy, and truth, are their characteristics, and the charities of life are the themes of their pure and virtuous song. Hence there is a want of variety as well as of powerful excitement in their poetry, ill-suited to that taste which the Muse of the Byronian school has tended so successfully to establish.

The ambition of Mrs. Wilson seems to be that of a domestic poet; and we congratulate her on having brought to her work the essentials which can alone redeem her themes from insipidity — a felicitous arrangement of her thoughts, and a chaste and elegant expression of them.