1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Hood

Anonymous, in "Sketch of the Progress and State of Literature" La Belle Assemblee S3 (Supplement 1827) 294.



Is Mr. Hood a poet? According to our taste and feeling — according to our judgment of the essentials of poetry — we answer, no. Mr. Hood wrote of the whole, or a part, of one or two volumes of Odes and Addresses to Great People; a production which contained some lucky hits, and was very successful. He afterwards wrote a volume of what he very accurately termed Whims and Oddities, which, with the aid of many exceedingly humorous wood-cuts, from designs of his own, was also deservedly successful. All this, however, had little, if any thing, to do with poetry, in the high and genuine sense of the term. Mr. Hood has since produced a volume with more lofty pretensions, under the title of The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies, Hero and Leander, Lycus, the Centaur, and other Poems. We do not mean to say that there is no poetical talent in this production; on the contrary, we are ready to admit that, in many parts, it indicates the possession of genius, a perception of the beautiful, and even a degree of pathos in the writer; but, unfortunately, Mr. Hood's inveterate itch for punning and quibbling, and playing upon words — an incapacity of refraining from the burlesque, when his subject may require him to be serious — almost invariably destroys the effect of what would otherwise be thought excellent.