1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Cottle

John Aikin, Review of Cottle, Poems; The Monthly Review NS 20 (August 1796) 470.



Though not marked by genius, nor by highly cultivated taste, these poems display the talent of easy and not unpleasing versification, and are animated with the sentiments of a virtuous and feeling mind. The first, which appears to us the most finished, is an eloquent religious discourse. The second is an heroic tale in the ballad form, in a strain not inferior (which indeed is saying little) to the usual run of these compositions. The fragment on war abounds in humane and liberal sentiments, and includes a little story in which the pathetic is attempted with some success. The monody on Henderson (the once famed disputant, mystic, and general scholar of Oxford) is a warm tribute of love and applause, from an admiring pupil, enforced by the prose sketch of his character. We have seen, however, much more accurate and distinct portraits of this extraordinary man.