1797 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. William Perfect

James Bannister, in Review of Perfect, Poetic Effusions; The Monthly Review NS 24 (October 1797) 206.



The author professes in his preface that he is a follower of Theocritus and Virgil: but we conceive that he is more indebted to Shenstone, whose versification he endeavours to imitate. When he speaks of copying Nature from her living book, he did not perhaps consider that this book of Nature, though open to all, is perused with attention and effect by few; and that those few are distinguished by boldness and elevation of thought, and by strength and energy of expression.

The numbers of Shenstone, though in a long work they may tire by their languor and monotony, are smooth and harmonious; and all his poems are characterised by a peculiar simplicity both of language and sentiment, which none of his imitators have attained. His faults are easily copied.