1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Herman Merivale

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 343.



Merivale (1779-1844) was a native of Exeter, England. Educated at Cambridge, he studied law, was a successful barrister, and in 1826 was appointed a Commissioner in Bankruptcy. The first edition of his Orlando in Roncesvalles, a poem in five cantos, appeared in 1814. His Poems, Original and Translated, were published by Pickering in three volumes, 1838. Some of his versions from the Greek, Latin, Italian, and German are faithful and spirited; and his short original poems, though quite unequal in merit, show no ordinary degree of literary attainment. For some of these, he frankly tells us, he is little entitled to assume the merit of entire originality; he is "fully sensible of this deficiency, or of what may be called a propensity to follow in the track of such preceding authors as were from time to time objects of his admiration." He was the father of the Rev. Charles Merivale (born 1808), author of a History of the Romans under the Empire (1862).