1800 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Jane West

Robert Anderson to Thomas Percy, 14 September 1800; Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the XVIII Century (1817-1858) 7:88-89.



I owe your Lordship my particular thanks for Mrs. West's poems, with the perusal of which I have been, upon the whole, much delighted. They do credit to the genius, taste, piety, and benevolence of the amiable and elegant writer. They do not, in general, possess the spirit and elevation of the higher poetry; but they abound in tender, interesting, and moral sentiments, elegantly expressed in easy numbers, and adorned with pleasing imagery. In some instances, as in the Ode on Poetry, she soars far above mediocrity, and approaches to sublimity. I am interested in Mrs. West as a wife, a mother, and a friend. She is little known here; but the domestic sketches your Lordship has sent me have been eagerly circulated among my friends, and I have frequently had the pleasure to introduce her ingenious, chaste, and elegant volumes into the collections of persons of taste and virtue. Her novels are more generally read and admired.