1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Anonymous, Review of Shelley, Alastor; The Monthly Review NS 79 (April 1816) 433.



We must candidly own that these poems are beyond our comprehension; and we did not obtain a clue to their sublime obscurity, till an address to Mr. Wordsworth explained in what school the author had formed his taste. We perceive, through the "darkness visible" in which Mr. Shelley veils his subject, some beautiful imagery and poetical expressions: but he appears to be a poet "whose eye, in a fine frenzy rolling;" seeks only such objects as are "above this visible diurnal sphere;" and therefore we entreat him, for the sake of his reviewers as well as of his other readers, (if he has any,) to subjoin to his next publication an "ordo," a glossary, and copious notes, illustrative of his allusions and explanatory of his meaning.