1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bryan Waller Procter

Anna Brownell Jameson, "Heroines of Modern Poetry" Loves of the Poets (1829; 1857) 506-07.



Barry Cornwall is another living poet who has drunk deep from the classics and from our elder writers; but with a finer taste and a better feeling, he has borrowed only what was decorative, graceful and accessory: the pure stream of his sentiment flows unmingled and untainted,—

Yet musical as when the waters run,
Lapsing through sylvan haunts deliciously.

It is not without reason that Barry Cornwall has been styled the "Poet of Woman," par excellence. It enhances the value, it adds to the charm of every tender and beautiful passage addressed to us, that we know them to be sincere and heartfelt,

Not fable bred,
But such as truest poets love to write.

It is for the sake of one, beloved "beyond ambition and the light of song," — and worthy to be so loved, that he approaches all women with the most graceful, delicate, and reverential homage ever expressed in sweet poetry. His fancy is indeed so luxuriant, that he makes whatever he touches appear fanciful: but the beauty adorned by his verse, and adorning his home, is not imaginary; and though he has almost hidden his divinity behind a cloud of incense, she is not therefore less real.