1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Hood

Q., in Review of Hood, Whims and Oddities, The Examiner (2 December 1827) 753.



There is a sort of topsy quizzicality which sets criticism at defiance, or what is much the same thing, renders anything like an assumption of its usual gravity, ridiculous. Such is the nature of the contents of the small volume before us, which like its predecessor under the same title is signalized by the unshackled luxuriance of its pun, and ludicrous collision of similar sounds and opposing associations. Whether the extreme licence hence exhibited is always favourable to the piquancy and genuine humour of Mr. Hood's very peculiar drollery, may be fairly disputed. Our own opinion is, that he would appear to more advantage if he regulated his whimsicality with somewhat more attention to contrast, arrangement, and precision. It may appear almost a contradiction in terms to say so, but we know of nothing which derives more advantage, from a moderate degree of restraint, than broad mirth; a fact, the ignorance of which has spoiled many a convivial party, and detracted from the effect of many a book, not even excepting those produced by Francis Rabelais.