1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Lloyd

Anonymous, in Review of Lloyd, Desultory Thoughts in London; The Literary Gazette (30 December 1820) 835.



This author belongs to the class of modern writers, who take liberties with English versification, which are, in our opinion, utterly subversive of all the beauties of poetry. Alike in rhythm and in rhyme, they seem to seek rather than to avoid occasions, wherein to show their disregard of all the rules heretofore considered essential to the constitution of verse. But if Mr. Lloyd comes before us as a poet in this objectionable shape, he does not so offend by licentiousness of ideas, immorality of sentiments, or depravity of soul as a man, as to render himself obnoxious to that severity of criticism which virtue, justice, and honour, must ever award against some of the productions of the school of which he is a member. His errors are rather those of style than of heart; rather of bad taste than of a corrupt mind. We may tire of his metaphysical refinements; but they are innoxious in principle and effect. In short, we look upon him to be a well-meaning enthusiast — devoted to the highest imaginative delights, and possessed of far more inclination than power to grasp and enjoy them. Should this opinion, gathered from his writings, be correct, he is too amiable an individual to provoke angry remark; and we shall best consult our public duty, by confining ourselves to a few extracts from the volume now published.