1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Sotheby

Anonymous, in Review of Sotheby Poems; The Literary Gazette (11 June 1825) 365.



Mr. Sotheby is a man of very extensive and graceful knowledge; a man of travel, and one who has mixed with accomplished society; familiar with classical learning; with Germany and Italy, and with the literature of both. His translation of Oberon was the first introduction of Wieland to the English reader, and is a very striking, rich, and poetic piece of versification. It is out of print, and fully deserves to be reprinted, with illustrative designs. His translation of the Georgics of Virgil is a specimen of ability of a different order; at once accurate, forcible, and harmonious — less irregular and careless than Dryden's, and less frigid and formal than Pitt's.

His present work is a collection of Poems chiefly on the subjects of his Italian travels, and comprehending the most remarkable features of Italy. We have in succession, Rome, Tivoli, Terni, the Emissario of Albane, Venice, Florence, the Pontine Marshes, the Lake of Como, Vallombrosa, Paestum, Naples, with many briefer poems on characteristic spots, Virgil's Tomb, the Egerian Grotto, &c. Those are followed by some striking fragments of a once intended Poem on the great Phenomena of Nature, the Sun, Light, Fire, the Air, Earth, Ocean, &c. The work closes with some miscellaneous and occasional poetry: the whole forming a highly interesting volume, and much the best tribute to our national poetry that has been produced within the year.