1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Lamb

Anonymous, in Review of Lamb, Works; Blackwood's Magazine 3 (August 1818) 600.



Mr. Lamb first of all comes before us in these volumes as a Poet. He has reprinted several compositions which formerly appeared along with those of his friends Coleridge and Lloyd, and added a few others of great merit. He is far indeed from being a great Poet, but he is a true one. He has not, perhaps, much imagination; at least he takes but short flights, but they are flights through purest ether. There is a sort of timidity about him that chains his wings. He seems to want ambition. In reading his Poems, we always feel that he might write far loftier things if he would. But in his own sphere he delights us. He is the very best of those Poets who are Poets rather from fineness of perception, delicacy of fancy, and pure warmth of heart, than from the impulses of that higher creative power that works in the world of imagination. We know that no man is more beloved by his friends than Charles Lamb; and it is impossible to read a page of his poetry without feeling that he deserves all their love.