1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Neele

Anonymous, in Review of Neele, Odes and other Poems; New Monthly Magazine NS 3 (February 1821) 78.



This is a pretty volume of various verse. The subjects are not chosen with much view to novelty; and we accordingly have Addresses to the Harp, the Moon, Fancy, Enthusiasm, &c. — all regular schoolboy themes, and long since exhausted, if not exploded. But Mr. Neele is a poet. He has the talent of conceiving, and there is no assignable limit to the progress of a mind possessing that talent. He has shewn taste, too, in avoiding the sickly puerilities of the day. He is not of the Namby-pamby school, and "Dear me's;" and pretty parentheses, and baby interjections. He has vividness and vigour. He tells, without affectation, what he feels naturally. But we dislike his Lyrics, and all Lyrics. They are seldom more than the Sonnet excruciated into length; and neither sonnet nor lyric suits the genius of our language. Mr. Neele's blank verse is most pleasing; and "Cromwell" is a clever sketch. But measure is essential to poetry; and what can the ear do with stragglers like these?—

Has long been all that holds the perishing fragments,
Who wander'd towards his solitude, found him stretch'd.