1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Swain

Anonymous, Review of Swain, Metrical Essays; New Monthly Magazine NS 24 (March 1828) 105.



A little volume of very pleasing poetry, clearly bespeaking an elegant and accomplished mind. Not soaring into the loftier regions of imagination, and very far from winging a mean flight, this volume will take its stand among the numerous productions of its class, with credit to the author, and pleasure to his readers. There are several pieces which we would willingly select as specimens of merit, but for want of space. Many of them, too have appeared in the Literary Gazette, Mr. Watts's Souvenir, &c. which would render it superfluous to repeat them. The following Lines to Memory are a specimen of the shorter pieces.

What is memory? 'tis the light
Which hallows life — a ray profound
Upon the brow of mental night;
An echo — time the passing sound;—
A mirror —its bright surface shows
Hope, fear, grief, love, delight, regret:
A generous spring; a beam which glows
Long after sun and star have set;
A leaf — nor storm, nor blight can fade—
An ark in time's bereaving sea—
A perfume from a flower decayed—
A treasure for Eternity!