1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Amelia Opie

Anonymous, in Review of Opie, Warrior's Return; Gentleman's Magazine 78 (July 1808) 612.



There is a description of Poets and Poetesses who become such through strong retentive powers of memory; those persons, extremely fond of the productions of our best writers, read them till they are enabled to repeat whole poems, and quote correctly the most beautiful passages from twenty different authors; they then proceed to write sonnets, elegies, and speak impromptus, which they publish, and the Publick immediately discover that every thought and every image may be appropriated, without the least difficulty, to the original owners from whom they were borrowed, almost unconsciously, by the unfortunate retailer, doomed to sink with his or her books into oblivion. This fact, undoubted and incontrovertible, induces the real friend of the Muse to exult when he meets with originality and polished metre, animated by the genuine fire of the Poet; such is the case in the present instance. Mrs. Opie, possessed of a mind disdaining imitation, and conscious of its own resources, has presented the Community with the means of passing a leisure hour innocently and delightfully.