1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Cornelius Webbe

Anonymous, Review of Webbe, Summer; The Monthly Magazine 52 (September 1821) 162.



We cannot speak, without feelings of a mingled nature, of Mr. C. WEBB'S little volume, entitled Summer, and other Poems. We can praise, with great sincerity, the poetical fancy and the love of nature which pervade all his compositions; and there is a tenderness and delicacy of thought in some of his smaller poems, which render them very pleasing. On the other hand, we have to complain of a want of correctness and good taste; and of an affected quaintness of style and phraseology, which, although it may for a while excite attention, cannot fail to be tiresome and repulsive in the end. For this reason, his shorter poems are those which we like best. On the whole, while we allow that Mr. W.'s performances are not of such a nature as to excite any high hopes of his future eminence, we are very sure that he by no means deserves the contemptuous treatment which he has received from some northern critics, who are apt to estimate literary labour, by any thing but its intrinsic merit.