1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Hogg

S., in Review of Hogg, The Mountain Bard, Scots Magazine 69 (April 1807) 286.



The author of these poems has certainly gratified the readers of poetry, and the admirers of merit, by the publication of this collection. — Notwithstanding unfavourable circumstances, he has produced a number of poems which would do no discredit to genius in the happiest situation. It would be uncandid, in remarking the productions of the "Mountain Bard," to judge of them by a comparison with those of others, or even by the strict rules of poetic compositions. The greater part of the ballads are written in professed imitation of the ancient manner, and in reference to times when literature was a rarer accomplishment than at present. As such, they deserve every degree of praise. The number of beautiful and affecting passages make ample amends for any little blemishes that may be discovered. Mr. Hogg is a poet from nature; he paints from his own feelings, and he is seldom unsuccessful in his sketches. In the tender and pathetic, however, he is, in our opinion, more likely to excel, than in the light and humourous — And we sincerely hope that this publication will introduce him to that notice, and that public encouragement, which merit deserves, but for want of which genius has often been doomed

—to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness in the desart air.