1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Thomson

Anonymous, Review of Thomson, Sonnets, Odes, and Elegies, The Monthly Review NS 39 (November 1802) 320.



This prolific author may be justly allowed to possess a talent for versification. The productions of his muse are numerous, and his lines are generally smooth and easy. Often, indeed, by a slight transposition, they would relapse into prose; while on the contrary true poetry will always retain its native force and beauty, even when the charms of measure are withdrawn. — We do not wish to insinuate that there is no poetry in this volume: but, if we freely speak our opinion, we esteem the sentiments more than the poetry. Some expressions occur, which require to be revised, although we shall not trouble our readers by pointing them out; and in other places we observe a promiscuous use of "thee" and "you," which though examples may be found in our poets, must never be allowed.