1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Millhouse

Anonymous, in Review of Millhouse, Vicissitude; The Monthly Review NS 96 (September 1821) 98-99.



With many disadvantages and defects, we think that this humble aspirant is still a poet; — uncultivated, deficient, and with all the poetic sins that belong to inexperience and youthful enthusiasm, but redeeming them by the presence of a rich and overflowing spirit; which, though it sometimes betrays him, never forsakes him. With much fine and correct feeling, he presents us with some lively description of rural scenery, and a few genuine touches of nature: not often displeasing us, moreover, with mere commonplace, or weary expletives. He seems to write from the heart; and as if he really rejoiced in the creations of his fancy and in giving language to his thoughts.

We quote a few lines composed in Nottingham Park:

Oh native scenes; full oft in joyous mood
Have you beheld me pacing o'er your plains;
And where old Trent rolls on his sweeping flood,
There have I lull'd me with the Muse's strains.
Even when remote, and billows roared between,
In thoughts of you my soul forgot its cares.
Fancy, in pleasing hues produced each scene
Sweet as when childhood through the gladsome years
With bright enchantment every change array'd;
Whether when violets blush'd, or hawthorn bloomed,
When leaves, fast falling, did my path invade,
Or virgin snows the landscape's charms entombed.
But wither now shall I for solace fly,
When in your fairest haunts I ceaseless sigh?