1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Gates Percival

Anonymous, in Review of Percival, Poems; Edinburgh Literary Journal (8 August 1829) 130.



Without possessing a mind of the very highest order, Percival's poetry is nevertheless of that kind which cannot fail to attract and please. He often thinks deeply, and always feels acutely; he has an intense perception of the beautiful — more than of the sublime — in nature; and his style is a sort of compound of that of Shelley and Wordsworth, — the latter of which poets, we may remark in passing, seems to be a decided favourite with the Americans. On the whole, we cannot help thinking Percival infinitely superior to the great crowd of poetasters with which this country is at present infested, and are surprised that his works are not better known among us. His two longer poems are entitled "The Wreck" and "Prometheus;" the first in blank verse, which is his favourite measure, and the latter in the Spenserian stanza. There are many beautiful passages in both. Of his miscellaneous productions, almost all those in blank verse are decidedly inferior.