1833 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ebenezer Elliott

Allan Cunningham, in "Biographical and Critical History of the Literature of the last Fifty Years" The Athenaeum (16 November 1833) 772.



EBENEZER ELLIOTT has sung of that public grievance, the Corn Laws, with the bitter energy of a man famishing on the highways. He heaps up images of scorn and loathing till he approaches the sublime. There is much truth amidst his satire, and many moving passages mingled with his invectives. But when the price of corn falls, the fame of the poet will fall in proportion, for such is the penalty paid for pouring out fancy and feeling and sarcasm on fleeting matters. He has, however, other chances of reputation; some of his pictures of domestic life are graphic and forceful; he has inherited not a little of the power of Crabbe — and like Crabbe too, he sees the dark side of all things, and comes to the peasantry of his country, like the priest in Burns, with tidings not of hope, but damnation.