1833 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Hood

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



THOMAS HOOD is, perhaps, better known to the world as a dexterous punster than as a true poet; in his Little Odes to Great Folks, he dallied with words till he made them wanton, and, by the force of a peculiar fancy, compelled the language to bear the burthen of meanings alien to its nature. Yet no one could read these sprightly and laughable things without perceiving the spirit of a true poet; his Dream of Eugene Aram, places him high among the bards who deal in dark and fearful things, and intimate rather than express deeds which men shudder to hear named. Some other of his poems have much tenderness, and a sense of nature animate and inanimate; but he has left the company of the serious Muse for the society of her with the light foot and the merry eye — and the world smiled on his choice.