1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Hopkinson

Anonymous, in "Hopkinson's Works" Monthly Anthology [Boston] 5 (September 1808) 517.



Though, by this time, the reader must be acquainted with our opinion of these works, we cannot close them forever without a few last remarks. Their principal defect is, want of character. They have no point, no tooth, and take such ladylike hold on the mind, that we read them and forget them with perfect unconcern. The abuse of logick, grammar, and rhetorick ought not to be laid to their charge; for so far as these go, they are tolerably correct. The absence of blunders, however, is not excellence, any more than exemption from criminality is virtue. When honours are decreed to mediocrity, and not till then, the subject of this review may come in for the laurel. Such is our opinion of Francis Hopkinson, Esq. in giving which, we have spoken of them as they are; "nothing extenuated, nor set down aught in malice." We have said, and we repeat it, had Mr. H. gone correctly to work, he would have done something, but he has played with his pen, instead of wielding it like a man, and it was our duty to take him in hand for his folly.