1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Jerningham

Anonymous, Review of Jerningham, Poems and Plays; Poetical Register for 1806-07 (1811) 503.



Mr. Jerningham has now been many years before the public, and has acquired the character of a pleasing writer, but not that of an eminent poet. His poetical abilities are, in truth, but of a secondary order. To originality of conception, to sublimity, or to a high degree of pathos, he never reaches, nor, indeed, often aspires. He confines himself to cloathing obvious ideas in polished language, and in verse, which is generally harmonious. Here he meets with considerable success. One great fault, however, he has — that of expanding into four lines what might be much better said in the compass of two. The volumes which are under our notice comprehend the whole of his poetical works. Of the compositions which they contain, those which were earliest written are the best. In those of a late date the falling off is considerable. Satire we advise him never again to meddle with; he has not the least portion of satirical talent.