1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Wordsworth

Anonymous, Review of Wordsworth, Poems in Two Volumes; Poetical Register for 1806-07 (1811) 540-41.



Than the volumes now before us we never saw any thing better calculated to excite disgust and anger in a lover of poetry. The drivelling nonsense of some of Mr. Wordsworth's poems is insufferable, and it is equally insufferable that such nonsense should have been written by a man capable, as he is, of writing well. But Mr. Wordsworth is a System maker. He has formed an out of the way, incomprehensible system of poetry; and on the altar of that system he sacrifices melody, elegance, spirit, and even common sense. Whenever he deviates from his monstrous system he writes like a man of genius. His volumes contain abundant proofs that he possesses no mean poetical powers. It is to be hoped that he will see his error, and not persist in making murderous attacks upon his own literary reputation.