1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Cartwright

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 34.



From a scarce print by Lombart, prefixed to his Poems.

"My son CARTWRIGHT," says old Ben Jonson, "writes like a man." We should not have guessed this from his portrait, which is mean and unintellectual; nor do we, in truth, altogether subscribe to old Ben's opinion of his "son," even after an acquaintance with his verses. Cartwright wrote often pleasantly, and sometimes well, but he certainly does not shine amongst the literary stars of his age, most of whom were decidedly his superiors. His lines are generally harsh and bad; and they do not contain much matter to compensate for their want of music. He has written "On a Sparrow," — not like Catullus; and his verses on the "Memory of Ben Jonson," seem dug out of the most rugged vein of poetry. The most melodious lines that occur to us, are the following, addressed by Cartwright, "To the Memory of a Shipwreck'd Virgin."

And thou unfaithful, ill-compacted pine,
That in her nuptials didst refuse to shine,
Blaze in her pile. Whiles thus her death I weep,
Swim down, my murmuring lute; move thou the deep
Into soft numbers as thou passest by,
And make her fate become her elegy.

Those called "Love's Darts," (which Mr. Campbell has quoted in his Specimens) are entitled also to considerable praise.