1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas May

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 38.



From a scarce Print prefixed to his "Breviarie of the History of the Parliament."

There is a mild and even painful expression in the countenance of this writer. If his look be poetical, it speaks, assuredly, the quiet and contemplative, rather than the soaring poet. MAY is better known by his translation of Lucan than by his original verse. He reminds us occasionally of old Heywood, by the matters of fact which he details in his often unornamented verse; but sometimes,

As when fierce Rollo with his Danish flood
Broke in upon thee,

he betrays something of the true poetic spirit. His description of King Philip, when

Under a wealthy canopy he sate,
His robe of colour like the violet,

is striking, and his account of Edward the Third of England, (in his poem of that title,) is not without merit. Upon the whole, however, he wants spirit, though he has often redeeming passages.