1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Parnell

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 67-68.



From an original Picture, in the possession of Sir George Parnell.

Although we do not recognize any lofty marks of genius, either in the poetry or the portrait of PARNELL, we may give him credit for harmonious ease, and placidity if not depth of manner. He was an unassuming moral writer of verse; and (notwithstanding some feeble lines which it contains) his "Hermit" still lives in the memory, like one of the bright summer evenings or sunshine holidays which gilded the gloom of our boyhood. We will not read it with our critical spectacles on, lest we should detect the flaws of which we are now happily ignorant; — but let it remain! — like the other dreams and wonders of childhood, like the splendours of oriental fable, or the song of the thrush and the nightingale to the stranger in distant lands, — a glory of the imagination, an hallucination of the mind, to be coveted and not destroyed. We would not, for much that could be offered, give up these things to the rapacious grasp of the thing that is deified as "Common Sense:" — But, so long as the burs and thistles of the every-day world are liable to harm us, we would fain, from mere wisdom, keep one place secure and holy, which we can flee to as a refuge from all sorrow, and, laying ourselves down beneath delectable mountains and Arcadian skies, refresh ourselves with the ever-sweet waters of enchantment.