1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Julius Mickle

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 98-99.



From a Picture by Taylor, in the possession of C. J. Mickle, Esq.

The translator of Camoens appears to have had a shrewd, determined, and unaffected look. He reminds us of — (we forget which, but) — one of the late French revolutionists. He had little of the revolutionist in him, however, for he wrote repeatedly in defence of religion, and did not violate the orthodoxy even of the school of poetry which prevailed when he rose into public notice. He is occasionally a pleasant, graceful writer, but certainly cannot be said to have thrown any new light upon the art which he professed and practised. Mr. Campbell has decided that he is more spirited than Sir Richard Fanshawe, and we are not inclined to dispute his tasteful decision. Nevertheless we can, we think, find solitary passages in the writings of Fanshawe, which are in every respect superior to anything that MICKLE has produced. His account of the devices of Thrift, (the grandmother of the present utilitarians,) an "auncient crone," is very pleasantly written.

All round the borders where the pansie blue,
Crocus, and polyanthus speckled fine,
And daffodils in fayre confusion grew
Among the rosebush roots and eglantine,
These now their place to cabbages resign,
And tawdrie pease supply the lilly's stead;
Rough artichokes now bristle where the vine
In purple clusters round the windows spread,
And laisie cucumbers on dung recline the head.

The fragrant orchard, once the summer's pride,
Where oft by moonshine on the daisied green,
In jovial daunce, or tripping side by side,
Pomona and her buxom nymphs were seen—

and, in short, all the bloom and beauty, and all the fine fragrance of the meadows and the flowers, are swept down and sacrificed at the shrine of that doubtful deity — Utility.