1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Gifford

Joseph Dennie, "Miscellany: William Gifford" Port Folio [Philadelphia] 2 (12 June 1802) 179.



Among the more excellent poets of the present day, no one deserves a more conspicuous rank than WILLIAM GIFFORD, Esq. Hayley is a laborious imitator of Pope, but languidly repeats the verses of the master. He has the form of that balanced and terse style of poetry, but the essence, the fine etherial spirit, is either lost in diffusion, or diluted into weakness. Gifford, on the contrary, rather rivals POPE than mimicks him. His verses are not only sweet and sonorous, but they are conspicuous for their good sense, and for that admirable quality in composition, the power of saying much in brief compass, without any degree of obscurity.