1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Hogg

Anonymous, in Review of Hogg, The Brownie of Bodsbeck; American Monthly Magazine and Critical Review [New York] 3 (September 1818) 334.



To most of our readers the name and merits of Mr. Hogg are, we presume, sufficiently known. As a poet, his claims to applause are founded principally on the possession of an exuberant and felicitous imagination, and a command of verse that is not excelled by any of his brother minstrels. His powers of description are considerable — occasionally he is sublime — but his forte, we think, lies in the pathetic. He is uniformly chaste in sentiment and diction; intuitively he seems to shrink, with the virgin modesty of unsophisticated nature, from the thoughts and expressions which irresistibly besiege the voluptuous genius of many of our modern poets, and he is eminently entitled to the praise of having drawn some of the finest and most glowing pictures that can be presented to the fancy, without mixing up in his descriptions a word or idea that can be construed into a breach of the most delicately-constituted virtue. He is warm, but he is also pure. The fire he communicates to the imagination of his readers, is borrowed from no earthly source — and while he prepares for the heart and the fancy many a delicious banquet, he disdains to flatter and feed the senses by the prostitution of his muse.