1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Wordsworth

Anonymous, "Anticipations of Public Opinion in the Year 2300, on the English Poets: William Wordsworth" The Minerva [New York] 1 (22 February 1823) 364.



WORDSWORTH. A poet; none of whose multifarious productions have reached our age, with the exception of a few passages, which, for their prettiness and extreme simplicity, have for many years found a place in the London Primer, and modern Reading made Easy. He formed his style when a child, and never departed from it, the simplicity of the nursery being obvious and apparent through the whole range of his more mature efforts. The uniform tendency of his writings was to throw down (at least in the poetical world) all distinctions of men and things; to render the mishaps of a Plough-boy of equal importance with the calamities of a Monarch, and a lamb's bleating on the mountains and object as spirit-stirring as a victorious army. From contemporary writings, preserved by the lovers of ancient trash, we learn that Wordsworth either wrote or planned a poem of some magnitude, named "The Excursion," consisting of one hundred cantos, and an introduction in fifty parts. This work, if accomplished, has long been forgotten. He was the inventor of rebuses and conundrums; and in his extreme old age, is said, (we know not how truly) to have thrown the adventure of "Jack the Giant Killer," into blank verse, with a prefatory essay on true simplicity of style. We have likewise met with the titles of various other works attributed to this now forgotten bard: such as "Tommy Hickathrift;" "The Bloody Gardener;" "The White Doe;" &c. &c. But how far tradition may speak correctly on these points, it would, at this distance of time, be useless to inquire.