1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Henry Dana

Anonymous, in Review of Dana, Poems; American Quarterly Review [Philadelphia] 3 (March 1828) 126.



Mr. Dana is no harper on a tune which has been found to please the public ear — no follower of some popular poet. In all the traces of his study of poetry, (and the volume is full of proofs of a wide and deep study,) we detect no strain of imitation or of mannerism. He has been walking through the gardens of poetry, and appears, not with a sprig gathered here and a flower plucked there, but redolent with the fragrant essence of the bloom which has been around him. An artist-like feeling in the construction of his story, and the management of the characters he has to deal with, shows his familiarity with the creations of the minds that have gone before him. A mastery of our language, both as the vehicle of thought, and the medium of a various and harmonious versification, proves a laborious preparation for the work he has undertaken. These powerful instruments have been employed by a genuine poetic mind, and we have great pleasure in expressing our feeling of the result.