1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alaric Alexander Watts

Nathaniel Parker Willis, in "The Editor's Table" American Monthly Magazine [Boston] 1 (January 1830) 723.



It is a pleasant proof of the goodness of human nature that Alaric Watt's poems are so universally popular. The fourth London edition is before us, and you will find its contents in every well selected album in the country. They have passed through our papers, not always with the author's name, but always with praise, and he is as well known among us as Southey and Shelley. Yet withal, he is not a great poet. He is a man of pure taste and much talent it is true, but these would not have distinguished him. It is the feeling — the spirit of his poetry that his given him his popularity. Without half of Shelley's power, he is more known and quoted — without half of Keats's grace and fervor he has twice his fame. There is a warm rich glow of affection upon all he does, which, spite of the croakers, is loved and admired by the readers of poetry. It outshines passion. It is better than power, if to be powerful is to be sensual or impious.