1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Croly

Nathaniel Parker Willis, in "The Editor's Table" American Monthly Magazine [Boston] 2 (October 1830) 486-91.



Let me read you an extract or two from a delightful Poem which you never saw. I can scarce find a person who has read Croly's Angel of the World, though there is an American edition of it, and it is one of the most beautiful things in the language. You know the story, of course. An angel having spoken arrogantly of his power to resist the temptations yielded to by man, was sent to the earth to give proof of his virtue. These passages describe some of his temptations....

Is it not surprising that the world can let such a poem as that alone? — that the author, in this country of reading and observing people, should scarce have been heard of by one in a hundred even of the professed lovers of poetry. I have rarely seen a person who had read the Angel of the World. I have never found one, not absolutely a literary man, who had read Wilson's Isle of Palms — another perfect "Gem of Giamschid." Croly has written many books — all of them extraordinary, Salathiel, and an interpretation of the Apocalypse, and several others — and his mind is one of the most glowing and gorgeous and powerful that have ever lived, and yet rarely in England, and never in America, is he criticized, or even alluded to. What is reputation worth, if the atrocious rhymes that are brought daily to us in a thousand periodicals are read and lauded, and such golden and precious poetry as this lies unspoken of on the shelves!