1811
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Sylphs.

Poems by Elijah Barnwell Impey, Esq.

Elijah Barnwell Impey


The chorus is imitated from Comus. Not seen.

Elijah Barnwell Impey to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharp: "You are not, surely, to be told for the first time that my Poems are in circulation. A copy of them has been sent me — and such a copy! In the first place, it comprises no more than two-thirds of the MS., the publisher having freely taken advantage of my absence to exclude all the Latin poems, and some of the English, — a circumstance at which I am the more mortified, as it debars me from the satisfaction of offering many a friendly tribute, exclusive of every motive of vanity — in itself a powerful stimulus, as you well know, to the poetic breast. Then there is an abundance of typographical errors, many of them such as will inevitably be referred to the author by all candid critics, should they condescend to make me the object of their strictures" 18 March 1811; Letters from and to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharp (1888) 1:446-47.

Francis Hodgson: "In the Sylphs, or the Rosicrusian Island, a dramatic poem, (the ground-work of which is borrowed from Isola Disabitata of Metastasio,) the author displays great elegance of fancy and of poetical expression.... On the whole, we cannot help observing, on the perusal of the present volume, among many other contemporary duodecimos in verse, that a satisfactory answer is here afforded, by the comparative superiority of this little production of a scholar who has been educated at Westminster and Oxford, to the Goths and Vandals, of whatever clime or age, who dare to depreciate classical instruction" Monthly Review NS 68 (July 1812) 321-22.

British Critic: "These Poems are of more than ordinary merit ... all of them are indicative of a cultivated taste, and they are in every particular creditable to the author, who probably will write other and better things" 40 (1812) 299.

Poetical Register for 1810-11: "The first poem in this volume is a descriptive poem, called Daylesford, which we noticed when it was separately published. It contains many elegant lines; but it is not equal to any other of its companions. Mr. Impey's volume contains several compositions of so much merit as to induce us to augur well of his future productions. He writes with spirit and elegance. The Sylphs is a very polished dramatic piece; and the Burletta of Baucis and Philemon is humorous and laughable. The imitations from the Latin are neat and pointed" (1814) 616.