1820
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To Italy. On Mr. C—s L—r's Visit to Rome, in 1819.

Sonnets, Amatory, Incidental, & Descriptive; with other Poems. By Cornelius Webb.

Cornelius Webbe


Cornelius Webbe catalogues Chaucer, Spenser, and Milton as admirers of Italian poetry. Webbe was a member of Leigh Hunt's Cockney coterie, as is perhaps obvious enough from this sonnet.

Monthly Magazine: "We have been much pleased in perusing a small poetical publication by Mr. Cornelius Webb, consisting of Sonnets, Amatory, Incidental, and Descriptive. There is much fancy and strong poetical enthusiasm displayed in some of these sonnets, which has rarely been equalled, and by no means surpassed by any of our living poets who have tried their powers upon this short but difficult mode of poetic composition. Though they manifest genuine strength and feeling, they are often obnoxious to good poetic laws, in the license of style and versification, and an affectation of carelessness which they too frequently discover" 50 (September 1820) 166.

Gentleman's Magazine: "The style of a popular Poet of the day generally appears, like the King's head upon the coins, in almost all contemporary Poems; but Mr. Webb has presented us with some pleasing sonnets (mostly pure, as comprising only a single idea) and formed his style from Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton" 90 (August 1820) 148.

Monthly Review: "We think that our readers have had enough, for the present, of Mr. Cornelius Webb. We understand that he is very young; and we hope that he will fulfil the great duty of man, by growing 'wiser and better' every day, as well with respect to literary as to social characteristics" NS 93 (November 1820) 331.

Literary Chronicle: "Although we are not very partial to sonnets, yet we confess we have been pleased with those of Mr. Webb, in which an ardent love of nature, a strong moral feeling, and a good deal of fine imagination are displayed in harmonious verse. There are, in the whole, thirty-one sonnets, arranged in a connected form, so that they might almost be read as one poem" 2 (16 December 1820) 810.



Mother of Dante and Raffaelle — ITALY,
Poets will ever love thy skies of calm,
And voice of music, and warm breath of balm,
And glorious forms of grace and majesty!—
Old Chaucer lov'd thee for Boccaccio's stories—
Spenser for Tasso's; and Milton trod
Thy viny fields — Milton, minstrel of God,—
And loved idolatrously thy olden glories.
As poets have loved thee, do thou love them—
And chiefly one who wanders now thy land;
Be as the fondest lover unto him;
And shield him from the savage bandit's hand,
As mother would her son; and play the part
That's Roman to a Roman — soul and heart.

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